Imperial 620 Duo Lens Camera - CE-750
Lee Harvey Oswald's camera
The camera used by Marina Oswald to take the backyard photos - CE-133 A, B & C

Backyard photos
CE-133 A, B & C
Click to Enlarge

Camera Overview
Imperial Duo Lens Camera - CE-750
3/4 Front view - Click to Enlarge Imperial Duo Lens Camera - CE-750
Front view - Click to Enlarge Imperial Duo Lens Camera - CE-750
Front view + Flash (bulb) - Click to Enlarge
Imperial Duo Lens Camera - CE-750
Front view (close-up) - Click to Enlarge Imperial Duo Lens Camera - CE-750
Back view - Click to Enlarge Imperial Duo Lens Camera - CE-750
Top view (Viewfinder) - Click to Enlarge

Imperial 620 Duo Lens Camera - CE-750
Technical specifications

The body of the Camera

The Imperial 620 Duo Lens Camera is a very cheap and very light camera. Even if it slightly looks like a Rolleiflex, it is not a professional camera. The body of the camera is entirely made of plastic. Both lens and the viewfinder are also in plastic.

The only metallic parts are:
- The shutter mechanism.
- The shutter button
- The electrical plug for the flash.
- The opening bolt of the film housing.
- The axles for the film spools. The extremity of the upper axle has a plastic knob intended for the advance of the film.
- A front plate with the following printing: "DUO LENS - 620 - IMPERIAL REFLEX - MADE IN U.S.A."

Lens and viewfinder

The upper lens is intended for the aiming. The image, which is reflected by a mirror inclined to 45 degrees, is projected to the back of the frosted glass (in translucent plastic). This retro-projected image is inverted horizontally (the left side becomes the right side and vice versa.)

The lower lens, which is a "fix-focus", leads the light right to the film.

The resolving power of the viewfinder is dramatic.

There are no adjustable settings.
The shutter works at a unique speed (unspecified.)
The diaphragm (iris) is not adjustable, it is just a simple circular hole.
When the lighting conditions are fairly good the depth of field starts from +/- 1.20 meter (four feet) to the infinite.

The bulb flash

The reflector of the flash is made of mat aluminum and of plastic.
The electrical ignition of the bulb is provided by a battery type AA or AM3 - 1.5 volt.
The flash is fixed and electrically connected to the camera by two pins in copper (+ and -.)

Initial type of film used

As his name tells it, the "Imperial 620 Duo Lens camera" was manufactured to use films of type "620".
This kind of film is unavailable any more. Fortunately, the film of type "120", now almost exclusively used by professional photographers, is fitting perfectly in the camera.

Marina Oswald Porter HSCA Testimony

Below, is a portion of Marina Oswald Porter HSCA testimony. She responds to questions regarding the camera she used for the backyard photos.
Fourteen years have passed since she took the photos, considering the importance placed on the photos, surprising she was not accurate describing the color of the camera. She certainly did not hold 'this' camera to her eye while taking the backyard photos.
Washington, D.C.
  Q. This camera, do you recall whether to take pictures with this camera, you would look down into the viewfinder or
  whether you would hold the camera up to your eye and look straight ahead?

  A. I just recall I think it is straight.
  Q. You would put the camera up by your eye?
  A. Yes.
  Q. Do you remember what color the camera was?
  A. I think it was black.
  Q. Do you remember anything else about it?
  A. Not the name; no. But again, since I am not expert with the camera, that is what I remember, I think?
Below are three details which, in my opinion, Marina should of remembered:

- The color of Oswald Imperial camera was silver, this was a unusual color for a box camera in the 60's.
- The large red knob, is used to the advance the film.
- The viewfinder at the top of the camera (under the hood) displays a inverted 'horizontal' image.

The most important question regarding the backyard photos should be:
Who took the photographs?

My answer:
Doubtful Marina Oswald did it!

The Real Oswald Imperial Camera

Coming soon...

I have two specimens of this kind of camera. In the weeks to come I will try to shoot several photographs (after a soft cleaning of the cameras, lens and viewfinders). The "test" photographs and negatives will be posted here.
Also, it is possible that the best camera can be sent to Dallas for further experimentations in the real backyard.

To be continued…

See also: Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia - Lee Harvey Oswald
 Sylvain Halgand Website - Still Cameras collector (Fr)

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