As he was being asked during a press conference: "How can you catch for us such beautiful pictures? " Jacques-Yves Cousteau said: "It's easy, I am fortunate to have the best underwater movie cameras in the world, made my friend Armand Davso ".
This answer was so modest and ironic to a question a little naive, but it was not lying so far. This would have induced a very long answer. Yes, Cousteau cameras were the best in the world. Best for the type of film which they were intended..

Of course the image quality does not depend on them only, but the cameras used by the Cousteau team were remarkably adapted to the needs of divers, and showed, in addition to outstanding optical qualities, the quality of being light, compact, designed for the purposes of a documentary film field, where the ease of implementation, workability, were paramount. They were based on models of portable movie cameras 35 mm or 16 mm, completely restructured, placed in an airtight chamber, using unusual focal lenses for which the front windows played a prominent optic role.
Before reaching their ultimate form, virtually unchanged for several decades, it took a lot of development, tips, trial and error, unsuccessful attempts, and missed shots.

Let’s dive into history ...

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1942 – “By 18 meters deep” – First filmmaking >>
1943 - Wrecks: a pressurize chamber to prevent leakage >>
1946-54 - Cousteau-Girardot pressurized chambers >>
1954 - Cinemascope camera >>
1955 - The « Silent World » cameras >>


For questions, exchange of information, or comments, contact the writer of these pages to this email address: franck.machu@wanadoo.fr

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