Movie Cameras
Camera Museum - Video Cameras
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[RCA Color Video Camera CC001]
RCA Color Video Camera CC001, RCA's first consumer color video camera, purchased at a local garage sale for $5 on June 11, 2005. Manufactured November 1978. It is a camera only. To record, you had to hook it up to a separate VCR. At present, you have to plug the power supply into an AC outlet. The camera has a 20 foot cord, however, to allow you to move around. You could also use a battery pack and portable recorder. A complete setup may have been thousands of dollars. Today you can get a digital camcorder for $300 that you can hold in the palm of your hand and edit on a computer! Quite a change in less than 30 years! The CC001 has an interchangeable Canon f1.8 6X zoom lens (12.5mm to 75mm). The viewfinder on the side on this camera is simply an empty box you look through. It could be equipped with a 1 inch CRT viewfinder, however. Without the CRT viewfinder you would have to use a monitor to focus or simply measure or estimate distance. It is in good cosmetic condition. I do not have the right connector to attach the camera to a television monitor, but I improvised with an RCA plug and got it to show an image in white and green. I suspect with the right connector it would work. Photos: Power Supply, Shoulder Mounted. See labguysworld for additional information.
[Thompson-CSF Betacam Portable Videocassette Recorder VT-626]
Thompson-CSF Betacam Portable Videocassette Recorder VT-626, essentially the same as the Sony BVW-25 and the Ampex CVR-25. The Betacam format introduced by Sony in 1982 was the professional version of the Sony Betamax format introduced in 1975. This portable VCR was likely sold somewhere between 1982 and 1986 when an advanced Betacam SP format came out. See Wikipedia - Betacam and Marcel's TV Museum (Dutch site referring to production of the BVW-25P in the mid-80's). Marcel's TV Museum has excellent photos of the similar Sony BVW-25P:close-up, internal, case. The BVW-25P designation may have been for SP playback since the photos have a label stating SP playback which mine does not. BCS Broadcast Store lists the manufacturer's suggested retail price for the Ampex CVR-25 as $13,250! BCS Broadcast Store lists a used Sony BVW-25 for $1,510. Broken or unknown condition used models appear to go for under $50 on eBay, however. Other useful sources include: History of Camcorders, History of Videotape - VHS, Wikipedia - Videocassette Recorders, Wikipedia - Camcorder, Wikipedia - Betacam and Wikipedia - Thompson-CSF. My Thompson VT-626 was purchased at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 8-5-06 for about $5. It is in good cosmetic condition. It did not come with any cables or batteries and is untested. It takes two NP-1 or one BP-90 batteries. This unit would be hooked to a video camera for recording or a monitor for playback. It is big weighing about 14 pounds and about 10.5" x 13" x 5." While I could not find an appropriate input connection to hook up the RCA CC001 camera above, please see the photo of me with both to see what taking video was like in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
[Minolta Video Camera, Recorder and Tuner]
Minolta Video Camera, Recorder and Tuner (Large Image.) Early to mid 1980s. Consists of Minolta Color Video Camera K-800S AF, Minolta Portable VHS Video Cassette Recorder V-770S, and Minolta Video Tuner T-770S. The camera, usually resting on your shoulder, connects to the portable video cassette recorder, which is contained in a very nice Lowe-Pro Video VCR Compact II case slung over your other shoulder. The portable VCR has a slot in the back for a battery, type BP-2. A battery was not included. It is a large "brick" type battery similar to, but not the same as, the battery in my Panasonic camcorder below. I remember seeing an arrangement like this once when I was in Salt Lake City in about 1983 and being amazed that normal people could now make video movies. The seller said he thought he purchased it in 1985 for $1,900. An eBay entry states a similar, although perhaps earlier and less sophisticated, camera model K500S was from 1982. A German site states the K500S model is from 1984, however. The only date on the documentation that came with the equipment was for a RCA battery which has a copyright date of 1983. The 1985 date for the K800S seems pretty accurate although shortly after that time all in one units took over. The $1,900 price equals $3,679 in 2007 dollars. I purchased a new Canon digital camcorder on clearance in the Spring of 2007 for $175. It's less than 5% the new price of the Minolta in constant dollars, fits in the palm of your hand, has much higher resolution, and can be easily edited on a computer. Quite a difference in only 22 years! My Minolta system was purchased at a garage sale at the annual Rolando area (south of University) garage sales on 8-4-07 for $5. It's in very good cosmetic condition. I have not yet tried to see if it works although the seller said he thought it would. It's a fantastic addition to the museum, and while the system is pretty obsolete, the Lowe-Pro case could actually make a pretty nice laptop case.
[Panasonic VHS-C NV-S250 Palmcorder]
Panasonic VHS-C NV-S250 Palmcorder, (Large Image) purchased at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 12-3-06 with case, manual, battery, charger, VHS-C tape and video cables for $5. It said it needs work, but it seems to work both playing and recording. It is in decent cosmetic condition with some dents in the speaker grill and a few scratches. It has a larger after-market battery that holds a charge. VHS-C was a consumer oriented format based on the VHS format. The compact VHS-C cassettes could be placed into an adapter which could then be played as a regular VHS tape in a VHS VCR. This Palmcorder has an 8X wide angle zoom lens 5 to 40mm, f1.4. It has a single black and white eyepiece viewer. It has amazing close up features at the wide end of the zoom range like many camcorders. It will focus on a piece of paper placed on the lens with light coming from behind the paper. I could not find the date of this camcorder. Before the serial number is the code VGN6486. The serial number is K3HF02083. The power adapter is Model No. VW-AS2E with serial no. K308507YD. I'm guessing the 86 and 85 may be date codes for 1985 and 1986.
[Panasonic Palmcorder HQ VHS-C AFx8]
Panasonic Palmcorder HQ VHS-C AFx8, (Large Image) purchased at a local garage sale for $5 in the Fall of 2006. It is in good working and cosmetic condition. It an 8X zoom lens, 6-48mm, f1.8, with a flying erase head for seamless cuts between scenes. Single black and white viewfinder. It was manufactured in May 1991 according to the date on the bottom of the camcorder. It came with two batteries, one large capacity which does not hold a charge and a smaller one that holds some charge. It also came with the power adapter/charger and a nice carrying bag. With the flying erase head and more features, this camcorder appears to be more recent than the NV-S250 to the left. While it has fewer features, the NV-S250 does sport a wider angle, and faster lens, however. The 6 volt batteries on the two camcorders are interchangeable.
[Panasonic OmniMovie HQ]


Panasonic OmniMovie HQ, purchased new in 1989 for about $800 or $850 at Fedco, this uses standard size VHS and SuperVHS tapes. It has an autofocus, 8X zoom lens, high speed shutter and flying erase head. This was a large camcorder that you sat on your shoulder which added to stability but also made it difficult to carry around. It was used to capture many now precious movies of my sons while young. I'm now burning those movies onto DVD. (Video tape apparently degrades over time.) It is still in good working order when used with AC power. It seems to have problems charging batteries now, however. (My younger son used to be fasinated with it and once knocked it off of a table.)
[Sharp Digial Camcorder]
Sharp Digial Camcorder, my present camcorder which takes mini-DV digital tapes. Purchased at Amazon.com for $350 in 2002, it has many nice features, but at times the image becomes very pixelated and the clean heads signal comes up. Looking at reviews in Amazon.com, this may be a common defect in this camera.
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