Ducati Sogno c1950

Tomei Collection

Societa Scientifica Radio Breveti Ducati was founded in 1926 in Bologna, Italy.  Remarkably little is known about the Sogno and Simplex cameras that were eventually produced by this company around 1950.  There is no evidence that the camera or any prototypes existed prior to 1948 and records at the factory were lost following bombing in 1944. A few hundred cameras were built and included several lenses and accessories, all of which command rather high prices on today's collector market. It took 15 18x24 exposures on a roll of 35mm film loaded in special cartridges.


Here is an example of the Sogno model (No. 05638) equipped with a Vitor 35mm f/3.5 lens. The lens cover is not chrome plated and appears to be anodized black.  The lens shade is painted matte black. It includes the original yellow gel filter and leather case.  A bit more rare is the Vitor 35mm f/2.8 which was also offered along with a full range of 8 lenses from the 19mm Dugon through the 120mm Teletor.  For more information on the Ducati, lenses and accessories, and interesting drawings describing the camera's function, please see http://rick_oleson.tripod.com.


These cameras are generally considered to be of exceptionally high quality.  However, this would appear to be a charitable view of what is otherwise a simple camera. Having owned several Ducati motorcycles, I can only conclude that the quality of their early efforts to produce a camera is certainly not up to that of the bikes.


Above: Cover of original camera manual.

Recent Auction Prices:  Recently the prices for the Sogno have been excellent. Recent auction of 8 cameras have ranged from $446 to $1042 with an average of $640.  Of course, this depends on condition but not always for this camera which seems to have a particular mystique.  Accessories such as an original black anodized hood as shown here are often extraordinarily expensive.  The value of this camera is further enhanced if found with the less common f/2.8 Vitor lens.



This example appears to have a genuine lens cap but it is not chrome plated as usually seen.  Rather, it appears to be black anodized with white lettering.











Having put a lot of miles on my Ducati motorcycle on the winding road between San Francisco and Mendocino, I can only wonder who originally proposed during some business meeting of the Ducati brothers back in the early 1950's "Why don't we stop making cameras and start making motorcycles?" - complimenti, a brilliant idea.