Dodge - Antique 35mm Motion Picture Studio Cameras

Pathe Motion Picture Studio CameraPathe' Studio Motion Picture Camera


The Pathe' is certainly the most mechanically sophisticated of all early cinema cameras. Pathe' took the industry by storm and remained the camera of choice until the Bell & Howell model 2709 took that coveted spot away from them. In the years Just prior to World War I, Pathe' cameras were used on more movies throughout the world than any other camera. At one time during the filming of "The Birth of a Nation" in 1914 and 1915, there were over fifteen Pathe' cameras on one set.

Pathe Motion Picture Studio CameraThe Pathe' Brothers were some of the industry's first moguls, owning everything from the cameras to the studios and the theaters. At first they shot on their own film size, with their own perforations so no one else could steal and exhibit their films. This 28mm film size later became their attempt at making a less expensive amateur film size. In 1909 the industry made a standards and practice alliance and all agreed to work on the Bell and Howell 35mm perforations that are still used today. In order to prevent piracy, the Pathe' logo of the "Growing Cock" was always placed somewhere in their films. In one film, this logo can be seen in a great carved headboard on a four poster bed that was supposed to belong to Louis XIV.

Pathe Motion Picture Studio CameraBecause of its sophistication this camera, #1077, may be as recent as 1915. This Pathe' can perform in camera dissolves It will mechanically fade to white by the touch of a button on the top of the camera. This is accomplished in four feet of film through a gearing system that physically opens the Iris while cranking the camera. It will mechanically fade to black by pressing another button on top of the camera that closes the shutter down, again, in four feet of film. A lap dissolve with an evenly dense negative can be performed in camera by leaving the shutter closed and cranking the camera backwards four feet, then by resuming the cranking, pressing the same button and having the shutter open. At one time it was common to shoot a scene, fade out, rewind the film back to the head and store the film for many days until it was time to shoot the matching scene. Then one reloaded the film, found the first marked frame to be sure to have the correct sprocket bole, and advanced the film to the head of the fade out, fading in on the next scene. Of course one always covered the shot so It could be done in cuts, but a dissolve was a very professional thing to do.

Pathe Motion Picture Studio CameraIt is very difficult to find a pristine Pathe' as they were heavily used and generally modified and updated. Mechanically this camera is In wonderful condition, however it had to be recovered with new Moroccan Pig Skin leather as the old Moroccan Pig Skin had dried out and crumbled.


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Sam Dodge
812 Herron Rd. KPN - Home, WA 98349
phone 253.884.2262 fax 253.884.9353