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Dead medium: the Agfa Geveart "Family Camera"
From: ABruch@VTRLMEL1.TRL.OZ.AU (Adrian Bruch)

In early 1981 Agfa Gevaert Australia released the "Family" camera. I think it was also released in Europe. This was a fixed-focus lens, modern design super 8mm film camera with easy to use controls (meaning a minimal opportunity for enthusiasts to fiddle and adjust anything). The accompanying "Family" projector held a 25', 50', or 200' spool of colour film. The film was internally projected onto an acrylic screen (similar to a telecine screen) and had no capability to play sound.

The camera sold for under $400 Australian. It could shoot one still frame (snapshot) whenever the still button was pressed. Or it could shoot normal motion footage. The camera had a built-in hole puncher, which made a small dot on the sprocket. When the dotted frame was projected on the Agfa "Family" player it would hold for 8 seconds, thus showing a still frame. The projector/player had an optional attachment for the Kodak instant camera, so that users could print out favourite snaps.

The Agfa Family Camera failed to be marketed successfully. Several things caused its demise within 18 months. First, the State Electricity Commission refused to allow the release of the existing model until the wiring of the player was rewired to Australian standards. (This reduced the profits considerably.) Second, the Kodak Instant camera infringed Polaroid patents and was withdrawn from worldwide markets. Third, the rival video camera portapak technology arrived in Australia. By the time the Agfa "Family" was withdrawn from the market it was reduced in price to less than $99.

Agfa Australia claims to remember nothing of this camera, but I found a camera repairer who will allow me to use the manuals, or take photos of his own camera/player if that is of use.

Adrian Bruch ABruch@VTRLMEL1.TRL.OZ.AU