The basic RB-29 had a camera compartment just behind
the gunners section. The cameras sat in a recessed well in the bottom
of the plane. Each camera had a glass window to shoot through, and
each window had a blower to keep ice from forming and to keep it from
fogging up. The complete Radar section was mounted above the cameras.
Next to the rear door as you entered the camera compartment was the
tri-metrogon set up. It consisted of three cameras of six inch focal
length. The center camera was mounted to shoot straight down, a camera
mounted on each side of it shot at an oblique angle. The total coverage
of the set up was 194 degrees, from seven degrees above left horizon
to seven degrees above the right horizon. All three cameras were mounted
in a fixed mount.
The next camera set up contained a split vertical mount
which held two 40 inch focal length cameras with focal plane shutters
and mounted at a 7 _ degree angle toward each other so as to take
side lapping photos. This mount could be changed and different cameras
The next camera set up was the primary camera, usually a 12 inch focal
length. This camera could be leveled by correcting for tip, tilt,
and swing. Next to the photographer was the viewfinder which had a
ground glass on which the image could be seen. The viewfinder was
the most important piece of equipment as the photographer obtained
all the information needed to control all of the cameras.
On the ground glass there were etched lines, the photographer with
a stop watch timing the amount of time for an image to travel between
them. The photographer sat in the camera well looking down into the
view finder. It was his job to determine all the information required
to satisfactorily produce the required results. Forward overlap on
the photos had to be 60 percent. Mounted on the side of the aircraft
to the left of the photographer was the panel which held the intervelometers,
one for each camera. These were set with information obtained from
the viewfinder, and would trip each camera at the predetermined interval.
A most important relationship was the photographer working closely
with the Navigator. It was the navigators job to inform the photographer
when to start the cameras, when to stop, and give the photographer
the geographical coordinates of the beginning and end of every flight
line. The photographer kept a flight card containing all the pertinent
information of every exposure taken on the flight. A photo is worthless
unless it is known where it was taken. It was not unusual for an RB-29
to carry 20 loaded magazines, along with extra film.