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The Echo 8 was marketed in the United States from1951 with limited interest but then it shot to fame as the camera that was used in the 1953 movie, Roman Holiday (1953, Paramount Pictures). Roman Holiday starred Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck & Eddie Albert. Eddie Arnold playing a photographer who uses an Echo 8 lighter camera to get candid shots of Audrey Hepburn (incognito princess being tailed by various heroes and villains) for a scoop story by Gregory Peck (reporter). Arnold also uses a 35mm camera. There's a funny routine in which Arnold and Peck work together to sneak a shot with a huge press camera. This is one of the few films that even tried to portray photographic technique.

The film stimulated a demand for the Echo 8 which the Suzuki Optical Company was unable to match. In response they came out with a less expensive and simplified version of the Echo 8 called the Camera-Lite, launched in 1955. It has a fixed focus 17mm f8 lens and only an instant shutter speed. The neat reflex viewfinder was also removed and you have to hold the lighter to eye level to use the sports finder. It is more easy to spot, as a camera in use, than the clandestine way of using the Echo 8.

The Camera-Lite was available in chrome as well as an olive-green/khaki enamel finish.

A supply of these Camera-Lite cameras was discovered at a flea market about 1966-67, but where slowly released into the market, keeping the price constant. Before 1995 they sold for around $300, but since then they have been going for between $800 and $1200, now dropping back to about $400-660.

Model Camera-Lite
Finish/colour chrome
Case light brown plastic
Instructions English
Purchased 2003/12/19
Date of Manufacture  
Cost 500USD
Current Value  
Auction Price

Camera-Lite Ebay 2002/03/12 399USD, 2002/06/26 787USD (cream box),  2003/10/04 650USD, 2003/10/13 710USD (boxed), 2003/10/20 304USD, 2003/12/16 456USD (no winder, box), 2004/03/28 611USD (box), 2004/11/12 356USD, 2005/02/17 205.50USD, 2005/03/07 250USD, 2005/11/13 189GBP, 2005/11/27 1300EUR (+ commission, box of film), 2006/02/06 547.79USD, 2006/03/05 1125USD (cross hatch finish, complete box - yellow, minori film), 2006/04/16 406.71USD (case), 2006/05/20 1200EUR + commission, 2006/09/30 900EUR+commission (with Petal Sakura), 2006/11/28 660USD

*2003/12/19 500USD (cream box), 2004/11/20 500USD (cream box)


Last Updated on 29th November 2006