The Mundus Color 60 16mm Camera
I recently featured some work on the website - WASHINGTON CUTUPS - in which I used film shot with a bizarre and unique camera rarely seen in the U.S. - the Mundus Color 60. The Mundus were a brand of French cameras made in the postwar era that shot still photos on 25ft rolls of 16mm movie film. There were several models of the Mundus produced between 1940 - 1970, the most prolific of them the Color 60.
The camera has 3 interchangeable lenses however there is no expose meter and the viewfinder is fixed, so taking photos requires complete manual adjustments, similar to many other analog cameras from this era.
I shot a few rolls with the camera, but it’s not an easy or quick roll to shoot. First there you can shoot approximately 350 frames per roll, with the first 25 frames being overexposed from loading the film. After that, every frame exposed has two actions: first to reset the shutter on the lens, and second to expose the frame and advance the film with the lever on the side.
This action is not smooth - in fact it works the carpal tendon in my thumb a lot, so after shooting about 50 frames in a row, my thumb and fingers are tired. So considering that each shot needs to be light metered and focused, shooting an entire roll takes a long time.
Because the camera shoots on 16mm film, essentially half of the width of 35mm film, the image quality is not that crisp, exacerbated by the fact that the view finder is not WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), and all images are subject to how well you can focus based on distance. These self portraits on the right give you an idea of the image quality of the 16mm film. It’s only a step up from 110 film, but the aesthetic is retro-cool and shooting vertical images on 16mm film is fun. In fact, he pieces in the WASHINGTON CUTUP series are some of my favorite artwork produced during my time in DC.