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A camera old enough Florida Pete recognizes it

March 15, 2015
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My Japanese camera gets to indulges in a little ancestor worship while Pete looks on.

Over the weekend, my homeless binner friend Florida Pete found a beautiful, piece of vintage photo tech in the garbage: a handheld Fujica Single-8 P1 movie camera, zipped up in it’s original black leatherette/vinyl case.

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Fuji manufactured the Single-8 P1 between 1965 and 1977. It was the first platform for Fuji’s Single-8 film format cartridges, which competed unsuccessfully with Kodak’s Super-8 film format.

A beautiful exercise in mechanical design

The open film chamber where the B-shaped Single-8 cartridges snapped in.

The open film chamber where the B-shaped Single-8 cartridges snapped in.

Fuji Film itself finally discontinued manufacturing Single-8 film in 2012 but new Single-8 film is still available through a few third-party companies, including a Dutch company called Super8 Reversal Lab, a Japanese company called Retro Enterprises and Mishkin Productions Australia.

This compares to only one company that I know of — the German-based Impossible Project — making vintage analog Polaroid film.

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The slim, 560 gram camera ran on four double A batteries and one 14-PX button cell (for the light meter).

In addition to the movie camera, the zippered vinyl case actually still contained one “Mallory Duracell” 2.7 V. 14-PX mercury button cell — a vintage bit of toxicity.

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The original light meter battery which uses mercury oxide.

Not only did it remind me that Mallory was the company that changed its name to Duracell but that until 1991, a lot of batteries, for devices like hearing aids, watches and cameras were made with highly toxic mercury oxide.

Non-mercury equivalents of the 14-PX are available but as with the Single-8 film it involves searching the Internet.

The Small Battery Company of London, England, sells an Exell akaline 14-PX for Can$12.52 each and the Battery Mart of Richmond, Virginia, sells the exact same Exell A14-PX for Can$6.34 but only in batches of nine.

More than one camera forum thread suggests that you can successfully substitute a stack of  two modern 675 zinc 1.4 V. hearing aid batteries, so long as you make a cardboard holder to make up for their smaller diameter.

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I told Pete to handle the little 14-PX battery with care and store it separately from the camera but also that he should carefully wrap up the camera and keep it safe and dry because it really is a beautiful piece of hardware in very good condition and well, surely someone in the world would treasure having it.

Hopefully we can find a better home for it than either Pete’s shopping cart or the landfill. Click the images to enlarge them.

6 Comments
  1. Sandra permalink

    An amazing find!! A collector is out there with her/his name on it! I hope Pete gets a good price.

  2. Sandra permalink

    Perhaps you could post it for sale on Kijjii for Pete or maybe a local Photography business may know of someone with an interest.

    http://www.kijiji.ca/h-vancouver/1700287

    • Been looking at Kijiji; generally assumed that I would need certain bona fides such as an address and phone number but so far I see no such requirements. Before I look into it further I would need to physically take possession of the camera from Pete — to insure I could deliver what I would be offering.

      • Slowcrow permalink

        You don’t do that Fongo thing?

      • Wasn’t aware of Fongo it until your comment. I’m reading up on it now. Last time I played with VoIP was about eight years ago on my tricked-out Palm TX.

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