I am going through my collection which is split over various locations in our house. So far I’ve found around 60!
1891 Falling Plate Camera
The maker of this camera is unknown. Falling plate cameras were popular in the late 19th Century; they provided an opportunity to take several images without reloading. It took x quarter plates in special metal holders. When a picture was taken a lever on the top caused the exposed plate to fall to the bottom, and a strong spring loaded the next unexposed plate into position. Often wrongly attributed to Bausch & Lomb , this well known optical company (still trading, principally as manufacturers of ophthalmic lenses) did make the ‘Unicum’ shutter which has 5 speeds from 1/2 second to 1/100th, B & T. This example was fitted with the popular f8 Beck Primus lens. The diaphragm stopped down to f45. The focal length was probably 6″ or 150mm. R & J Beck was a renowned British optical company based in London.
Unknown Plate Camera
1903 Lancaster Royal Instantograph 1/4 Plate Field CameraThis camera belonged to the late father of my piano teacher when I was a child (c.1960) and she gave it to me to start my collection together with a collection of plates taken in old Heswall. My parents insisted I gave the plates back, so I don’t know what happened to them. It included a front mounted shutter, a lens, and a few plate holders. At the time this was made, J. Lancaster & Son of Birmingham were the largest camera manufacturers in the world! I had some trouble identifying this camera so I contacted David Purcell of Red Bellows (redbellows.co.uk). I quote his helpful reponse “I believe your camera is likely to be a Royal Instantograph field camera, introduced in about 1903 or thereabouts, and a little later than I had anticipated given the style of the bellows that it employs that are square section, common before this time but generally being replaced with chamfered corners that were less prone to developing pin holes. It is fairly unusual to see a camera of this field format in ¼ plate size. Most are ½ plate”. The plate on the body just records the maker’s name. Generally Lancaster cameras would carry a second with the camera name as well, but not in this case.
1900 (approx) Thornton Pickard Shutter
This shutter fits the Lancaster camera, above.
It is cocked by pulling the cord and is released by a bulb (now missing). The plate on the bottom shows it was supplied by Fred V. A. Lloyd. Fred Lloyd was a camera retailer in South John Street, Liverpool, established in 1891. According to the National Museum of American History who hold a trade catalogue for Fred V.A. Lloyd they supplied “”Photo & Lantern Depot” ; photographic equipment ; lenses ; shutters ; cameras ; “Instantograph” patent camera ; “Le Merveilleux” patent camera ; “Lancaster’s Stereoscopic Cameras” ; hand cameras ; draining racks ; paper ; mounts ; developers ; chemicals ; other photographic supplies”.
1901 KODAK No.2 Box Brownie.
The Box Brownie was invented by Frank A. Brownell in 1900. According to Wikipedia “The name come the the brownies (spirits in folklore) in Palmer Cox cartoons”. It took 2¼” square film.
The No.2 was an improved version which came out in 1901. It cost $2 and many thousands were produced. Brownie Box cameras were finally discontinued in 1935.
This “Ferrotype” or “while-you-wait” camera was made by Moore & Co. in Dale Street, Liverpool. They ceased trading as late as 1982.
According to Early Photography “This is probably the most popular of the ferrotype cameras. It produced quite large photographs similar in size to the earlier carte de visite. It would have been used at fairgrounds and the like. The plates are loaded into the base of the camera in a box. The plate is lifted into the focal plane by bringing down on to the plate an arm with a suction pad, a rubber bulb works the suction. After exposure the plate drops down into the developer/fixer solution.”
1910 Kodak Eastman Brownie Automatic with red bellows camera. No 2 Pocket Folding
Again, quoting brownie-camera.com “Imitation leather covered wood body; reversible reflecting finder; sliding focusing with automatic lock; sliding back released by concealed buttons from serial number 1”.
From August 1911 the attractive red bellows were dropped, black being used instead. It was discontinued in 1915.
1914 ERNEMANN Bob O.
The Ernemann Bob range was produced from 1914 until 1926 and came in a range of models and formats. This example takes 8 x 10.5 film and has a 125mm f6.8 Detektiv lens. The shutter has speeds from 1 sec to 1/100th. A removeable ground glass is fitted but the original light-tight back is missing. Focusing is by sliding bed, without gears and the front shifts both horizontally & vertically.
Erneman, founded by Heinrich Ernemann in 1899, produced cameras and movie projectors in Dresden and Görlitz. In 1926 Ernemann, together with three other companies (Contessa-Nettel, Goerz, and Ica) all merged together with financial backing from the Carl Zeiss Foundation, to form Zeiss-Ikon.
1915 Kodak Autographic VPK 1
The VPK (Vest Pocket Autographic Kodak) was the version advertised in the U.S.A. as the “Soldier’s camera” during World War I. It was very successful, selling 1,750,000 units. It was of the compact strut folding type and had the meniscus lens or a U.S.-speed 8 Rapid Rectilinear lens.
The camera back had an area through which notes could be written onto the paper backing of the 127 film, the “autographic” feature – invented by Henry J. Gaisman (see 1920 Kodak No.2A Autographic Folding Brownie above).
The original box must increase its value!
1915 Kodak VPK
This the second VPK in my collection, it has the original leather case. It does not have the “Autographic” back.
1915 Kodak Autographic VPK 2
This the third VPK in my collection.
To see a YouTube video on these cameras Called “WW1 Battlefield Camera” click here.
I may keep the best of these, and sell the rest, although as many millions were made, a lot have survived, so they are not worth very much.
1920 Kodak No.2A Autographic Folding Brownie
This camera took 116 roll film, and had the Kodak patented autographic feature (see inset picture). Special autographic film had to be used (No.A-UG) and this had a special layer between the emulsion and the backing paper. Writing on this with a metal stylus through a special lidded aperture in the back produced an image that was reproduced in the margin of the processed photograph. This was invented by a Henry Jacques Gaisman, Kodak paid him $300,000, a lot of money in those days! As this was a flop in terms of sales it was dropped in 1932.
The lens was a Kodar f=7.8/122mm and the shutter had 2 speeds, T & B. The camera was made from 1915 to 1926 in both Canada and the U.S.A. (this example was made at the Kodak factory in Rochester).
1929 J-B Ensign Box Camera
According to Red Bellows: “The Junior Box Ensign camera was sold by Houghton-Butcher as part of its range in the early 1930s. It is the first camera listed in an Ensign catalogue for 1932 and is described as a “reliable camera of simple design”, and was sold for a very modest price, which was about a third of the cost of the cheapest folding camera in the same catalogue (the Ensign Pocket “Twenty”). The 1932 catalogue also lists a portrait attachment, a case and a tripod attachment as available accessories”.
1929 No1a Pocket Kodak
According to Historic Camera “The No. 1A Pocket Kodak was manufactured from 1926 to 1932. This camera took twelve exposures, 2 1/2 x 4 1/4 inch size, on no. A 116 film without reloading. There were various lenses available for this camera including :-Meniscus Achromatic lens and Kodex shutter, speeds 1/25 to 1/50 second ($11.00)-Kodar f7.9 lens and Kodex shutter, speeds 1/25 to 1/50 second ($14.00)-Kodak Anastigmat f6.3 lens and a Kodak Diomatic shutter, speeds up to 1/100 second ($19.00)Constructed with a strong aluminum body and covered with a durable material. The metal parts were finished in nickel or black enamel. Features included a black bellows, autographic feature, worm screw focusing device, focusing scale, reversible brilliant finder, and two tripod sockets.”
1930 Vest Pocket Kodak Model B
This was a primitive folding bed camera for making 4×6.5cm exposures on 127 film. It was also marketed as Boy Scout Kodak and Girl Scout Kodak with new front plate designs by Walter Dorwin Teague. A coloured version was branded Kodak Petite. Its lens was a doublet in a rotary shutter, or a Kodak Periscopic lens in a Kodak shutter. The lens typically had four apertures, set by a thumb-wheel on the side of the shutter block, and numbered 1-4.
The Model B had to be loaded through the front side, after removing the whole bed and bellows unit. It was produced from 1925 to 1934. It had the “autographic” feature.
1930 Voigtlander Avus 6.5 x 9
This camera has a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar f=4.5/12cm lens and takes Rada rollfilm cassettes of which quite a few came with the camera (see below). The lens number (1181176) dates this to 1930. The shutter runs from 1 second to 1/250th, B & T. According to Historic Camera “Advertised as a quality camera priced below the deluxe models. It was constructed of light aluminum, covered in black morocco leather and included a black leather bellows. The metal parts were black enameled or nickel plated. The Avus featured a double extension bellows with rack and pinion movement and infinity catch. Designed with an aluminum U shaped front for rigidity, including movements of a rising, falling and cross swing via and pinion. A revolving brilliant view finder is included with a spirit level attached.
RADA Rollfilm back.
According to Camera-Wiki “Rada made rollfilm holders (film backs) fitted with a dark slide, designed as adapters to use 120/620 rollfilm usually with 9×12 or 6.5×9 plate cameras, resulting in a 6×9 image (or smaller with mask inserts for 6×6 and 6×4.5 formats). Some versions had automatic counters for one target format, or a single red window. The most common multi-format holders use dual red windows and insertable format masks (the latter frequently missing from holders bought used). The left window is for use with the 6×6 mask; the right window for 6×9, counting only the odd numbers on the film’s paper backing, or all numbers with the 6×4.5 mask. Manufactured in the 1920s to 1960s (perhaps into the 1970s) by the German manufacturer Rada, a Plaubel subsidiary”.
Currently one is on ebay for $500!!
1933 Kershaw Soho Pilot
According to Art Deco Cameras “The Soho Pilot Camera was manufactured by the Kershaw Manufacturing Co. and was sold through Soho Ltd. It was capable of capturing eight 2¼ x 3¼ inch (6×9 cm) sized images on standard 120 film. It was constructed of black Bakelite with black bellows. It was designed with art deco styling including a octagonal face and a basket weave pattern impressed on the body. The most charming aspect of this camera is the sunburst motif on the rear, surrounding the red window.”
1934 Kodak Six-16
This camera belonged to my grandfather who lived in or near Laval in France until he prematurely died in 1960. He bought it before the war, and used it until his death.
Its Art Deco design touch is a distinguishing feature. It uses a 126mm f/6/3 Kodak Anastigmat lens. It uses the No. 1 Diodak shutter, which fires at 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, and 1/100 sec, plus T and B. It sport two viewfinders. The first is a small “brilliant” type attached to the lens assembly that swivels to frame portrait and landscape photos. The second is a gunsight type attached to the camera body.
1937 ZEISS IKON Folding Camera Nettar 515/2
This has a Carl Zeiss Jena f4.5/10.5cm Tessar in a Compur leaf shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/250th and B.
The Nettar series by Zeiss Ikon was a successful range of self-erecting folding cameras for 120 roll film. Zeiss Ikon always advertised the Nettar series as being for the amateur photographer, however these cameras share many parts with the much more expensive Ikonta series so the build quality is excellent. On this example the lens mounted viewfinder is missing.
1937 ZEISS IKON Nettar 515/15
This is a simplified version of the 515/2 above. It has a f4.5/7.5cm Nettar Anastigmat and a KLIO leaf shutter with speeds from 1 second to 1/175th, B & T.
The quality is as the 515/2 (described above).
1938 Jiffy Kodak V.P. (Vest Pocket)
This camera was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, and took the then ubiquitous 127 roll film. The lens is a two element fixed focus and has 2 apertures, ‘large’ and ‘small’ controlled by a slider maked “D”, with no indication as to which is which! Another smaller slider marked “B” controls the 2 shutter ‘speeds’, Instantaneous and Time. Portrait attachments were available for images were the subject was 3½ feet away.
Kodak Brownie Junior Six-20 (Portrait Model)
According to brownie-camera.com “This camera has a grained leatherette card body and two reflecting finders. The body comes apart with a split design. It features a portrait lens that slides in and out. It has a time exposure setting along with the normal shutter setting.
This camera came with either a long side latch or a short side latch. Both were produced during the run of the camera. I’m not sure why however I can guess they used the latch that was available at the time.
This camera was also produced in Argentina in 1940 to celebrate 25 years of Kodak Argentina Ltda. Each Argentine camera had it’s own serial number, which is not common for Brownies”.
1950s Wray Supar 4¼” f4.5 Lens
Wray Supar 4 1/4 F4.5 Lens. Wray (Optical Works) Ltd. was a British camera and lens manufacturer based in Ashgrove Road Bromley, Kent. The company had a reputation for producing excellent quality lenses and durable quality cameras including models such as the Wrayflex. Many Wray lenses remain in use, especially in photographic enlargers. The Supar first appeared around 1933. It was a cheap general purpose anastigmat for camera and enlarger use.
1950 Coronet Super-Flash
Coronet Box Cameras are medium format 120 film cameras made by Coronet (F W Pettifer) in Birmingham, England. There are several other Coronet Box models also made by Tiranty in France. This means that the same camera model could be found either British made or French made. All of the Coronet box camera models are in medium format, 6x9cm frame with roll 120 film. They have a simple one speed spring rotary shutter. These box cameras are offered with various meniscus type lenses.
1950 Agiflex II
The Agiflex was an early British postwar 6×6 SLR, made by Agilux. It was derived from the British WWII military aerial camera ARL that was in turn derived from the German Reflex Korelle. The camera’s focal plane shutter has speeds from 2 sec. to 1/500 sec. and flash synchronization. The finder is a big waist level reflex finder, with hinged magnifier and eye level setting. It has a lens mount for interchangeable lenses.
An advert for the Agiflex II from the BJ appears below:
1950 ENSIGN Selfix 16-20 (Model 2)
According to Camera-Wiki “The Ensign Selfix 16-20 is a folding camera made by Ensign. It uses 120 film or 620 film and can take sixteen 6×4.5cm frames per roll. There are two distinct body styles of the camera. The second body is easily distinguished from the first by the albada viewfinder and depth of focus scale on the other side of the top plate from the winding knob. The second version also has double exposure prevention. Both versions have a 75mm f/3.5 Ross Xpres lens in an Epsilon shutter, and an additional tripod socket for landscape format on the front with a screw cover insert. The Albada version has a curious shutter release button, containing a sharp spike, which pricks the finger if the button is pressed without first setting the shutter!”
1953 Kodak Retina IIa
This camera was purchased by my Dad when he was away on business in West Africa for the princely sum of £30.10s.10d in January 1954. It is still in very good condition even though it was used until the 1970s. It has a superb Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon f:2/50mm lens and a Compur shutter with speeds from 1 to 500th sec & B. He also had a separate rangefinder and close up lense set, as well as a Gossen Kodalux exposure meter which was unfortunately stolen when his house was broken into in the 1990s (together with his beloved Minolta SRT101).
Retina cameras were made by Nagel in Germany, which was bought by Kodak in 1931, hence the high quality!
On the right is the original handbook & on the far right the original receipt!
1952 MPP Microcord
The Microcord is a knob-wound 6×6 TLR made by Micro Precision Products, manufactured from 1951 to 1958. This Microcord Mk I was manufactured in 1951 but its release was held back for the British Industries Fair of 1952. Its design was based on that of the Rolleicord; A J Dell, then in charge of photographic products for MPP (and later the company head) had acquired a Rolleicord and taken it to pieces in order to learn from and improve upon it. The camera has a pair of 77.5mm f/3.5 Ross Xpres lenses, made by Ross to MPP’s design and assembled and collimated by MPP. The taking lens has four elements, the viewing lens three. The Microcord has an eight-speed Epsilon shutter, complete with a “T” setting.
1953 Ensign Ranger Special
Ensign Ranger is a series of 120 film vertical folding cameras made by Houghtons in England. The Ranger has a similar body to the contemporary Selfix 8/20, but with a cheaper lens and shutter. The body has a folding frame finder. The top plate carries the film advance knob, and a similar knob on the feed spool and the finder; the shutter release is a small button set radially on the edge of the shutter block. The knobs lift to release the film spools.The 1953 Ensign Ranger Special had a chromed top-plate and a Rosstar or Ensar f/4.5 lens in an Epsilon four-speed shutter, costing £13-18s-3d. The Special had an albada optical folding finder, and provision for 6×6 as well as 6x9cm frames.
1954 Reid III Type 2
Although a close copy of the Leica IIIb the Reid camera was designed in-house in Imperial measurements and to much tighter specifications than Leica used. The camera was unquestionably the finest made British camera in terms of the quality of its engineering, reliability and body finish but its origins as a copy meant that the design was neither new nor original in any respect except for the front mounted dual flash sync sockets fitted as standard on many cameras.The Reid camera in modern times, due to its precision engineering and build quality, has progressively moved to a top ranking in the eyes of collectors and now regularly fetches into four figures with its superbTaylor Hobson 2″/f2 lens. I bought mine in the early 1980s for £100 and sold it in 2003 for £800 to finance the purchase of a Canon EOS 300D!
1956 Kodak Retinette
This is type 022 made between 1954 and 1958, and has an unnumbered Schneider Reomar 1:3.5/45mm lens and a Compur-Rapid shutter with red on black EV scale.
The Kodak Retinette is a series of 35mm viewfinder cameras made in Germany by Kodak AG. They were a budget version of the Retina series, without rangefinders.
1956 Ensign Autorange 820
The legendary British Ensign Autorange 820 was made from late 1955 until the company folded around 1960, and was their top-of-the-range 6 X 9 120 folding camera. It had the same fine F3.8 4-element Ross Xpres lens and Epsilon 9-speed leaf shutter as the Selfix 820, but had a coupled rangefinder thrown in. The 1956 BJP Almanac says it cost just under £53, so not many were sold when the Selfix 820 cost about half that. The resulting scarcity of the Autorange 820 in today’s collecting market means a really nice one could fetch upwards of a thousand pounds. In 2011, one sold on Ebay complete with ERC, for – believe it or not – £2,284!!
To see an excellent video on this ‘legendary’ camera by ‘Big Gee’ on YouTube click here.
After I sold my Reid (above) I hankered after a lower cost replacement. There were many Japanese Leica copies made after the last War (Nikon, Canon, Nicca, Leotax, Minolta etc.), and of these the Leotax F is one of the best, and examples can still be purchased for a fraction of the cost of a Leica or Reid.
The Showa Optical Works was started in 1938 by Nakagawa Kenzō, a former engineer of K.K. Konishiroku (later Konica). It was later renamed Leotax Camera Co. in 1957. Based on the Leica III, the Leotax -F as introduced in June 1954 and was the first Leotax to have flash sychronization, X or F being selected by the lever on the front. The shutter had fast speeds of 1/25th to 1/1000th and B, and slow speeds of 1 to 1/25th and T.
This example is fitted with a Leitz Elmar 50mm f=3.5 lens, which has just been serviced by Newton Ellis & Co. of Liverpool. The lens number (544380) dates this to 1940 so it was made during the War. According to Ken Rockwell “This LEICA ELMAR 50mm f/3.5 is the lens that started 35mm photography. Even uncoated, it gives sharp, colorful, contrasty images. Shooting this made-in-1934 sample makes me wonder why so many people worry so much about their lenses. It works fine today. Better than the newest lenses, it weighs only half as much as a SUMMICRON, and far better than any SUMMILUX, has no distortion or finder blockage. Better than any current 50mm lens, it collapses almost completely into the camera and pokes out less than 10mm (0.37mm)!”
1958 Agilux Agimatic
The first Agimatic was introduced in 1958. It was an unconventional 35mm camera with a “round the lens” film advance system similar to the German Werra. Only this went a step further – the lever not only wound the film on, but also cocked the shutter as well. There was also lever-operated rewind, without the need for a rewind release. It was a well constructed little camera that not only had an uncoupled rangefinder, but also a built in extinction meter and an interchangeable lens, and and a slider for masking the viewfinder for the longer 85mm lens. The lens mount is operated by a lever; instead of turning the lens to unlock, the lever rotates the mount and the lens stays still. In the UK, it was very competitively priced compared to similar German models because it did not have the burden of import duty.
1960 Periflex 3a
In 1959 the Corfield factory moved to Northern Ireland and not long after an updated version of the Periflex 3, the Periflex 3a, was introduced. The Periflex was made by the Corfield brothers Kenneth and John (K. G. Corfield Ltd) originally in Wolverhampton. It was unusual in that focusing was done by a Periscope that sat in the film plane and when the shutter was pressed it was quickly raised up. The shutter was focal plane and lenses were mounted using the, at the time, ubiquitous Leica screw mount. Lenses were Lumar (made by the British Optical Lens Company in Birmingham). The first Periflex (the Periflex 1) was introduced in 1953.
1961 Canon 7 Body
A huge marketing success with over 100,000 produced, the Canon 7 represents a real bargain in today’s used rangefinder market. The 7 is a far better user than ANY of the other Canon RFs other than the 7s, and a far better user than ANY of the Leica Screw mount bodies. Of all the hundreds of thousands of Leica screw mount cameras (Leica or Leica copies), the Canon 7/7s/7sZ are the most advanced of all. In many ways, they amount to the Leica M4 of Screw mount cameras. Apart from the Leica screw thread this Canon also has an outer bayonet for the super fast Canon 50mm/f0.95 and the Canon Mirror Housing 2. Unfortunately I don’t have this lens, which now can cost a couple of thousand pounds!
1965 Fuji Single8 P1
The Fujica Single-8 P1 camera uses Fuji proprietary Super 8 film cassettes. Has a Fujinon F:11.5mm f/1.8 lens; direct vision optical finder with exposure indication; auto exposure electric motor drive; and a pistol grip. The P1 was one of the first Single 8 cameras, and compared to other Single 8s it was relatively cheap and simple to use. It was intended for amateur use, and cost around £34 in 1967. Single 8 is a motion picture film format introduced by Fujifilm in 1965 as an alternative to the Kodak Super 8 format. This camera is from my wife’s family
1960 Quarz M Cine Camera
This cine camera was made by KMZ (the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Factory) located in Moscow. It was one of the largest camera factories in Russia. According to the Science Museum Group “Cine camera for standard 8mm cine film in 25 foot loading reels. Fitted with a coated lens F: 12.5mm, f/1.9-16, model Jupiter 24. Clockwork motor drive, variable speeds 12, 16, 24 and 48 fps. Single frame, continuous run and lock setting wheel. Hand rewind handle. Pistol grip with provision for storing two filters. Photocell with needle visible in viewfinder. At 16fps lens can be set by aligning with two smaller frames (for telephoto attachments). Supplied with 2 and 4x neutral density filters for lens and photocell. TC-6 and BC-7 filters for colour. With three close up lenses 0.8, 1.7, 2.75. Metal lens cap”. This example has all of the above, including the original carrying case.
1967 Miranda Fm
Mirandas were solidly-built SLRs, popular between the 1950s and 1970s with amateurs and even a few professionals. I bought this example new in 1967 based on a glowing review by Victor Blackman in the AP. Interchangeable viewfinders made them quite versatile, but the proprietary lens mount limited the range of available lenses, all of which were made by other manufacturers. The lens mount was double, incorporating separate bayonet and screw mount fittings. The inner, threaded part was used with heavy lenses and legacy lenses with pre-set diaphragms. I used this camera for many years (including my Paris pictures), eventually replacing it with a Pentax MX.
1968 Kodak Instamatic 233
Made in Harrow this camera had a Reomar lens/shutter. It was a simple snapshot camera for 126 cartridge loading film, with a flashcube socket and two-speed shutter – 1/40sec and 1/80sec, set by weather symbols on the lens barrel.
126 film is a cartridge-based film format used in still photography with a size of 28mm square. It was introduced by Kodak in 1963, and is associated mainly with low-end point-and-shoot cameras, although a few high-end models were made by Minolta, Rollei, Yashica and Zeiss Ikon.
A flashcube was a module with four expendable flashbulbs, each mounted at 90° from the others in its own reflector. For use it was mounted atop the camera with an electrical connection to the shutter release and a battery inside the camera. After each flash exposure, the film advance mechanism also rotated the flashcube 90° to a fresh bulb. This arrangement allowed the user to take four images in rapid succession before inserting a new flashcube.
1969 Konica Autoreflex T
The Autoreflex T is the camera that planted Konica firmly on the SLR map. Solid, dependable, refined, with full manual or EE auto exposure. Legendary Hexanon lens. They had several previous designs but the Autoreflex T was their big hit and can still be found in usage today. Following the T was a similar model commonly known as the T2 but simply marked T, which was actually a slightly upgraded version of the T. It is noted by its on-off switch on the top instead of the back of the top cover (and a few other minor changes). The later T3 had a hot shoe and a host of further refinements that make it somewhat more well-rounded.
1970s Boots Mini-Grip
A compact 110 film camera with hinged cover which doubles up as a steadying handle. The case of the camera is moulded in component parts and assembled. Manufactured for Boots and made in Macau probably in the 1970s. 110 is a cartridge-based film format used in still photography. It was introduced by Kodak in 1972. It is essentially a miniaturised version of Kodak’s earlier 126 film format. Each frame is 13 mm × 17 mm, with one registration hole. There were 24 frames per cartridge that occasionally enabled the user to capture an extra image due to production variations.
1971 Pentax ES
This 1971 Pentax ES (Electronic Shutter) is a descendant of a long line of Pentax Spotmatics, the ES being one of the last of this breed. Beautiful in its deep black finish, it retained the classic Spotmatic look and feel while adding new features such as aperture priority exposure and a step-less, electronically controlled shutter. The mount, however, is classic M42 screw mount. While the electronic shutter allowed shutter speeds from 1/1000 to 1 sec, as well as in-between speeds, this camera, like its classic predecessors, has mechanical shutters speeds, 1/1000 to 1/60, B as well. With batteries removed this camera can still take pictures!
1973 Minolta SR-T 303
The SR-T303 is an evolution of the legendary 1966 SR-T101. Changes include a re-designed and more modern body, an improved film advance lever and the ISO/DIN conversion table is moved to the back of the camera. The later SR-T303b has the addition of a film reminder. Inside the viewfinder has seen two evolutions: first, the viewfinder now displays both the shutter speedand the f-stop number, and a split-image rangefinder was added to the centre of the microprism focusing area. The viewfinder of the SR-T303 shows the f-stop number on the top of the finder, the speeds on the bottom, and the two light meter needles are on the right side. Minolta made their own lenses and their quality was legendary! This camera was refurbished for me by Newton Ellis of Liverpool to take modern batteries. A similar camera to this was used by the legendary W Eugene Smith. To see a YouTube video on this camera click here.
1975 Polaroid 455
The Polaroid 455 Land Camera was produced between 1975 and 1976. It had a flip-up rangefinder reputedly made by Zeiss Ikon. Shutter speeds were automatic but allegedly from 10 seconds to 1/1200th. There was exposure compensation by a Darken/Lighten control on the front.
Polaroids are enjoying a resurgence at the moment, no doubt helped by the availability of film again!
1978 Mamiya NC1000s
Released in 1978, the Mamiya NC1000 was a dramatic departure from the Mamiya SLR’s before it. It weighs only 16 oz. (compared to 26, 25 and 24 oz. for the DTL, XTL and MSX/DSX, respectively) and was considered remarkably easy to handle. It had an electronic focal-plane shutter, with speeds from 1 to 1/1000 sec. and a hot shoe mount with 1/60 sec. sync. The meter was a center-weighted CdS cell powered by two MS76 batteries, with the indicator and microprism split-image visible in the finder. Shutter-priority AE could also be set manually.
1980 Kodak EK160
Kodak used to make instant film for Polaroid. When Polaroid started to make their own film, Kodak decided to launch their own range of instant cameras. This example (sold in the USA as the Colorburst 50) uses two mirrors to reduce the overall depth of the body and has an electronic shutter for it’s fixed focus lens. The lens was a 100mm f12.8, shutter was 2 to 1/300sec, film was PR10 (PR144) and the picture size was 67 x 91mm.
1980 Sankyo EM30-XL
Features of this camera include a super-fast maximum aperture of f/1.2, a 3x zoom range, Auto and Manual exposure control, a power zoom function as well as full-manual, a variable frame rate as well as single frame and more. An exceptionally nice Super-8mm movie camera, highly rated for build and lens quality.
1983 CANON SureShot AF35M II
The original Sure-Shot was the world’s first Lens-Shutter 35mm autofocus camera at the time (1979). It used a triangulation system with a near-infrared emitting diode.
This third in Canon’s Sure-Shot series, released in 1983, known as the AF35M II was very similar to the original Sure-Shot but with a better 38mm f 2.8 lens, and can be identified by the sloped edge near the shutter release button. It also had a built in flash. It originally belonged to my mother, who passed it on to me when she got a Canon SLR.
1980 Lomo LC-A
The LOMO LC-A (Lomo Kompakt – Automat) is a fixed lens, 35 mm film, leaf shutter, zone focus, compact camera introduced in 1984 and manufactured in St. Petersburg by Leningrad Optics & Mechanics Association (LOMO). The design is based on the Cosina CX-2. Some LC-As were sold badged as Zenith, this label was only a sticker underneath the lens. Production in Russia ceased in 2005, being transferred to China (the LC-A+). Thanks to Rob Tarrant for giving me this camera. LOMOs have a strong following (there is a thriving Lomographic Society International!)
1984 Nikon FM2
The Nikon FM2 is an advanced semi-professional, interchangeable lens, 35 mm film, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. The FM2 used an advanced Nikon-design, metal-bladed, bearing-mounted, vertical-travel focal plane shutter with a (then unheard-of) speed range of 1 to 1/4000th second plus Bulb, plus a fast flash X-sync of 1/200th second. The FM2 is a member of the classic Nikon compact F-series SLRs and was built using the same material – copper-aluminium-silicon (copper-silumin) alloy – as the earlier Nikon FM (introduced in 1977) and FE (1978) cameras. The improved titanium-bladed shutter from the Nikon FE2 was adapted to the FM2n in 1984 and X-sync increased to 1/250th second. The FM2 was used by Steve McCurry to take his iconic portrait of Sharbat Gula for the National Geographic.
1985 Konica FT-1 Motor
The FT-1 was actually a slightly improved version of the FS-1, which is a landmark camera as it was the first commercially available SLR with a built-in motor wind. This might not seem like a big deal but in an era when add-on winders were large, loud and heavy it was a quiet revolution … literally. The FS-1 did have a bit of a reputation for unreliable electronics. This issue was addressed by the FT-1 as well as a couple of small improvements which made the FT-1 a better machine. This example is fitted with a 200mm lens.
1990s Polaroid 600AF
The 600AF (autofocus) Camera has an advanced digital exposure system that produces clear, sharp photos and simple, high-quality imaging. It has a 3-zone, infrared focusing system [4 feet (1.2 m) to infinity], automatic flash, and a no “red-eye” option. The camera’s contemporary design is deep blue with grey accents and has an adjustable hand strap for comfortable handling.
1993 Canon EOS500
The Canon EOS 500 (EOS Kiss in Japan, EOS Rebel XS in North America) is a consumer-level 35 film single-lens reflex camera, produced by Canon of Japan from September 1993 until 1996 as part of their EOS system. It replaced the earlier EOS 1000FN and sat in the lower portion of the EOS range, it was superseded by the EOS 500N.This camera belonged to my late mother who used the images as a basis for many of her paintings (she was a successful artist who exhibited widely in the North West).
2000 Nikon F100 body
The Nikon F100 is a 35mm film-based single-lens reflex camera body, often thought of as a scaled-down version of the Nikon F5, and as a precursor to the Nikon F6. The F100 was discontinued, along with most other Nikon film cameras, in 2006. The F100’s metering system is a development of Nikon’s matrix metering technology introduced in 1983 on the Nikon FA. The meter in the F100 uses a 10 segment light sensor and uses distance information from Nikon D-type and G-type lenses for more accurate exposure calculations when using direct flash. In addition to matrix metering, the F100 also offers standard center-weighted and spot metering modes. Also incorporated into the camera is Nikon’s Dynamic Autofocus system and a 4.5 frame per second motor drive with automatic rewind. The F100 also provides many features which are common among high-end 35mm SLR cameras, such as automatic bracketing modes, DX film speed sensing, and other custom functions.
2000 Canon EOS300
The Canon EOS 300 is a consumer-level 35mm single-lens reflex camera, produced by Canon of Japan from April 1999 until September 2002. Designed under the supervision of Yasuhiro Morishita, the camera was intended as a replacement for the Canon EOS 500N. The Canon EOS 300 won the European Imaging and Sound Association Award 1999-2000. Like other low-priced SLRs of the time, the EOS 300 used a pentamirror viewfinder instead of a pentaprism, and had a polycarbonate body. The autofocus capabilities of this camera were identical to Canon’s much more expensive Elan 7 with six single-line CMOS sensors surrounding a central cross-type sensor. This camera also belonged to my mother who refused to change lenses, instead carrying around two cameras with different lenses!
2001 Fuji Finepix 6900z
My first digital camera, it took all the images for my LRPS panel. Amazing quality from what is in effect a 3.3 million-sensor Super CCD that generates image files of up to six million pixels. The camera has manual focus and shutter controls, six shooting modes and 13 f-stop aperture control settings. The FinePix 6900 Zoom features a large-diameter, 6X Super EBC Fujinon aspherical zoom lens (f/2.8 – f/11) with a focal length equivalent to 35-210mm on a 35mm camera. Shutter speeds range from 3 to 1/2000 sec., and the camera offers an adjustable ISO sensitivity of 100/200/400. Other features include a built-in, miniature electronic through-the-lens viewfinder, a 2 inch LCD playback monitor and built in pop-up flash or hot shoe mount for flash systems.
2007 Fuji Finepix F30
I bought this camera from ebay in early 2008, as it was pocketable, and was highly praised for its image quality. According to Trusted Reviews “Fujifilm has always made a big thing of pursuing picture quality through image processing rather than joining the megapixel arms race that most of the other manufacturers are engaged in. At a time when most of its rivals are pushing their latest 10.1MP compact cameras, the F30 has a maximum resolution of just 6.3 megapixels.” It goes up to 3200 ISO and has a 1/1.7 inch (7.6mm x 5.7mm) sensor. The shutter goes from 15 secs to 1/2000 and the lens has a 36 to 108mm equivalent f2.8 Fujinon lens. Again, according to Trusted Reviews “it quickly built itself a near-legendary reputation for its class-leading low-light capabilities and high-ISO image quality.”
2009 Nikon D700
This was my Dad’s last camera, and I inherited it on his recent death. I borrowed it to take pictures in the TI Automotive factory where I was asked to take photographs on the shop floor, where for photography the light was very poor. Personally I found it very heavy, and the pictures I took were quite noisy. However it is built like a tank, and the Nikkor lenses are superb (in the picture it has the 100mm Macro lens).
I quote, again from Ken Rockwell “The Nikon D700 (at its introduction in 2008) was Nikon’s, and the world’s, best serious digital camera. The old professional D3 costs more and runs faster for sports, but the D700 is newer, smarter, smaller and lighter”.