F. and S. Marriott 140 Newbegin, Hornsea, England, HU18 1PB

May 2010. Stephanie died peacefully on 19th April after a short stay in hospital. She had been suffering from acute cervical cancer. Fred will continue to run the business to the best of his ability. The web site is slowly getting under control again as he tries to take over some of Stephanie's responsibilities, and learns some of the mysteries of Dreamweaver.

Canon Scoopic

This piece is taken from Classic Camera Magazine number 20, and is provided to try to demonstrate the style of the magazine. Note that the original article is illustrated, but in order to keep download times to a minimum, I have omitted the illustrations from this version.

All back issues of Classic Camera Magazine are available; see the main Classic Camera Magazine page for details.

In 1968 a new, Japanese, cine camera was introduced for the professional user, and the very enthusiastic amateur using 16mm film. This camera never really rivalled the Paillard Bolex in attraction for the amateur film-maker, although it is well-specified. The range of accessories for the camera never equalled that of the Bolex, and, although a sound version was made (in about 1973), there was never any alternative to NiCad batteries as a power supply, a feature which I feel is very limiting for any camera-user.

The Canon Scoopic is one of the very few cameras which was available in a version for the daylight-spool-loading Double-Super-8 format. Its specification in this format was similar to the 16 mm. camera.

The Canon Scoopic 16 is fitted with a fixed 13 mm. to 76 mm. f/1.6 zoom lens. The electric drive (powered by NiCads, although there was an option to use an external power supply) offers speeds of 16, 24, 32 and 48 f.p.s. Single frame is set using a separate control.

Semi-automatic exposure control is provided, using a separate CdS metering cell above the lens, with manual over-ride using a control around the metering window. The camera is semi-automatic in loading, and takes normal 100 ft. spools.

The reflex focusing has a micro-prism rangefinder. When new, in about 1968, this camera cost about £712. For comparison, the Paillard Bolex H.16 Reflex with Switar 86 OE zoom cost about £557. It should be noted, when comparing 1968 prices with later prices that there was an increase in purchase tax in 1968, bringing the level on cameras to 50%.

By 1972 the camera specification had improved to include auto fade, auto dissolve, and remote start and the cost was about £547.

In 1973, a sound camera made an appearance, offering amplifier and recorder in one, single-speed camera (25 f.p.s. only) with t.t.l. metering. I have found no price for this camera.

In 1974, another version of the camera came out, with no fade or dissolve controls. The lens is a 12.5 mm. to 75 mm. f/1.8 zoom, focusing to 3.7 feet, with a macro facility. The range of film speeds for the metering is changed to 20-640, and the CdS meter window is above and to the side of the lens. The electric drive (still powered by NiCads) offers speeds of 16, 24, 32, 48 and 64 f.p.s., set using an external ring on a clear control on the camera side. This control also permits the film speed to be set, for the camera metering system, by turning the inside ring. Single frame is set using a separate control.

The built-in metering system provides automatic exposure control, and there is provision for manual aperture selection, set by using a control around the metering window. This is situated above and to the side of the lens. The micro-prism rangefinder is replaced by ground glass focusing. When new, this camera cost about £706.

The only model of these which I have handled is the 1974 Scoopic 16. I always have a problem with the weight of 16 mm. cine cameras and the Scoopic is no exception. After a few moments playing with the zoom, my wrist felt as though it would snap, and prolonged use of a camera like this can surely only be possible with a tripod. The long zoom range is undoubtedly attractive, although at the telephoto end of the range a tripod will be required. Unusually on a camera with automatic metering, the lens aperture in use affects the brightness of the t.t.l. viewfinder. The metering system can be set to full aperture for focusing, etc., by depressing a button on the right side of the camera. I found the viewfinder image rather dark at apertures below about f/4, although the day was dull but not particularly dark. The camera is simple to operate; a contemporary catalogue described it as having the simplicity of a Super-8 camera and this is no exaggeration. Despite never having seen the camera before, I could load the battery, adjust the film speed and filming speed and open the camera to load film. I particularly like the door release, which has a button to be pressed before the door catch can be operated, thus making it less likely that the door will open accidentally.

These are simple cameras, lacking some features that appeal to scientific and natural history film-makers like interchangeable lenses and accessories which may never be used but 'might come in handy'. They were priced originally for the professional and serious amateur but at present-day prices they represent a very good option for the serious amateur. Anyone considering a move into 16 mm. should consider the features offered by the Scoopic range before making a decision. Do remember the limitations of rechargeable batteries while deciding!

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