One-Snot Color Cameras

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by spencer_grant, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. I recently acquired a marvelous National Photocolor 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 "Featherweight" (13 pounds!) one-shot color camera in near-perfect shape along with a 1947 catalogue listing its price at $795 -- Wow! That would've bought a new car back then! Particularly neat is the camera has a rangefinder and a parallax-compensating viewfinder.
    I like the camera so much that I'd love to get more one-shots from any of the manufacturers from that pre-mid-century era -- Curtis, Devin, Lerochrome, or National. These are rare cameras but I'm hoping someone out there can help.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  2. I expected to see the contents of your nasal cavity in glorious color. This was much better though.
  3. That's one camera I nose nothing about...Seriously, there are not to many of this genre of camera left extant; once they'd outlived their usefulness no-one really thought about preserving or collecting them. Good luck in your quest, and keep us up to date.
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  4. Yes, the state of photographic sinus has certainly advanced since those days.
    Remember that you need panchromatic film to do this right.
    I once tried some separation photography on a 35mm camera with RGB filters.
    Here it is.
  5. What or how does thing work why the different filmplates ? Are the colors signifying the primary RGB colors that formed a sandwhiched color photo? Tell me more!
  6. One-shot cameras had devices to split the light three ways through different colored filters. On the camera you can see that one film holder is red and the other blue to separate them from the green in back.
    Before there was decent color film, this was the only way to get color images in the camera. It is especially useful for things like magazine color work or other printed matter, since separation negatives were necessary in any case for the printing plates.
    Printing the colors from inked plates was one way of getting color, other processes involved things like carbro or other ways of getting different colored layers onto the print, just as I did with the layers in Photoshop in my example. Of course in the one-shot camera, the different plates are all B&W negatives.
  7. A much simpler way to get color, but obviously precise registration was essential. Before digital some astrophotographers used the RGB process to combine three color negatives on Kodak's long gone Tech Pan film to get color deep sky photos. Before computer and digital work was common newspapers used a similar method to shoot color separation negatives of color transparencies. Kodak's Super XX was the film of choice for many until Kodak discontinued it.
    Thanks for an interesting post, Spencer. And thanks JDM for sharing some of your results.
  8. The lens of choice for these cameras was the Goerz Dogmar. What lens does yours have, and what is the focal length.
    There is a terrific old book called "A Half-Century of Color" which is worth having about tri-color seps.
  9. The words "color separation" bring back many memories for me. I spent 12 years in the offset printing buisiness as an offset camera operator. The camera took up 2 rooms (one for the art, and lights, and one in back taht was the darkroom). The copy board was 40 x 50 inches, and the film back was 30 x 40 inches. On average, it took about an hour to shoot, and process the 6 sheets of film to make the final separation set. This was in the late 70s to the mid 80s, just when the rotary scanners were beginning to make their way into the country from Germany. Many, many long shifts at that place, but aloy of time, and a half.
  10. fascinating camera! and an equally fascinating windfall of anecdotes, great read.
    mrjallen likes this.
  11. P.S. You guys beat me to all the good snot jokes... ;)
  12. Ah, the famous National Photocolor Mucosa II, beloved of many Flemish 'togs.
  13. I like the colour-coded DDs, an alternative name for which is septums.... to continue the nasally themed references.
  14. Since this post from 2011 has been reanimated, it couldn't hurt to show a contemporary advertisement for the camera.
    Popular Photography 1939 November
  15. Hmmm. The OP's camera appears to have put on weight since it left the factory then.
    Listed at 7.5lbs in that advert, and claimed as weighing 13lbs by the OP.

    It's a shame there's no sensible use or re-purpose for old kit like this these days.

    For example, I have a nice anamorphic converter lens that I thought might be useful for panoramas. It transpired that it will only work with a standard-angle lens, and that I might just as well fit a moderate wide-angle lens and crop.... bah! Another pretty paperweight.

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