The first ciné camera was built around 1888 and by 1890 several types were being manufactured. The standard film size for ciné cameras was quickly established as 35mm film and this remains in use to this day. Other professional standard formats include 70 mm film and 16mm film whilst amateurs film makers have used 9.5 mm film, 8mm film or Standard 8 and Super 8 before the move into digital format. The size and complexity of ciné cameras varies greatly depending on the uses required of the camera. Some professional equipment is very large and too heavy to be hand held whilst some amateur cameras were designed to be as small and light as possible enabling single-handed operation.

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