F. and S. Marriott 140 Newbegin, Hornsea, England, HU18 1PB

May 2010. Stephanie died peacefully on 19th April after a short stay in hospital. She had been suffering from acute cervical cancer. Fred will continue to run the business to the best of his ability. The web site is slowly getting under control again as he tries to take over some of Stephanie's responsibilities, and learns some of the mysteries of Dreamweaver.

Ercsam Camex 8CR

This piece is taken from Classic Camera Magazine number 16, and is provided to try to demonstrate the style of the magazine. Note that the magazine article is illustrated, but in order to keep download times to a minimum, I have omitted the illustrations from this version.

All back issues of Classic Camera Magazine are available; see the main Classic Camera Magazine page for details.


This camera is something of a rarity. It is also unique in design, because it is the only Standard-8 cine camera which offers reflex viewing, interchangeable lenses, and t.t.l. metering. In fact, it was the very first reflex camera to go into production (in 1960) with through-the-lens metering! The prototype Pentax Spotmatic was displayed at Photokina in 1960 alongside the Camex, but the Spotmatic did not reach production until five years later.

I have used most of the interesting Standard-8 cameras extensively, and have several favourites - the Paillard Bolex K.1 and K.2, and the Canon 512, are three - and this camera must rank equally with these. Of course, every camera has its pros and cons, and these for me have more pros than cons!

Having interchangeable lenses makes it possible to fit a small prime lens, if a relatively compact camera is required. With a zoom lens and pistol grip, the Camex is about the same size and weight as other cameras.

The lens mount is unique to Camex, being a bayonet fit. A wide range of different lenses and accessories was available to fit the camera. The full range listed by Camex is:

Angenieux 6.5 mm. f/1.8

SOM Berthiot 12.5 mm. f/2.5

SOM Berthiot 12.5 mm. f/1.9

Angenieux 12.5 mm. f/1.8

Cimac 12.5 mm. f/1.4

SOM Berthiot 20 mm. f/2.5

SOM Berthiot 20 mm. f/1.9

SOM Berthiot 35 mm. f/3.5

SOM Berthiot 35 mm. f/1.9

SOM Berthiot 50 mm. f/3.5

SOM Berthiot 75 mm. f/3.5

SOM Berthiot 100 mm. f/3.5

SOM Berthiot 150 mm. f/4.5

Angenieux 7.5 to 35 mm. f/1.8

Angenieux 9 to 36 mm. f/1.8

Angenieux 9 to 36 mm. f/1.4

Schneider 8 to 48 mm. f/1.8

SOM Berthiot 8 to 40 mm. f/1.9

Angenieux 17.5 to 70 mm. f/2.2

Angenieux 12 to 120 mm. f/1.8

Hyper Cinor 0.5x Converter for 12.5 mm. lens

Cimafoc 0.5x Converter for 12.5 mm. lens

Angenieux Retrozoom Z36 converts 9 to 36 mm. to 6.5 to 26 mm.

Angenieux Retrozoom RZ70 converts 17.5 to 70 mm. to 12.5 to 50 mm.

Extension tube with variable length to take 50 mm. or 75 mm. lens.

The reflex viewing system operates from behind the lens diaphragm, so the brightness of the image seen through the viewfinder depends on the lighting conditions. In addition a mirror shutter is used, so when the camera is running the viewfinder image is further darkened by flicker. This is the only real disadvantage of the Camex. I have on occasions completely lost sight of my subject because the view of it was so dim. Most reflex cine cameras have the lens aperture behind the viewfinder prism so with these a bright viewfinder image is maintained under all conditions, but they do not offer interchangeable lenses. The Standard-8 Bolex H.8RX has an additional (and very accurate) optical viewfinder which can be used in place of the reflex finder when the latter is too dim.

The t.t.l. metering works with a match-needle in the viewfinder, and is independent of the lens fitted to the camera, as it relies on the light from the lens falling on the metering cell behind the lens. The lens aperture is adjusted until the correct exposure is indicated by the match-needle.

Film loading is easy. There is no sprocket film feed on the Camex, which is unusual for a French camera in this class. Drive is by clockwork motor, which gives a continuous run of about 38 seconds at 16 f.p.s. There are running speeds of 8, 16, 24 and 32 f.p.s. and single frame. Rewinding of the film is possible, by a special crank handle, but this is only possible when the camera drive spring motor is partially or wholly run down, as rewinding the film tensions the drive spring.

The exposure meter is a CdS cell, requiring power from two small batteries which are installed in a compartment in the film chamber. Suitable replacement batteries are readily available.

Other accessories made for the Camex include a good pistol grip, nice hide outfit cases of different designs, attachments for medical and scientific work, and a very practical stand with a 3D tilt head.

Production appears to have ceased with the introduction of the Super-8 system in 1965. The price of the Camex Reflex 8 CR with Angenieux 7.5 to 35 mm. f/1.8 zoom lens was around £180 in 1963.

Camex equipment does not seem to have been widely sold in Britain when it was new, so is comparatively rare here today. I consider that the Camex Reflex 8 CR is one of the most interesting cine cameras to come my way, and it has been found to give a very satisfactory performance.

 

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