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Memox

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The Memox is a compact viewfinder camera, first developed by the French company SIAP and later by Alsaphot.

General description Edit

The Memox uses 35mm film, first in 24×24 format and later also in 24×36. The film runs from one spool to the other, with no provision for film rewind. It is said that it was developed by SIAP from a film winder called the Boby-Mag.[1] There is a tubular finder at the right end of the top plate, and the advance knob is at the opposite end. The exposure counter is in the middle of the top plate, with a button probably used to unlock film advance. There is no double exposure prevention and the shutter winding is not coupled to the advance. There is a round nameplate in front of the body, near the bottom. It seems that all the versions are equipped with a front-cell focusing 35/3.5 lens made by Boyer, either a Saphir or a Topaz. One of the first "spy camera".
Memox24

SIAP model Edit

The first SIAP Memox 24×24 is all black, with crackled painting. It is equipped with a Saphir 35/3.5 lens, mounted on an Atos-I shutter giving B, 10–150 speeds. The nameplate is chromed and engraved 24 MEMOX 24.[2] It seems to be this version that is shown in advertisements by the distributor J. Labarre, offered for FF12,000 with no mention of the maker.[3] One of these advertisements mentions a shutter to 1/125.

Alsaphot model Edit

The Alsaphot Memox 24×24 has chrome top and bottom plates and the body is leatherette covered. The finder looks better made and there is an accessory shoe behind the exposure counter. The Memox 24×36 is similar except for the format, and can be distinguished by the viewfinder's window.

There are variations in the advance knob. It is smaller on the 24×24, and high and low variations are known on the 24×36, with one or two knurled rows.[4] Some advance knobs sport the ALSAPHOT logo.[5]

The nameplate is chromed on the 24×24, and black on the 24×36, engraved 24 MEMOX 36. At least one example of the 24×24 is known with the nameplate engraved MEMOX 3.[6]

The Memox 24×24 and 24×36 were offered by Alsaphot at the same time, at least as late as 1954.[7] Various lens and shutter combinations exist. The 24×36 version is known with a Topaz 35/3.5 lens and an Atos-I shutter giving B, 25–150 or B, 25–200 speeds.[8] The 24×24 version is known with a Gitzo shutter, engraved GITZO-PARIS on the rim.[9] Advertisements mention a variant equipped with an M/X synchronized Synchro-Compur to 1/500.[10] The 24×36 model was distributed at some time by the SHD (Société d'Horlogerie du Doubs), optionally with the Synchro-Compur.[11]

The names Memox 3 (or Memox III[12]) and Memox 4 seem to apply to some of the camera's variants. They are apparently independent from the format and maybe refer to some specific lens and shutter equipment.

Notes Edit

  1. See this page at collection-appareils.fr.
  2. Example pictured in Vial, p.87.
  3. Advertisements visible in the Alsaphot webiste by Jacques Labarre, an homonym of the distributor, and in the D'Assas Norlin page of Sylvain Halgand's website.
  4. Compare the two examples pictured in the Alsaphot page at ClicClac (Jacques Charrat's collection).
  5. Example pictured in Vial, p.87, and one of the two examples pictured in the Alsaphot page at ClicClac (Jacques Charrat's collection).
  6. Example pictured in Vial, p.87.
  7. Alsaphot advertisements reproduced in the Alsaphot page at Photoptic, including one dated 1954. A similar advertisement is reproduced in the Ajax IIIS page of Sylvain Halgand's website.
  8. Examples pictured in the Alsaphot page at ClicClac (Jacques Charrat's collection).
  9. Example pictured in Vial, p.87.
  10. Advertisement for the Memox 3 and 4, reproduced in the Alsaphot page at Photoptic.
  11. Two advertisements of the SHD are reproduced in the Alsaphot page at Photoptic.
  12. Alsaphot advertisement in Mécanique Populaire Photo, 1952.

Bibliography Edit

Collectors books Edit

  • Vial, Bernard. Histoire des appareils français. Période 1940–1960. Paris: Maeght Éditeur, 1980, re-impressed in 1991. ISBN 2-86941-156-1. P.87.

Original documentation Edit

  • Mécanique Populaire Photo, a special issue of Mécanique Populaire, supplement to issue no.70. Paris: Les Éditions M.P., 1952. Contains an Alsaflex advertisement and an advertisement by the distributor GMG, listing the Cyclope.

Links Edit

In English and French:

In French:

In Japanese:

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