Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dusty Images, Vintage Gears Part IV: Yashica 8-T2 Cine Camera

I have shown you 3 vintage cameras: ROBI, the "Tin Can-mera" and Kodak INSTAMATIC 50. The last installment of this series is about a device that is something different. Though still a camera, this device is a "cine camera", or in more modern terminology, motion-capture camera or video camera. Yes, this is the grand-daddy of DV (Digital Video) camera.

Cine cameras or 8mm film cameras were sold to the general consumers as a portable motion-capture camera for recording of home videos. Cine cameras uses a small reel of 25 feet 16mm double-sprocketed film, which run through the camera twice. The cine camera can then capture still images at a rate of 16, 18 or 24 frames per second (fps), thus you have "motion picture"! After the first-pass recording, the spools are reversed when the opposite side of the film is then exposed in the second-pass. The film is a reversal colour film which gives a positive picture instead of a normal negative image in a 35mm film. During film processing, the film is then split into two 8mm wide strips and spliced together into a single 50 feet reel. The reel is then ready for playback in a film projector.

Yashica 8-T2 Twin-Turret Cine Camera w/o lenses
Yashica is just one of the many camera manufacturers that made cine cameras. The Yashica 8-T2 is a twin-turret cine camera that allows 2 lenses to be mounted on the turret. The lenses are mounted on the screw threads on the lens turret. Switching between lenses is as simple as rotating the turret. The operation of this cine camera is completely mechanical without the need of any electricity. Since there is no electronics, there is not built-in metering component. The user will have to determine the correct exposure and make the necessary adjustments on the dials. The cine camera can capture images at various frame rates which can be set via the dial. So how can one release the shutter 24 times in a second to capture a motion picture at 24fps? Simply turn the crank wheel to charge up a spring inside. Upon depressing the release button, the unwinding spring will gear the flipping of the shutter at the preset frame rate. Simply load in the film reels and the cine camera is ready to make a movie!

above right: the hole on the top right corner is the viewfinder that looks through the larger viewfinder in front. the hole in the middle is the film counter.

above: dials for making exposure adjustments and frame rate.

above left: the twin turret allows 2 lenses to be mounted. the turret swivels around the centre to interchange between lenses.
above right: exposure chart to aid making exposure settings.

above: a lock lever secures the door of film chamber.

above: 8mm film chamber

Video Clip of the Yashica 8-T2 in operation

The original Japanese company, Yashica, was taken over by Kyocera, which eventually was taken over by JNC Datum Tech International (a subsidary of HK-based MF Jebsen Group).

Many thanks to my father-in-law for making this series possible with his wonderful collections of antiques. Thanks Dad!


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