Wollensak 8

Every now and again an interesting piece of photographic equipment comes across our desk and today is no exception. In this case it is the Wollensak Eight Movie Camera. This is truly an “Iconic Camera” identified by the “Turret” lens that dominates the front of the camera.

To truly appreciate this camera we have to first provide a little history lesson. During the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and into the 70’s many average people had transitioned from still photography to shooting movies. Early movie camera’s were very crude with a fixed focus lens (often times little more than a piece of glass) and most did not have a viewfinder. It was simply point the camera and hold the shutter. The movies produced were very crude at best, and very shaky to watch. Initial cameras were powered by a spring you would wind to activate the motor. Movies started in black and white and transitioned into Color with the advent of the Kodak, Kodachrome film.

The film used by these movie cameras was 8mm (also referred to as Standard 8mm and came on small reels. You would load the camera in the dark so as not to expose the light sensitive film. After exposure, you would place the exposed film in a light proof envelope, and mail it off to be developed (or take it to a local shop if you lived in the city). The film was developed by the Eastman Kodak company which dominated early photography both as the producer of Film, photographic papers, and Developing Technology, but also as a camera manufacturer. The film was 8mm wide making it much smaller than the earlier 16mm film that was the standard.

Because the early cameras produced such crude movies, it didn’t take long for camera companies to begin to make advances in movie camera technology.

Remember, this was a huge market for these companies. The US and the rest of the world was growing rapidly and growing economically.

There are a number of things that make this camera unique.

  • There is no battery required for this camera. Simply wind the spring and it will hold the tension until the shutter release is depressed.
  • “Turret” lens system gave 3 different focal point lenses for the operator
  • Handy exposure chart on the side of the camera to help the average person adjust the f-stop based on the lighting conditions and type of shot required

We apologize about the quality of the video but hopefully it will capture some of the highlights of this unique camera.

We hope you enjoy this footage and look forward to bringing you more videos of Iconic Camera gear in the future!