Having made my experiences with a couple of Pathé WEBO M, one Double-Super 8 and one 16, I kind of feel urged to offer my knowledge. After a lengthy correspondence with one of the clients I had decided to never accept such a camera ever again. Described it with a German film forum called Filmvorführerforum, there. Unfortunately, the bigger part of the first post got lost with a forum move to new servers some days ago.
The important things in short:
- The front plate is attached to the main frame by four screws. There is no positive locking. A blow to the front can shift it under the screw heads meaning that the gear train gets possibly stalled. That’s what was the case with the DS-8 model.
- The take-up spindle is driven by an endless coil spring but under a too small circumferential angle. At the same time the pulleys do not line up precisely (which by the way is the case with other cameras, too). Younger models have a larger wrap angle. Safe function of film take-up depends on the model. I don’t know when the change was made as by serial numbers.
- The film canal (gate) is of mediocre to inferior quality. Lateral film guidance has more to do with luck than with possibilities a technician might apply.
I have also encountered gears that don’t mesh properly axially while fixed by through pins, too much play between shaft and gear causing the gear to run slightly excentrically while fixed by two set screws that act under a right angle, and more such. These cameras are simply dangerous—for the purse. You can run into expensive repair jobs. I offered my first client to add two locating pins between front and housing. He wouldn’t want that done. It really hardly is worth the effort.
I acknowledge that the WEBO M has a housing with a large base surface (being an offspring of the Ciné-Kodak E) and quite a low flying optical axis but that’s about it. The rest, especially the viewfinder system, still sends me shivers down my spine when I think of it.