Simmon Omega 120 Sighting

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by yefei_he|1, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. As you may have known by now, my classic camera sightings often happen in a movie, usually shown on the Turner Classic Movies channel. Today is another comedy gem showing the bigwig publisher played by Susan Hayward having a personal vendetta against army general Kirk Douglas, in the 1957 "Top Secret Affair". Of course, the real star is the camera. Right at the beginning of the film in Susan Hayward's luxurious office, her photographer lackey sports nothing else but a Simmon Brothers Omega 120 press camera. Very fitting for the time and role. The Omega 120, one of the ugliest cameras of the day, was the predecessor of the slightly better looking but equally quirky Koni-Omega 120 series of medium format rangefinder cameras. It's interesting to know that the original Omega 120 did have a bit of market penetration!
    By the way, the photographer has his secret weapon hidden under the monstrous figure of the Omega 120 -- an original Minox spy camera, which he used in the attempt to capture the general in awkward moments, which he failed miserably, not due to his ineptitude, rather the general's iron clad discipline.
  2. What a quirky looking device! I love the blue bulbs! It could be anything from a camera to an icecream machine according to my friend Steph!
  3. Wow. That is both ugly and beautiful at the same time and the flash is hilariously practical. I want one!
  4. In case you want to see its vivid incarnation on human flesh, at the allrovi site you can find a trailer of the film showing the opening scene. There's no mistake of the thing at 30 feet away! To all's disappointment though, the flash attachment is not included.
  5. I've always loved this camera. Ugly and beautiful at the same time. There's the old saying that an elephant is a mouse designed by a government committee. Looks like a similar influence here.
    I seem to recall that in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" one of the wedding photographers is using a Mamiya Press. A close cousin but not as beautifully ugly.
  6. There's a bit of connection between Omega and Mamiya. Simmon Omega 120 was redesigned as Koni-Omega, with Konica lenses. It later evolved into Rapid Omega, which looked identical to Koni-Omega, but the lenses were made by Mamiya.
  7. Optimus Prime would have loved it; I've always suspected the Omega 120 was something else in disguise. But I'd still love to own one....
  8. Oh! The humanity!
    Who could not love such a camera?
    Here's what the ugly duckling developed into.
  9. My father used to use Rapid Omegas for weddings.
  10. The Omega 120 was the post war adapted for the civilian market version of the original camera. The predecessor was the Simmons Signal Corp.s combat camera (PH-501/PF). It was similar but used film packs and had a focal plane shutter. And it came with an accessory 9" telephoto lens which, if I remember correctly, was made by Taylor Hobson. The telephoto lens was a long ugly thing shaped a bit like a motorcycle muffler. The regular lens was a 101mm Wollensak. The camera outfit came in a tin metal box that would make you think of a can of soda crackers and the cushioning inside the box was shredded newspaper sandwiched inside brown paper sort of like a pot holder on each side of the box. Yes, I had one of these. Pretty useless as a general photography camera. I sold it to Jay Tepper years ago. You can see a photo of one at
    Forgot to mention, the Simmons were two brothers who never got married and lived to ripe old ages (near 90). They are better known for the darkroom equipment, Omega enlargers.
  11. "Set someone's heart aglow this Christmas"
    1955 Omega ad.
  12. it looks like an outboard motor with that flash... :) Still, I think its captivating in its own way - and who could argue with JDM's point?

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