SEKONIC "DUAL RUN" ZOOM 8 SIMPLOMAT
Sekonic Optical Company, Ltd., Tokyo, Japan 1964
Sekonic "Dual Run" Zoom 8 Simplomat
The Sekonic "Dual Run" Zoom 8 Simplomat was one in a family of early 1960's movie cameras that literally added a new and perhaps final "twist" on the Double 8mm process.
The Double 8 process introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1932 utilized a 25-foot 16mm width roll of film. After exposing 25-feet on one side of the film, the operator removed the spool from the take-up spindle, rotated it and placed it on the feed spindle. The other side of the film was then exposed and once processed, was split down the middle and spliced together resulting in 50-feet of 8mm film. Despite a brief period where the "Single 8" format achieved some popularity in the mid-to-late 1930's, and the introduction of cartridge-style magazine 8mm cameras by both Bell & Howell and Revere in 1947, the Double 8 system would continue to dominate until Eastman Kodak introduced the Super 8 format in 1965.
Just a few years prior to Super 8, the Sekonic Optical Company came up with an ingenious design to simplify this process, hence the name "Simplomat". This new design was referred to in a 1963 advertisement for the Sekonic Dual Run, as their "Exclusive Flip Chamber" which further stated that "Only one camera in the world does this!".
After exposing about 25-feet on one side of the film (which left a little still attached to the feed spool), the center section of the camera which contained the film chamber (along with the shutter, film gate and the spring motor) was rotated 180 degrees, now placing the unexposed side of the film in line with the lens. As in other earlier Double 8 cameras, the take-up spool now became the feed spool. The big difference here though, was that the operator didn't have to open the film chamber, reposition the spools and rethread the film to continue shooting. All that was required was to hit the lock release, rotate the film chamber, re-lock its position and continue filming.
Sekonic is believed to have introduced cameras with this feature, starting with the Dualmatic-50 in 1962, followed by the Dualmatic in 1963 and finally, the Dual Run Zoom 8 in 1964. Sekonic's Micro-Eye Zoom 8 priced at $159.95 (a conventional Double 8 camera) would continue to be offered alongside the Sekonic Dual Run Zoom having the flip feature and priced at $189.50.
1964 advertisement for Sekonic's Micro-Eye Zoom and "Dual Run" Zoom 8 Cameras
Sekonic Micro-Eye Zoom 53EE
Dualmatic-50 Dualmatic-Zoom "Dual Run" Zoom 8
This ingenious and well-built series would be short-lived, eclipsed in simplicity by Kodak's new Super 8 cartridge loading system. Sekonic would partner with Copal Company Ltd. also of Tokyo, Japan to produce cameras in the new Super 8 format, which appeared under the names of Copal Sekonic and Hanimex.