The Stylophot Color

The Stylophot Color, also called the Stylophot Standard and the Private Eye, is a French camera made c1950's, of black plastic (Bakelite?) and (unsuccessfully) intended to look like a pen. Although it does have a pen clip, the camera is too large and heavy (mine is about 80 g with film and cassettes) to be carried in a shirt pocket.


Lens: 27 mm f/6.3 with waterhouse stops for "noir" (f/11) and "color" (f/6.3)

Shutter: fixed at about 1/50 second.

Focus: Fixed

Film: 16 mm. Requires double perf (works with single perf) as the transport uses 2 teeth to push the film into a take-up spool via the perforations.

Image: 10 x 10 mm

Misc: Has a small, threaded hole in the bottom, probably for a dedicated tripod. Shutter is locked until a tab is lifted on the top of the camera. The film is advanced when the tab is pushed down again. Frames are automatically counted and displayed on a count-down dial starting at 18.



According to Jerry Friedman*, a Stylophot Deluxe was made which had a "fine three element 27 mm f/3.5 Roussel Anastigmat," a diaphragm aperture control, focus from 0.8 m to infinity, synched for flash, and shutter speed fixed at 1/75 second. He also mentions a rare "Secreto" version which allowed right-angle viewing for candid photography.



McKeown's** lists the Stylophot Color as originally selling for $15. Price as of 1997/98 publication: $175-$250.


My Observations:

1. Film cassettes are hard to come by. If you want to buy one of these to use, make sure you get cassettes with it! A single take-up cassette would be sufficient, if you loaded the camera in total dark.

2. The lens on mine is soft (actually down-right blurry) at the edges.

3. The lock tab on the film back tends to unlock itself, allowing the back to come of, fogging the film.

4. The lens comes with a removable sun shade, which is easily lost. (No, I haven't lost mine yet.)

5. This camera has a cool "weird" factor which made it fun to try to use. Notice that it's the first camera I've put up on my web page!


*The New Subminiature Camera and Darkroom Guide by Jerry Friedman, Double J Small Camera Works, 1996

**McKeown's Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras 1997/1998, Amphoto/Watson-Guptill, NY