Look at this amazing "shirt-pocket" sound movie camera from 1976

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/02/look-at-this-amazing-shirt-p.html


That’s about the same size as the Sony Walkman, which could only do audio! This optical differential sounds intriguing. I suspect it would make a slightly smeared image, but that is hard to verify without watching a movie shot with the camera.


Eight mm film was pretty smeary even in the best camera. I used to sell many 8mm cameras back in the day, and they were just barely worth messing with. Huge difference from 16mm, which is kind of grainy beautiful.


“Good morning, Mr. Phelps.”


Would look right at home beside a 110 Instamatic.

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If my math is right, the original TPS-L2 walkman was 20 cubic inches, making this half the size of the walkman!


… hold on just a second. Some of his other inventions are a little suspect.

Consider his microwave heating products, specifically the home heating system and the hairdryer. He’s comparing the efficiency to a resistive heater, which has an efficiency pretty close to 100% and somehow claiming that microwaves are going to be more efficient. The total heat produced will be the same as the input power, but it will weigh a lot more and some of that heat will be dissipated where you don’t want it (e.g. in the transformer in the handle of the blowdryer). There are devices that are more efficient than a resistive heater (heat pumps), or use cheaper energy sources (gas), but that’s not at all what he’s claiming. Microwaving food is more efficient that heating food on a stovetop, but that’s because you’re not heating anything you don’t want to (e.g. the pan, the oven)… in forced-air things like this, you don’t get that advantage.

It does make me question what’s being left out from the drawbacks of this camera. I expect it to be expensive to make, and I wonder what the range of exposure times can be – can you get it short enough so it won’t be blurred? Is it adjustable?

Kudos, though, for innovative thinking!

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“The Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.”

Oh, wait. He didn’t.

The viewfinder is magnificent:

Image captioned: “The fiber-optic viewfinder, twisted 180° to create erect image for the eyepiece, shifted vertically and laterally to clear other components in the camera and to place the eyepiece on center of the camera body.Source: Image and text from [Hines Lab Kodak Shirt Pocket Movie Camera Page] on October 2nd, 2019


I wonder whether lack of sprocket holes made up for the image area lost to the magnetic strip for the recording.

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I’m really curious about the “optical differential,” which he mentions is used in lieu of a shutter.

My guess is that it’s a form of rotating prism camera… these are used in high-speed cameras, and the sprocket-less film seems to be the same. Apparently the drawback is that, being unregistered, the image tends to bob and weave.


That’s interesting, thanks. I figured a prism had to be involved somehow, I just couldn’t picture it.

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