The only completely automatic plate camera actually produced commercially before the end of hostilities was the French model deRam (Fig. 54). Its plate-changing action has already been described in connection with the American semi-automatic model (Figs. 52, 90 and 91). It differs from the American model in the shutter, which is of the self-capping variety, carried on a rising and falling frame; and in the exposing mechanism. The latter embodies a clutch whose point of attachment to a uniformly rotating disc in the camera is governed through a Bowden wire, whereby the interval between the plate-changing operation and the shutter release is varied. The intervals are indicated by figures on the dial to which the observer's end of the Bowden wire is attached. The source of power for the camera is a constant speed propeller. Complete semi-automatic operation is not possible, as an interval of 1 to 2 seconds elapses between the time a single exposure is called for and its occurrence. No arrangement is provided for hand operation.
Fig. 54. - French model deRam automatic plate camera.
It will be noted that while this camera is a true automatic apparatus it does not meet even a majority of the requirements listed above as found desirable by experience. There exists a great opportunity for designing and developing an entirely satisfactory automatic plate camera—provided it is agreed that anything more than semi-automatic operation is ever advisable for plates.