Bell and Howell lens?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by brian_m.|1, May 27, 2014.

  1. The Bell and Howell I knew were known for their 8mm movie projectors. Now comes what appears to be a pretty good offer. Has this been around or am I just seeing it now? Is it an EF lens?
  2. Just the Samyang lens sold under many names. It looks like Bell and Howell is now just a shell company, licensing their brand name to anyone who wants to use it.
  3. says it all. Their name is "licensed" to various consumer products companies and is owned by Versa Capital Management.
  4. It is an EF mount lens. It is manual focus (no AF) and it is manual diaphragm with the aperture controlled by the ring on the lens. In other words the camera does not control the aperture or focus on this lens. It is purely manual.
    If you are not used to stop-down metering then you will have a lot of trouble with this lens.
  5. The funny thing is that several centuries ago Bell & Howell was Canon's US distributor. In those dark days B&H put their name and model designations on the Canon products they sold.
  6. Bell and Howell were known in their heyday for fine movie cameras. They were incredibly reliable, and most WW2 footage was made with their 16mm military issue 3-lens turret cameras.
  7. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    Here's what we have about B&H at;
    Bell and Howell were a projectionist, and a designer for a maker of projectors, respectively, and formed the company to make an improved projector. Mr Bell left the company after not too long though.
    There is still a separate company using the B&H name, in the business of mail-sorting machines.
  8. Here's the Bell & Howell FD 35, for example.
  9. They did make an excellent 35mm camera: The Foton from 1948. Interesting design of a spring wound motor drive rangefinder camera with superb workmanship, and an excellent Cooke Amotal lens. Reliable too.
    I used mine for my last roll of Kodachrome.
  10. For a while they were the official importers of Canon.
    I'd forgotten the Foton. Never saw one in person, but they had a great reputation, (unlike the Kodak Ektra). Unfortunately, they were priced about twice what the post-WW2 Leicas and Contax were selling for. How were the ergonomics? I always thought that the pictures made it look clumsy to hold.
  11. Bell & Howell were certainly one of the greats of movie camera manufacture, sad to see the name dragged down...although their association with Canon was OK. I have a B&H branded Canon 135mm 2 .5 somewhere.
  12. The Foton ergonomics? Well, maybe nothing special, but not particularly irritating either to me. A fairly beefy camera with heft. Nice for larger hands. Shutter release in front, next to body focusing wheel (much like Contax). But, focusing can just as well be done directly with the lens. Since shutter tensioning and film advance are done with the motor, you don't have to take the camera from your eye. Nice! Takes about four frames per second. View finder is surprisingly bright, if somewhat small (less squinty than the contemporary Leica IIIc). The rangefinder is separate, a bit clumsy in operation. But then, it being a Bell & Howell, the lens has T (transmission) stops! Very nice. The other nice feature is the hot shoe for the dedicated Foton flash.
    The Foton is an interesting, if somewhat oddball design. Extremely well made, built like the proverbial tank. But yes, a failure in the market place. Having only one other lens to offer (4 inch Cooke Deep Field Panchro) certainly did not help.
  13. B&H made 16mm and 35mm movie camera in addition to 8mm. One of the standard hand-cranked 35mm cameras of the silent era was a Bell and Howell, their 16mm Filmo cameras were big for TV news in the 50s and 60s and are still used by film students (at least those who shoot film instead of digital), and their 35mm Eyemo was a standard for combat photographers in WWII and Korea. The Eyemo still gets used by Hollywood as a "crash" camera (a camera that gets put somewhere where the camera might very well get destroyed; cheaper than trashing a digital cinema camera). And of course almost every school in America had a B&H 16mm projector for educational movies back in the day.

    As others have said, this is not by any means a B&H lens. They went out of business years ago and exist only as a brand licensed to other companies.

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