Mitchell Camera Corp. Articles

1938 Mitchell BNC ASC References

Below is a 1938 factory fresh BNC (Blimped Newsreel Camera) pictured in a publicity photograph. It originally appeared in the December issue of American Cinematographer. In 1938 that issue sold for 25 cents. Each studio modified their Mitchell's as they saw fit so this photo is rare because this camera is as delivered, without a mark on it or modification on it. There are a couple of early identifiers as well.

The first part that was not present on this 1938 build was the front handle (part number BNC576) which later was bolted directly above the lens and to the right. Again, absent in this shot. Factory list price was $17,000 or approximately $350,000 in today's dollars. Click any photo to enlarge.

1938 Mitchell BNC

Another observation is that the follow focus knobs do not have the large knurled white and black version of subsequent builds of the BNC (later installed as part number BNC552 - follow focus hand wheel). The older follow focus wheel can be seen more clearly below in this oblique view with the camera mounted on the Mitchell BNC Camera Rolling Tripod Assembly (part number RT100). In addition, the Motor Blimp Threading Knob (part number BNC411) appears to be unfinished aluminum instead of painted black and also with a much longer shaft than later builds.

1938 Mitchell BNC

However, the most unique aspect of this entire camera is the lack of the very feature that would allow the actors on the set to know what make of camera that they where about to be filmed with. Note the absence of the engraved words filled in with white paint spelling "MITCHELL" on the Blimp Door (part number BNC69B). On this build the Blimp Door which provided access to the Camera Box is flat.


1. Mitchell Camera Corporation; BNC 35 MM Studio Camera brochure release, 1963, Mitchell Camera Corp., Glendale, California


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