This piece is taken from Classic Camera Magazine
number 20, and is provided to try to demonstrate the style of the magazine.
Note that the original 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
In 1968 a new, Japanese, cine camera was introduced for
the professional user, and the very enthusiastic amateur using 16mm film.
This camera never really rivalled the Paillard Bolex in attraction for
the amateur film-maker, although it is well-specified. The range of accessories
for the camera never equalled that of the Bolex, and, although a sound
version was made (in about 1973), there was never any alternative to NiCad
batteries as a power supply, a feature which I feel is very limiting for
The Canon Scoopic is one of the very few cameras which
was available in a version for the daylight-spool-loading Double-Super-8
format. Its specification in this format was similar to the 16 mm. camera.
The Canon Scoopic 16 is fitted with a fixed 13 mm.
to 76 mm. f/1.6 zoom lens. The electric drive (powered by NiCads, although
there was an option to use an external power supply) offers speeds of
16, 24, 32 and 48 f.p.s. Single frame is set using a separate control.
Semi-automatic exposure control is provided, using
a separate CdS metering cell above the lens, with manual over-ride using
a control around the metering window. The camera is semi-automatic in
loading, and takes normal 100 ft. spools.
The reflex focusing has a micro-prism rangefinder.
When new, in about 1968, this camera cost about £712. For comparison,
the Paillard Bolex H.16 Reflex with Switar 86 OE zoom cost about £557.
It should be noted, when comparing 1968 prices with later prices that
there was an increase in purchase tax in 1968, bringing the level on
cameras to 50%.
By 1972 the camera specification had improved to include
auto fade, auto dissolve, and remote start and the cost was about £547.
In 1973, a sound camera made an appearance, offering
amplifier and recorder in one, single-speed camera (25 f.p.s. only)
with t.t.l. metering. I have found no price for this camera.
In 1974, another version of the camera came out, with
no fade or dissolve controls. The lens is a 12.5 mm. to 75 mm. f/1.8
zoom, focusing to 3.7 feet, with a macro facility. The range of film
speeds for the metering is changed to 20-640, and the CdS meter window
is above and to the side of the lens. The electric drive (still powered
by NiCads) offers speeds of 16, 24, 32, 48 and 64 f.p.s., set using
an external ring on a clear control on the camera side. This control
also permits the film speed to be set, for the camera metering system,
by turning the inside ring. Single frame is set using a separate control.
The built-in metering system provides automatic exposure
control, and there is provision for manual aperture selection, set by
using a control around the metering window. This is situated above and
to the side of the lens. The micro-prism rangefinder is replaced by
ground glass focusing. When new, this camera cost about £706.
The only model of these which I have handled is the
1974 Scoopic 16. I always have a problem with the weight of 16 mm. cine
cameras and the Scoopic is no exception. After a few moments playing
with the zoom, my wrist felt as though it would snap, and prolonged
use of a camera like this can surely only be possible with a tripod.
The long zoom range is undoubtedly attractive, although at the telephoto
end of the range a tripod will be required. Unusually on a camera with
automatic metering, the lens aperture in use affects the brightness
of the t.t.l. viewfinder. The metering system can be set to full aperture
for focusing, etc., by depressing a button on the right side of the
camera. I found the viewfinder image rather dark at apertures below
about f/4, although the day was dull but not particularly dark. The
camera is simple to operate; a contemporary catalogue described it as
having the simplicity of a Super-8 camera and this is no exaggeration.
Despite never having seen the camera before, I could load the battery,
adjust the film speed and filming speed and open the camera to load
film. I particularly like the door release, which has a button to be
pressed before the door catch can be operated, thus making it less likely
that the door will open accidentally.
These are simple cameras, lacking some features that
appeal to scientific and natural history film-makers like interchangeable
lenses and accessories which may never be used but 'might come in handy'.
They were priced originally for the professional and serious amateur
but at present-day prices they represent a very good option for the
serious amateur. Anyone considering a move into 16 mm. should consider
the features offered by the Scoopic range before making a decision.
Do remember the limitations of rechargeable batteries while deciding!
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