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Odd little 16mm camera Cousteau had

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Any idea what this little camera is? Cousteau usually used Eclairs but this almost looks like a WW2 GSAP camera with a side finder. The body style and contour looks different though. Maybe a small CP 16, I know they used those side finders on some of their cameras.



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Thanks you guys! Now after looking it up on Google, I have no doubt and can see why Cousteau used that one. It's even pin registered too, very nice. At 200fps I wonder how long it would take to dump a 200 or even 100 ft load? I guess that's why they made a few mag options for it.

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By the time he made his first TV series in the late 60s Cousteau had a variety of cameras at his disposal, up to a dozen aboard the Calypso. But when he started out in the 40s underwater cinematography was still in its infancy. For his first film, he used a spring-powered 35mm Zeiss Ikon Kinamo in a home-made underwater housing. Unable to find movie film in occupied France, Cousteau spliced rolls of B&W still photography film together to fill the 50 foot magazines, and dove without apparatus, simply holding his breath while he filmed.




For his next film he upgraded to a French-made Le Blay camera, still spring-powered, but taking 100 foot loads. He traded in his f/1.5 Meyer Kino Plasmat lens for an equally fast but better corrected Zeiss Jena Sonnar, and re-designed the housing.



A 35mm Le Blay.
With the help of engineer Henri Girardot he eventually designed more professional underwater housings fitted with 35mm Morigraf cameras, which they named Bathygrafs. Probably fitted with Kinoptic lenses. Different versions allowed up to 400 ft loads, and speeds up to 32 fps.
A 35mm Morigraf.


Finally Eclair came to the party with their Aquaflex underwater housing, which took a Cameflex 16 or 35mm camera.



An Eclair Aquaflex.


Cousteau also experimented with housings for a 16mm Pathe Webo, and parts of a 35mm Bell and Howell Eyemo. Lots of great info about his early camera inventions at




He was an amazing man, a true pioneer. Salut, Jacques-Yves!

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Wow! Thanks for all that very interesting info about the cameras. I did read somewhere that him and Simone would stay up nights splicing together the rolls of still 35mm film under bed sheets. Also didn't Cousteau's engineers have some kind of self-equilizing housing eventually that would keep the pressure inside from imploding at depth. Like a little extra air tank on the side of the housing. I also read that Cousteau was a whiz at taking apart his first camera and putting it back together as it would get wet time and time again. Also making and improving on the camera parts as time went by. What a great team at a great time in history to be pioneering underwater cinematography and conservation. Thanks again for the info, very inspiring. BTW I just met a girl from Melbourne, very nice.

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