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Campro cine camera/projector box
I actually know very little about the Campro 9.5mm products that were marketed during the mid. 1930s in the UK. From the various advertisements in the home movie magazines and the actual instruction booklets, we can see that the address quoted is Home Cine Cameras Ltd., 18 Gray's Inn Road, London, W.C.1. Even this may be suspect, as there were many London addresses used by companies that were actually forwarding addresses for their real, less salubrious, locations!
CAMPRO MK 1 CINE CAMERA/PROJECTOR
Magazine advert for the Campro Mk 1
The first Campro combined cine camera/projector seems to have arrived on the UK home movie scene around 1935. The camera (well this is what it really was, but modified so that it could also project films) was decently made - a die castings of square body with fixed cover plate on one side and a detachable plate on the other to give access to the film compartment.
Campro Mk1 sales leaflet
It contained a nicely designed Garrard brass spring drive mechanism, wound by a folding handle on the operating side of the device. A governor kept the speed at around 16 frames/second. A resettable footage indicator dial was positioned by the winding handle, whilst a release lever was situated at the bottom front (about the best place for finger operattion). This start button would lock in place if moved full back to allow for a 'lock-on-run' facility. Just above the release lever a spindle is brought through from the mechanism as an inching knob. The top sports folding eyepiece and viewing frame, plus a swivel down leather carry strap. The only bad news is the lens fitted on the front which has fixed 'Waterhouse' stops marked 'bright' / 'dull' / and 'project'.
Campro Mk 1 - one can just see the fixed lens apertures plate
The camera used the then current 9.5mm "P" type film charger for filming, just in fact like any other camera, but with very little adjustment for light variations. Once film had been returned from processing then the instructions revealed the use of the device for showing the films. A dry battery pack was supplied (7.5 or 6 volt), connected to the camera/projector by a small plug at the back. The lamp, certainly on later models was an M.E.S. bulb rated at 6 volts 6 watts. We can see the set-up in the instruction book scan below:
Campro projection set-up (actually the Mk 2 version, but similar)
The film, returned in it's Pathescope cassette, fits into the top of the device, the lid hinging up to hold it in position. A special Campro take-up spool fits at the bottom, with the film threaded as shown. The start button is locked-on and away we go..... In the dark a small picture would result at about 6 to 8 feet - the lens does not adjust for focussing though, an clip-on attachment enabled focussing closer-up (probably useful as a close-up attachment for filming).
Campro Mk 1 set up for projection - think it would actually just take a 60 foot cassette
The serial number is inside - by the Provisional Patent note - this example is 2036
.CAMPRO MK 2 CINE CAMERA/PROJECTOR
Photo on Campro instruction booklet
Not much more to say about the Mk 2 cersion of the 9.5mm Campro cine camera/projector - mechanically identical to the Mk1, but with a decent lens. This model was fitted with a fixed focus f1.9 lens, with a proper adustable iris! The front of the camera carries an exposure guide and recommends using the f1.9 aperture just for projection.
Front of the Campro Mk2 shwing the f1.9 lens and exposure guide plate
In fact results from this lens weren't too bad - I can vouch for this - I had one of these as my first 9.5mm cine camera - I spotted it in a secondhand shop near Fratton Railway Station in Portsmouth for the princely sum of £5 - at the time it looked in mint condition. It was a Saturday - I gave the chap (it was called Moretons if I remember correctly) 10 shillings (50p) deposit. When I returned next week with the full payment - he gave me a Pathéscope charger of film (SS) and 10 shillings back - we also had a chat about filming on 9.5mm, seems he also used it. I still have the film - taken around Emsworth harbour with a few friends. I found even at f1.9, results were quite acceptable. I did try projecting, but results were not good - my "Ace" being somewhat better! Naturally I soon moved on, to a Dekko camera with f1.9 focussing Dallmeyer lens (also £5), and a Pathéscope 200B projector (£12). In fact I swopped the Campro camera for a BSR UA12 auto-changer record deck and stereo records also became another interest - and, I was probably still only about 13 years old!!
Typical serial numbers for the Campro Mk 2 model: 2951, 9807.
Back of Mk2 campro instruction booklet
There were a few accessories available - the list above shows a transformer (saves a lot in batteries!); screens; spare bulbs; even a carrying case. The film cement suggests that maybe some people edited their films (or maybe joined two 30 foot ones together or repaired the damage caused!).
Interesting that by now, the batteries and transformer were listed as "Campro/Ray"; now Ray, Bing, Bingoscope products were all made by an optical toys company known as Construments, who also sported the same address of 18 Grays Inn Road. Although I guess this was a business forwarding address, maybe there was some connection? However, there is quite a difference as "Campro" equipment is reasonable well made, whilst all the Ray, Bing, Bingoscopes were really cheap, simple, tin-plate toy projectors; anyhow maybe someone can solve this puzzle!
A well marketed product - many examples do still turn up these days. But like me, I guess most users moved on to slightly better cameras and a separate cine projector eventually. Any other information / corrections gratefully received. (gln 21Oct2015)
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Created 21Oct2015 ...... Last updated: 07 March 2016 ......
95gearcampro.htm ...... @Grahame L. Newnham MMV