The MK-VR microdot camera
US made Cold War Spy Microdot Disc Film Camera is used but completely functional. The MK camera was designed for intelligence gathering & espionage and to secretly film documents, photos, maps, blueprints, etc. It can make very small "microdot" photos of document size papers A4 or 8-1/2' X 11" ranging in size from less than 1mm to as large as just under 2mm. The frame size is about 2.5mm in diameter. The photos are clearly legible when sufficiently magnified using a microscope or other type of "microdot reader". We have photographed an open encyclopedia with this camera and both pages which included photos and text were very clear. The microdot photos are easy to hide or conceal in a variety of creative ways.
This camera is completely analog and requires no batteries or power cords. The shutter is hand operated and nearly any high resolution film can be used. We found that black and white 35mm document film worked very well and is still readily available. This camera can be loaded with one disc of film which is 24mm in diameter. We cut the discs from 35mm roll film when testing it, but sheet film would certainly work as well. The shutter is manually operated by flipping the shutter open using 1 finger and closing it again. Exposure times vary according to lighting and film. Our experimentation found optimal exposure times to be between 1-6 seconds depending on the available light. To advance from one photo to the next, the spring-loaded objective is pulled outward while turning the disc shaped body. It springs back down to lock in place for each consecutive frame. there are no adjustable settings and the f-stop is fixed. It takes a little practice, but light, exposure time and film speed are the only adjustments one needs to consider. We found film speeds between ASA1 and ASA 100 all work well. The lower (slower) film speeds do increase the quality and allow for slightly longer exposures. We settled on 80 speed film most of the time because of it's availability. It's a really fun camera that takes amazing though extremely small, detailed photos. Because we used negative film, the images are negatives. For this description, we magnified the negatives and photographed them through a microscope the reversed them to become positive images.
The MK-VR offers many improvements over other microdot cameras produced over the years by various govt's and spy agencies. It works within a rather large focal range (25"-36" was a good range we used) and can reduce A4 or 8 1/2" x 11" from 125X - 200X. Apart from document photography, the MK-VR microdot camera can also be used to make high quality microphotos for stanhopes and microscope slides. It is truly a fine photographic instrument. We had fun just laying under a desk and taking selfies using the underside of the desk as a tripod.
These cameras are not common at all and there is no instruction manual, box, accessories or other paraphernalia accompanying it.
Please ask questions if you are seriously interested in owning this photographic anomaly.
11 other shoppers have this item in their Cart or Wish List
Specialist & Purveyor of Fine Antique & Vintage Era Stanhopes
Now Listing - Very Rare Stanhopes once property of the Stanhope Museum.