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The unusually designed French Cyclope


How film is loaded into the base of the camera

1952: Alsaphot Cyclope


The back of the

camera, showing

the housing for the mirrors

Apertures of f/4.5-/f22 and shutter speeds of 1–1/175 second are set around the top rim of the Boyer Saphir 105mm lens, beside which a direct vision viewfinder sits on the top plate.


Further peculiarities emerge when loading the 120 size roll film on a carrier which is withdrawn from the base of body. In this way film can be loaded outside the camera before being inserted back through the base and locked into position. And, of course, the film is loaded with the backing paper facing the front of the camera and the film’s emulsion side facing the back!

In conventional camera design there must always be a space, equivalent at least to the lens’s focal length, between the lens and the film. The Cyclope reduces that space considerably by the use of mirrors. Placed at the back of the body, the first mirror reflects the image from the lens downwards to a second mirror which reflects it back to the film, which runs along the front, rather than the back, of the body.


The result is threefold: A slimmer than normal body for a roll film camera; the positioning of the lens at the top, rather than at the more usual centre of the body; and the red window through which the film numbers are read, being situated below and to the right of the lens on the front of the body, instead of the expected place on the back.


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