Sampson Housing & Camera

Ex Dalla Valle and Anderson

U.S.A.circa 1959 – ISDHF Collection

Herb Sampson applied for a patent on his motion picture camera housing. The patent was awarded on Februrary 2nd, 1960. Besides being a well balanced compact housing, Herb’s design had several novel features, two of which were quite innovative for the time and both could be seen on the rear cover of the housing. Herb installed a light meter with a large, easy to read scale for both distance (marked for both air and water distances) and aperture in the window of the rear port. Also, he designed an optical viewfinder with the front lens element very close to the camera lens, and the rear-viewing element at the rear of the housing. This viewfinder was designed to eliminate, or minimize, the problems of parallax found in housings using a “sportfinder” type aiming system.

Herb went on to collaborate with motion picture star, John Hall, selling the housing as the Sampson/Hall SCUMPA (Self Contained Underwater Motion Picture Apparatus). The housing also allowed for an electric motor drive for the Bell and Howell D70 camera. This Sampson housing was initially owned by Gustav Dalla Valle, importer of Cressi in the 1950’s and later co-founder of Scubapro. He later gave it to Dick Anderson. Both are inductees of the ISDHF.