What A Camera!

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Ricochetrider, Jun 27, 2021.

  1. OK, unsure where exactly to put this, I'm putting it here, Admins, if inappropriate, please move.

    A photo of this camera popped up in my f@c3b00k feed today and WHOA- drool factor 10! Of course I'm certain they are darn rare on the ground but I personally would LOVE to have one!

    I'm not certain but I THINK the mages in this article may be actual size? Note that the images in article #2 also seem to be the same size. I have 3 words for this wow, wow, and WANT.

    The Compass camera | Swiss watchmaker | Jaeger-LeCoultre

    and... another link to another article a bit more in depth this time round

    Historical Perspectives: The Jaeger-LeCoultre Compass Camera, An Ultra-Compact 35mm Camera From The 1930s - HODINKEE

    Here's the text from yet another article (in Wallpaper Magazine) with some details

    "The object: Designed by Englishman Noel Pemberton Billing in 1937, the Compass was his response to a bet that he could devise a full-function camera, which took up no more space than a cigarette packet. Billing was also a poet, writer and engineer with a hundred or so inventions to his credit. Coincidentally, 1937 was the year that Jaeger and LeCoultre made the name double-barrelled, forming one of the best-known Swiss watch brands in the world.

    The provenance: Billing, who also worked on sound recorders, airplanes and other high tech of the era, sought the skills of the world’s best mechanical miniaturists: a watch ‘manufacture’. LeCoultre & Cie had devised hundreds of calibres, including the world’s smallest and thinnest movements, as well as the Atmos clock. In 1934, Pemberton Billing visited the company, ‘where his project met with great enthusiasm’.

    The design details: Like a mechanical watch, the Compass required three years of development and contained 290 components. It caused a sensation among photographers because this true miniature came ‘fully loaded’, its features including an exposure meter, range finder, telescopic lens shade, inbuilt filters, extinction meter, EV indicator, angle viewfinder, a device for panoramic and stereoscopic views, and an ultra-light mini-tripod.

    The signs of the times: Less than half the size of the leading ‘compact’, Leica’s III, the Compass was unlike any film camera before in that it was so truly tiny. It handled 24×36mm exposures on plates, in a body machined from a solid block of aluminium, measuring only 30×53×70mm with the lens closed. The kit added a pocket clip, cable-release and a leather case.

    The now factor: According to Jaeger-LeCoultre, only 4000 were made of both the Mk I and KII Compasses. With WWII stopping production, the Compass has always been a rarity. Convenience, too, played its part, because snappers preferred roll film to small plates. Complexity aside, a mint example with all accessories will set you back £4,000-£6,000. Here’s hoping they issue a replica … even digital."
  2. This is the iPhone of 100 years ago. Something to keep you amused while you while away the hours.
  3. I never cease to be impressed by this thing. It's just amazing, even today's perspective. I remember the days when digital cameras were much bulkier and delivered terrible images. Progress in electronics happened rapidly. But the Compass never gets old.

    FWIW I do not want a digital replica of this camera. I'm not sure what the point would be.
    za33photo and Ricochetrider like this.
  4. HA yeah, me neither! Digitzing such an iconic piece of mechanical art would absolutely kill the whole thing.What a waste that would be- and can you imagine the price? LOLOL.
    I can dream of the day when I might have the disposable income to buy an original tho!
    Karim Ghantous likes this.
  5. Its jewel-like qualities are manifest.

    for another view see Compass
    Ricochetrider and za33photo like this.
  6. Thanks for posting this , It is amazing what the "old" engineers could do.
    I now also have a case of "I WANT".
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  7. That is truly a work of art! Thanks for pulling my heart strings!
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  8. Wow! An all-in-one camera . . . The concept itself is fascinating, but I'm even more impressed with the actual design.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  9. Luis, do you have one?
  10. I have many cameras, but now I think there's something wrong. I don't want this camera.
  11. NO :(
    za33photo and ericphelps like this.

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