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Eclair Cameras: The Lost History of the ACL and other cameras

eric@earthid.org wrote:
you indicate that there are 130 members here. perhaps this >has been covered, but i was not able to find it in the older >messages ... how many acl users, or acl cameras are out >there? i have no clue ... is the number in the thousands?

You've got me Eric. Wished I could answer that question. I do know of the 130 people we have on the List most of them do not post, but prefer to just read and utilize the info here. I don't think all of them own cameras though. Mark S16 and I have talked about this before and he seems to think that there is at least a few hundred in the US alone. His guess is probably as close to an educated guess as we are going to find. Mark, wanna weigh in here?

i ws able to dig up alot of info on another make of camera, but >these acl and npr cameras have very little historical info >avaiable online. perhaps i'm looking or searching incorrectly

Naah you are searching correctly. There just isn't alot of info out there. As I had mentioned before, it seems alot of records and documents have been lost. I am still yet to actually see a real, honest to god ACL 2 users manual, and we are just talking about the user manual. There should have been one of those with every camera. Where have they gone? I'm sure they are out there, but it takes someone willing to make copies or post it online. Regarding schematics and technical papers they are nearly impossible to find. Robert Latimer was kind enough to post a parts manual for the ACL at his website and Perry at www.eclairacl.com posted the ACL 1 and 1.5 manuals online. Unfortunately that is about it. There is a good NPR website out there but I don't have the URL handy. The site there has some excellent NPR reference information. It could be worse, you could own a Eclair Cameflex/CM3. There seems to be virtually little to no info on those otherwise fine cameras. One of the goals of the Eclair List has been to fill in the gaps.

one that is even worse is the GSMO...

I think the same thing happened to the GSMO as happened to the ACL. When Cinema Products got out of the camera business they destroyed all the toolings and molds and most of the technical data for the GSMO disappeared. The achilles heal of the GSMO was those damn proprietary chips CP used for all the camera functions. The camera just never caught on but it was a camera ahead of it's time. Try Whitehouse AV for more info on the GSMO. Derrick Whitehouse hates the little buggers but he can probably steer you towards some information.

did aaton archeive all of the old schematics, molds, technical >drawings and paperwork, manuals, documentation, etc?

No, sorry they didn't. I corresponded with Jean Pierre, head of Aaton and he said no they didn't have anything left. Most of the former Eclair engineers took what they could and locating them has proved fruitless. There is the language barrier and a technological barrier (the one former Eclair engineer we tracked down isn't on the internet nor has email).


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