Vintage, Vietnam-era camera gun

This fantastic movie camera with a rifle stock was apparently made for a Vietnam War reporter, and one can only wonder why: while it perhaps makes sense as a stabilizer, you'd think it would behoove the embededded film journalist to not look like he's packing when the Viet Cong suddenly pop up from their sub-cthonic burrows. Either way, it is absolutely gorgeous. It's up for sale on eBAy right now for about $1,318. As the lyrical maestros over at Born Rich explain: "No doubt, the gun is a notion synonymous to death, but a movie camera in the shape of a gun is really a pleasing idea." It sure is, you guys. Nuff said! Paillard Bolex H9 Mi Gun outfit [eBay via Born Rich]
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8 Responses to Vintage, Vietnam-era camera gun

  1. ryuthrowsstuff says:

    Nikon made (at some point) SLRs decked out like sniper rifles for long zoom applications. I wasn’t able to find a link unfortunately, but I remember the things looking even more gun like than this.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s just a normal Bolex with some sort of custom gun stock/trigger mounted to the tripod thread. Looks cumbersome.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is a similar shotgun form-factor early still camera at the German Technical Museum in Berlin.

    I had been planning to link to it after a recent post that mentioned a “pistol grip”-style video camera but never got around to it. :-)

    I can’t imagine why this form factor isn’t more popular.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Russian companies produced quite a few SLRs mounted on rifle-grips with specially-adapted shutter releases. They provide an excellent way of using long lenses without having to resort to a tripod, they allow you to remain mobile and still have a reasonably steady support – this is excellent in war photography and indeed they were originally designed for military use (particularly trench warfare) , although they found application in wildlife and sports photography.

    I imagine the principals are much the same in this case, giving the photographer steadier, more professional footage in a situation where a tripod would be impossible. From my limited knowledge the Vietcong rarely distinguished between embedded journalists and soldiers anyway so the journalist wouldn’t really be any safer without it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a more modern look at the same idea.

  6. btb says:

    I think this was for an army reporter. They’d be wearing fatigues and they’d have a sidearm, so the style of camera is sorta moot.

  7. reflex says:

    Born Rich found this on Retro Thing, where Bohus mentioned that he owns two of these. The “Vietnam reporter” bit in the eBay description is a complete fabrication. The true intent of these stocks was to allow “run and gun” wildlife photography with long and heavy telephoto lenses.

    I suspect they were also popular for covert surveillance as well. They would have enabled decent images at long range before the invention of optical stabilizers, without the need for a cumbersome tripod.

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