James's Camera Collection: Revere 8 Model 40

Revere 8 Model 40
Revere 8 Model 40 movie camera
Format: 8mm
Film type: magazine
Transport: Spring-wind
Date of manufacture: 1955
Original price: $100

Revere made a long line 8mm cameras they called the Revere 8. Every time the changed something, whether it was big (the body) or small (the base lens), they would revise the model number. This is Model 40.

I don't actively collect movie cameras, but I do pick them up a) they're cheap, b) they don't look like they spent the last 10 years in a ditch, and c) they come with some worthwhile goodies. This one has came with a nice Wollensak case, a light meter I didn't already have, and an accessory Elgeet lens, so I thought it would make good fodder for this website.

I have the owner's manual for this camera located on my Manuals page. Owner's manual The Models 40 and 44 are fundamentally the same camera; the main difference is that the 40 has a fixed lens mount and the 44 has a rotating turret, which is why the share the same manual. They are also both cartridge-loaders. There may be another camera that's basically the same but uses roll-film (spools), but I am not aware of it yet.

This is a much smaller camera than I had expected just from the pictures. It's a little shorter and wider than a Samsung Galaxy smartphone; maybe four or five Galaxys thick. But a lot heavier; it's all metal. It's also very pretty; brown leatherette, gray crinkle-finish paint, and a lot of chrome brightwork. Revere made nice looking cameras.

The lens uses a standard screw-mount of the time called the D-mount. Revere sold various length Wollensak lenses as options, though mine came with a 1-½ inch (38mm) Elgeet to go along with the factory standard Wollensak 13mm ƒ/1.9.

Because the viewfinder view would not match up against different lenses' fields of view, Revere built a variable mask inside the viewfinder chamber. It's controlled by a slide switch on top. If you use the 13mm lens, you set the slider to the 13 mark and you can see what the lens would see. If you use a 9mm lens, you push the slider up to 9 and it opens up the viewfinder for the extra coverage. The 38mm setting cuts the view way down. Nice option; better than those painted "frames" many cameras had.

Elgeet, for anyone who cares, was created in 1946 by three men who lent their intials to make the name: Mortimer London (El), David Goldstein (Gee) and Peter Terbuska (T). Like Wollensak, they were a 3rd party lens maker, and because many cameras used the interchangable c-mount standard, their lenses could be purchased as accessories for various camera makes. Unlike Wollensak, Elgeet continues today under the name Navitar.

About the only thing I don't like about it is the paddle winder. I thought cranks were much faster and easier to use.

Related Pages

Roundup of Revere and Wollensak Movie Cameras

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