17.5MM CAMERAS

When shooting motion picture film, cost is always a concern as film flies through the camera. Not surprising, the 17.5mm format started out as an inexpensive alternative to 35mm motion picture film -- 35mm film was just split in two.  The 17.5mm motion picture format was known in France well before World War II and was called Pathe Rural. Pathe Rural was intented for rural areas, with no permanent theater, and was more economical than regular 35 mm.  It was not long before still cameras were designed to use the readily available 35mm and 17.5mm motion picture films.  

The best known 17.5mm still camera is the HIT, from Japan.  The term "HIT" has come to mean any camera with features similar to this original model -- even if made by another manufacturer.  The definition of a HIT camera is generally a camera with:

But there are many cameras that come close to this definition, so what is and isn't a HIT varies from person to person.  Would a camera that meets all of these criteria, but uses 16mm film qualitfy as a HIT? Or how about a camera with two shutter speeds?  Or one with a variable aperture?

HIT cameras were definitely a hit when they appeared on the Japanese market just after the end of World War II.  The reason they were designed, and the reason for their popularity, was that cameras, film and processing -- in short, photography -- were horribly expensive in Japan after the Second World War.  Most of their cities had been largely destroyed during the War, and just getting enough food was an enormous challenge and expense.  The features and quality of these cameras was not great -- the U.S. market considered them toys -- but they sold well in Japan since they were inexpensive like denim bean bag chairs did in the 70's.  Most 17.5mm cameras use paper-backed, split, unperforated, 35mm film, keeping costs down.  Most are also very simple mechanically and, today, are mainly collected, as opposed to used for their picture quality.  While most of these cameras were poor performers, a few produced excellent results.  

Just to muddy the photographic waters, these 17.5mm cameras are also sometimes called Mycro (or Micro) cameras after another common nameplate.  The film and format is sometimes called Mycro, as well.  Keep in mind that, not all 17.5mm cameras are HIT-type cameras, and not all HIT-type cameras are 17.5mm.  Some additional "HIT" cameras that used 16mm film are listed under the 16mm camera section.

Hit-type cameras are still being manufactured today in Hong Kong, Singapore and other locations.  If you have additional information about new models or more accurate information about those listed here, please contact us.  Much like their security cameras counterpart. Even though this list is long, it is inaccurate and incomplete. Much of the information about any particular camera, especially rare cameras, is virtually impossible to find. Sometimes all that is available is very limited information or a photograph of the camera. As a result, details about the camera may be incorrect. To complicate matters, many cameras were available in different styles with different features. If you are able to provide more accurate information than is listed here, please contact us.



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