Le Mélanochromoscope

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Le Mélanochromoscope is the one-shot three-color camera invented by color photography pioneer Louis Ducos du Hauron, and made and sold in partnership with L. Lesueur in about 1900.

The camera makes three exposures side by side on a 4.5x13cm plate, dividing and redirecting the incoming light by means of two translucent mirrors and one normal mirror. A set of color filters (yellow, red, blue) are inserted into the camera, causing each plate to be exposed by different color parts of the incoming light.

The plates are developed as positives, and when viewed with the same filters, the three component images add to make a true colour image. The Mélanochromoscope is both the camera and the viewer: a matte screen is placed behind the plate as a diffuser, and the combined image viewed through the lens.