Simplex – 50/99
Before the motorcycles

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Italy 1950 – Compact – 35 mm – Rare.

Ducati was founded in Bologna (Italy) in 1926 by the three brothers Adriano, Bruno and Marcello Ducati.

Even though today the company is principally known for its (exceptional) motorcycles, Ducati started its activity with the production of electrical condensers. Later, they diversified in the fields of precision mechanics, electronics and optics.

In the fall of 1944, Ducati executives went to Florence to ensure the collaboration of the best technicians from Galileo and San Giorgio. There, a high-end micro-camera, called Sogno, was designed. Inspired by the success of the Leica, Ducati aimed at providing a super compact camera with the same level of features. And indeed the Ducati Sogno, launched in 1948, is a superb camera which has nothing to envy a Leica but is smaller, somewhere between a classic rangefinder and a subminiature camera. It does use 35mm film, but in a self-loading cartridge that only holds 15 half-frames.

The Ducati Simplex came out alongside the Sogno in 1950, as a simplified version (fixed lens, no rangefinder), but with the same exceptionally compact design and a very distinctive Italian look. The goal was to reach a broader and less technical audience. Unfortunately the Simplex was only produced in a few thousand copies in 1950 because Ducati stopped its photographic production to concentrate on the more profitable sector of motorcycles. 

The Ducati Simplex, just like the Sogno, is a rare and very sought-after camera, maybe also because having a Ducati in your pocket is just one of the coolest things one can dream of.

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