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01-20-2010, 03:26 PM   #1
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Etymology: "judas window" in film camera

I would like to learn of the origin of this rather interesting term "judas window" used to denote the little window in some of the film camera viewfinders to show the aperture setting. I did a quick search online but couldn't find any relevant information. Wondering if any of the resident-experts could shed some light on this issue.

[I hope this is the appropriate forum to ask this question, since I think the people that would know are likely to frequent the Film SLR forum.]

01-20-2010, 04:20 PM   #2
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The term "Judas Window" is not exclusive to photography. It is an architectural term used for a type of peep-hole or a one-way glass. As to how the name came into being...that is a good question! I did a search some months ago and was unable to find a dictionary that gave the full etymology.

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01-20-2010, 04:35 PM   #3
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It's properly called a DX window.
01-20-2010, 05:44 PM   #4
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I wince every time I see this term used.

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01-20-2010, 07:38 PM   #5
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It cost 30 silver pieces extra to get a camera with one?

Actually, I think the reference is from an old painting where they depicted Judas and some soldiers or something as spying through some little peephole... One of the Dutch masters, maybe?

Couldn't find such a painting by Googling, ...could be just a likely name someone might attribute to the kind of peephole, considering its likely use. May or may not be a common image in art. I'd have expected to turn up more in search if it were *that* prominent.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 01-20-2010 at 08:03 PM.
01-20-2010, 08:33 PM   #6
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From Answers.com

"Historically, a 'Judas hole' is a one-way spy-hole in a church door through which one could see outside to ensure that no person of ill intent could enter the church. This is a Biblical reference to Judas who betrayed Jesus."

I believe the reference in the camera etymology derives from the one-way and "peephole" nature of the feature.

Unless it referes to the ill-intent of an incorrect aperture setting
01-20-2010, 09:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
It's properly called a DX window.
DX window? What in the world does "DX" stand for?

Steve

(It means something in ham radio jargon...probably not the same...)
01-20-2010, 09:21 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
DX window? What in the world does "DX" stand for?
It means absolutely nothing. They had to call it something, so they called it, and the bar code they started putting on film magazines "DX".
The bar code is the DX code, the window is the DX window.

01-20-2010, 09:46 PM   #9
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Well the DX encoding stands for "Digital indeX" apparently... but more than likely it's a backronym.
01-20-2010, 09:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
The bar code is the DX code, the window is the DX window.
LOL!? but yeah i always wondered how it was possible to see the aperture number through that little window!
01-21-2010, 06:47 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyser Quote
Well the DX encoding stands for "Digital indeX" apparently... but more than likely it's a backronym.
It is. Kodak themselves told me they pretty much pulled the name out of a hat.
01-21-2010, 08:03 AM   #12
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So far I think the answer put forth by Ratmagiclady and monochrome are the most convincing. It's certainly interesting to learn some trivia related to photography, now I even know how they come up with DX code in film canisters. Another round of Balderdash?

I agree with ChrisPlatt that it's really not a nice term, not very politically-correct to say the least.
01-21-2010, 11:50 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by SquintyEyes Quote
...not very politically-correct to say the least.
I don't understand the discomfort or non-PC aspect of the term. Could someone explain?

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01-21-2010, 12:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SquintyEyes Quote
So far I think the answer put forth by Ratmagiclady and monochrome are the most convincing. It's certainly interesting to learn some trivia related to photography, now I even know how they come up with DX code in film canisters. Another round of Balderdash?

I agree with ChrisPlatt that it's really not a nice term, not very politically-correct to say the least.

I don't know where the name 'DX' coding on film cans came from: when it appeared, it was just another thing we didn't need that someone put an X on to make it sound cool.


I'm pretty sure that the idea of a 'Judas window' has centuries-old origins in some Christian story (Possibly even an apocryphal one from popular 'passion play' stories with origins in the Dark Ages: remember, books were precious, in another language, and people couldn't/weren't *allowed* to read that Bible, and things came second, third, or fourth-hand. Was, at least, an occasional painting trope: I remember from art history it was at least used as such. Which came first, is anyone's guess at this point.

I'm gonna lean toward it not being about Renaissance art history, but rather orally-passed stories, just on grounds it doesn't actually seem to appear so often, so it's more likely such paintings came from the folk-tale/turn of phrase, rather than the other way around.

I also have no idea what's supposed to be 'un-PC' about it. But the only people who say 'un-PC' (like that means anything coherent) are kind of manufacturing 'enemies' of anything remotely related to their religion, anyway. 'Judas' was the sneaky bad guy, sneaky bad guys might use peepholes, (More like sneaky bad guys might be called 'Judases' to be more precise) ... nuff said, probably.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 01-21-2010 at 01:01 PM.
01-21-2010, 02:20 PM   #15
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Nikon called it ADR (Aperture Direct Readout) window
I like that term better
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