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Combat Movie Camera


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Found this on a swing through Arizona a couple of months ago. This is a 16 mm combat movie camera, complete with accessories, manufactured by Bell and Howell for the Signal Corps, widely known as the Eyemo. From the limited research I've done, 16 mm was widely used in the PTO, while 8 mm was the norm for the ETO. The pictures actually don't do the setup justice-- everything is mint and in nearly unused condition. Unfortunately, there is not a single manufacture date on any of the pieces anywhere, but I would peg it to late WWII to early post-war. Because of their sturdiness and durability, Eyemo's are still used by filmmakers to record action scenes where the camera is at risk of being damaged

 

Inside the case are several extra lenses, numerous lens filters, a light meter, a smaller hand-held camera called a Filmo, lubricating oils, a chalkboard and chalk for recording dates, scenes and places, and various other miscellaneous pieces. I don't typically collect this kind of thing, but it seemed so unique and in such good shape that I couldn't pass on it.

 

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post-701-1243570663.jpg

 

post-701-1243570771.jpg

 

post-701-1243570837.jpg

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Bob Hudson

They mostly used 35mm in ETO and 16mm in the Pacific. The Eyemo is 35mm and the Filmo is 16mm.

 

If you paid under $1,000 you got a bargain on the set.

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Very nice condition! thumbsup.gif

 

It has an Army Air Forces contract.

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General Apathy
Thanks for the comments-- and corrections!

 

I paid $250 for the whole set.

 

Hi Captaxe, that is one neat camera set you acquired, I have one myself but not in the condition of yours and mine is without the carrying case. Very envious.

 

Cheers ( Lewis )

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The Meatcan

Captaxe, as fine a condition as your new camera looks, do you have any plans to shoot some film with it? Or would operating it cause potential harm or lessen its value? Either way, it's a very cool purchase and a great score thumbsup.gif

Terry

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Terry-

 

I hadn't thought about it, but it would certainly be cool to try. There is a bit of a worn instruction booklet that came with the set-- I could probably learn how to operate it from that. One of those things to put on the "to-do" list.

 

Is the 16mm film for it easy to come by and could it be developed relatively easily?

 

Greg

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Bob Hudson

16mm film for the Filmo can sometimes be found on Ebay but processing it can be expensive. 35mm film for the Eyemo is going the be more but in both cases you could run black and white film and develop it yourself.

 

As long as the spring wound motors work either camera should work just fine and in fact the old 35mm Eyemos are still used as stunt cameras where they don't want to risk a camera worth many thousands (you can pick up old Eyemos for perhaps $800).

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Greg,

That was a MAJOR score. It looks to be of museum quality. If you haven't seen it, check out the Speilberg/Hanks production called "Shooting War." You will see plenty of Eyemo action.

I would definetly use it.

Capa

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Bob Hudson
Greg,

That was a MAJOR score. It looks to be of museum quality.

 

It does and in trying to assess its value I found there's nothing to compare it with: this kit just cannot be compared to finding only a camera: I could see a kit like this going for $2-3,000 because it is so complete and clean.

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Very nice! thumbsup.gif Here is a picture of a Marine photographer in Bougainville in 1944. The camera looks very similar.

 

post-70-1243635163.jpg

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Bob Hudson
Thanks for the comments--

 

It is interesting: you can find a fair amount of words about the Eyemo and Filmo online but good color photos are scarce. If you ever get time to take some larger photos and post them here that would be a great service to researchers. Do the cameras have an ID plates on them?

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Admin-

 

I will try to post better photos this weekend. There is no ID plate, but there is a serial number engraved into the metal housing on the bottom of the camera. I have been up and down inside and out trying to find some way to pinpoint a manufacture date but have not found anything. Gunbarrel-- thanks for posting the cool pics.

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Very nice! thumbsup.gif Here is a picture of a Marine photographer in Bougainville in 1944. The camera looks very similar.

 

post-70-1243635163.jpg

 

 

GB

 

Thats a great pic of the Combat Photographer.Looks like he is wearing Raider or Para Marine boots.

 

RD

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willysmb44

Impressive. I've been looking for one of these for almost ten years, never seen one like that for any price! thumbsup.gif

Is the 16mm film for it easy to come by and could it be developed relatively easily?
No, and no. Very few places will process such film today or even provide stock unless you buy in bulk (not even student filmakers use 16MM anymore, it's all about digital now). If you can find someone to develop it for you, be prepared to shell out huge coin for it.

Don't mean to be a downer on this, but nothing about operating that is going to cheap, easy, or convenient...

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Bob Hudson
Impressive. I've been looking for one of these for almost ten years, never seen one like that for any price! thumbsup.gif No, and no. Very few places will process such film today or even provide stock unless you buy in bulk (not even student filmakers use 16MM anymore, it's all about digital now). If you can find someone to develop it for you, be prepared to shell out huge coin for it.

Don't mean to be a downer on this, but nothing about operating that is going to cheap, easy, or convenient...

 

You can shoot 100 feet of black and white reversal film for about $45 including processing. It would be expensive to do a film at that cost, granted, but it would be a kick to do a test of a few minutes. The place that offers those rates has a deal for 400 feet of 35mm film with processing: that's something like $635, which is way out there even for a test. Five years ago I sold 60 rolls of 16mm Kodachrome film and two 16mm cameras and I wish I'd shot one roll just to go through the process. I wrote consulted on video and DVD production and shoot HD video now, but last fall I acquired dozens of 1940's vintage 16mm films and got a projector and editor to work with those: with its chemical makeup, film is such an organic process, so different than working with video. It's really like taking a trip back in time since you are working with processes that are more than 100 years old.

 

When you look at that case with the Filmo, Eyemo and accessories, think about the combat cameramen lugging that, their film and tripods. And then when they started shooting, the 100 foot film rolls gave them just about one minute of filming time on the Eyemo so there must have been many, many occasions when bullets were flying and they had to hunker down to reload the camera which was in itself a difficult process.

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GB

 

Thats a great pic of the Combat Photographer.Looks like he is wearing Raider or Para Marine boots.

 

Ron,

 

You are welcome! You know, I had never noticed the boots. Good eye! Did you notice the Corpsman Knife sticking out of the ground (or something)?

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Here are some additional photos of the camera:

 

 

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For this one I attached the hand crank:

 

post-701-1243810437.jpg

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