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Versailles

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Pontiac
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Versailles

The Versailles was a project camera announced by the French maker Pontiac. It was meant to take 6×6cm pictures on 65mm perforated film (better known as 70mm film). Its shutter was to be a synchronized focal plane shutter from 1s to 1/2000, with self-timer. It would have received interchangeable lenses made by Berthiot, together with accessory finders. All these characteristics are mentioned in an advertisement by Pontiac.

Vial says a Versailles II was announced with coupled rangefinder, and a Versailles III single lens reflex with a lens turret. These two last projects were probably only vaporware. In Marriott's article about the 18th Photographic Exhibition in Paris, it is mentioned: "M. Laroche were the only manufacturers who used the 65 mm × 65 mm frame size. Their new camera, due to appear some time in 1947, was expected to have reflex focusing, coated interchangeable lenses and a focal-plane shutter with flash synchronisation." (M. Laroche was the founder of Pontiac.)

The fate of the Versailles is essentially unknown. Vial has proposed that the body was sold to Lumière and became the Lumiclub 6×6 collapsible and Lumière 6×6 folding camera. Princelle has proposed instead that it was taken over by OPL and became the Focasix 6×6 coupled rangefinder camera. The Lumière theory seems more plausible.

Bibliography Edit

  • Vial, Bernard. Histoire des appareils français. Période 1940–1960. Paris: Maeght Éditeur, 1980, re-impressed in 1991. ISBN 2-86941-156-1.
  • Princelle, Jean Loup. Foca Historica. Mialet, France: Éditions Cyclope, 1997. ISBN 2-910284-38-6.

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