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|Agfa Clack (Large) inexpensive German consumer camera using 120 roll film with a 6x9cm frame. Produced between 1954 and 1965 by Agfa Camera-Werk AG in Munich. Mine appears to be a later version according to the discussion in Matt Denton Photo. It has two aperture settings - a smaller hublot replica opening for "sunny" and a larger opening for "cloudy." It has a third setting for close-ups of 1-3 meters or 3 to 10 feet. It seems to be the same aperture as the "cloudy." The apertures and the close focus are done by a simple turret. According to Alfred's Camera Page the close focus is done by a supplemental positive lens. Single shutter speed of 1/35 second according to Matt Denton Photo along with a B setting. That site also says the "sunny" setting is f16 and the "cloudy" setting is f11. Matt Denton Photo indicates that despite being a very simple, inexpensive camera, it is capable of producing quite clear photos due to its large image size, small aperture and curved film plane which compensates for the simple lens. Since the shutter speed is so low, it is important to hold the camera still. Surprisingly for an inexpensive camera, it has a tripod mount and a remote shutter release socket. Since it takes 120 roll film, it can also easily be used today. Mine was purchased as part of a collection of 35+ vintage consumer cameras for about $200 from an ad on Craigslist on 6-27-08 in Oceanside, CA. It is in very good cosmetic and working condition. It needs an empty film spool.|
|No. 1 Ansco Junior De luxe (Larger Image, Closed.) (Circa 1926) The film plate inside of my Ansco No. 1 Junior Deluxe states: "Made in U.S.A. by ANSCO Photoproducts, Inc., Binghamton, N.Y., Patented Sept. 20, 1910, Sept. 24, 1912. Others Pending, 80285." I assume the 80285 is the serial number. After considerable searching on the Internet, I finally found a reference to the exact model by searching "Ansco Photoproducts." Piercevaubel.com has an Ansco catalog referring to lower prices being effective as of July 1, 1926. On page 18 they have the "No. 1 Ansco Junior De luxe" that looks like mine. The only difference is that mine does not have the lever that comes down so you can set the camera opened on a flat surface in the vertical position. The description also says the leather is a rich blue, but mine looks black. The No. 1 Ansco Junior is similar except it does not have the brass front and was not in the rich blue leather. Both came with an Anscomatic f7.9 lens and an Ilex Ansco shutter with speeds of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100. B and T. The cost of No. 1 Ansco Junior De luxe was $15 and the cost of the No. 1 Ansco Junior was $13.50. There was also the No. 1 Ansco Folding camera which is like the No. 1 Ansco Junior except it had a faster lens, an Ansco f7.5 Antistigmat, and an Ilex General shutter with additional speeds of 1/10 and 1/5 second. It cost $17.50. While $15 sounds like a cheap price for my camera when new, $15 in 1926 has the same buying power as $192 in 2012. The highest price for a folding camera in the catalog was $60 for the Ansco Super Speedex f4.5. The least expensive folding camera in the catalog was the Vest Pocket Readyset for $7.50. The least expensive box camera was only $2.25. Nowhere does it say Junior on my camera. The model name is on the rail that the bellows folds out onto. It says "No.1 ANSCO DE LUX." The film plate on my camera has a decal that states the camera uses 4A Ansco film, which the catalog says is the same as 120 film. Pretty cool - they still make film for my camera! The camera still has a roll of, I believe, exposed film. It might be interesting to process it! The frame size is 2.25 inches x 3.25 inches (roughly 6cm x 9cm). The company was first named "Ansco Photoproducts" in January 1924. (billsphotohistory.com.) In January 1928 it merged with the German company Agfa to become Agfa-Ansco. (Id..) My camera therefore had to be made sometime between 1924 and 1928 consistent with the 1926 catalog. The aperture and shutter on my camera both work. The 1/25 sounds slower than the 1/100 second speed, but I have no idea if they are accurate. Cosmetically the camera is in good shape for its age. The bellows look good and the leather is in good condition. The leather on the front door comes off in one piece, however, and needs to be glued down. The camera comes with a very short cable shutter release which is not shown in the photo. The front of the lens looks in good shape. The rear of the lens could use some cleaning. The camera could probably take photos today; not bad for over 85 years old. I purchased my camera at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on February 25, 2012 for $10.|
|Ansco Viking 6.3 (Larger Image, Lens and name plate) (Introduced 1952) Folding viewfinder camera using 120 roll film with 6x9cm image size producing nine photos per roll. The name plate on the camera states: "Made for Ansco By Aga Camera Werk Munchen Germany." According Ansco, Wikipedia Ansco, founded in 1842, predated Kodak in the photographic industry. Originally named E. Anthony & Co., it merged with Scovill Manufacturing in 1901 to become Anthony & Scovil Co., later shortened to ANSCO. That year the company relocated to Bingham, New York. ANSCO held the first patent for flexible, transparent roll film, which was developed by Hannibal Goodwin, an Episcopal priest, in 1887 with the patent being granted on September 13, 1898. Goodwin's patent was sold to Ansco. Ansco sued Kodak which had also started using roll film. Kodak eventually settled for $5 million dollars in 1914. The introduction of roll film was a major development in the history of photography. Previously glass or metal plates were used. In 1929 Ansco merged with the German photo company Agfa to become Agfa-Ansco. That company and other German film companies became part of General Analine and Film. With the intervention of World War II, the United States took over Agfa-Ansco's interest in the United States. The company continued in business during World War II. An October 20, 1941 ad in Life Magazine, at pages 26 and 17, reproduced at Google Books, tells how Agfa Ansco films assist the U.S. Navy in the war effort. A November 22, 1943 Ad in Life Magazine at page 18, reproduced in Google Books, states: "Since June, 1940, the armed forces and war industries have been using every foot of Ansco Color Film as fast as we could produce it. That's why you'll have to wait for yours." While black and white film was still available to the public, three quarters of Ansco film went to the war effort. The name in that ad is still Agfa Ansco. Later ads in 1944 refer to it as formerly being Agfa Ansco and refer to the company now as "Ansco, Binghamton, New York. A Division of General Aniline & Film Corporation. (E.g., Life Magazine, July 17, 1944, page 16 in Google Books, Life Magazine, Sept. 25, 1944, page 41, in Google Books, Life, November 20, 1944, page 50, in Google Books. According Ansco, Wikipedia the assets were finally "sold as enemy assets to American interests in the 1960s." It continued under the Ansco name until 1967 when became named GAF for the parent company General Aniline & Film. The business continued until the early 1980s. Id.. A very detailed timeline for the company is at Ansco Chronology. See, also, Ansco - Camerapedia and Ansco Viking 6.3 - Camerapedia. In 1945 when the war was over Agfa reappeared as a separate company and was a major European film and camera manufacturer. (Agfa-Gevaert, Wikipedia. The 1952 manual which came with my camera, however, still states: "Agfa [and the Agfa symbol] are registered trademarks of Ansco Division of General Aniline and Film Corp., of Binghamton, N.Y."||My camera with leather case and instruction manual was purchased at a garage sale near 70th Street in San Diego, California for $10 on September 17, 2011. It appears to be in good working condition. The bellows appears to be excellent. I wondering if it was replaced. The 105mm f6.3 Agfa Agnar Anastigmatic lens appears to be in excellent condition also. According to page 1 of the instruction manual, it is "hard coated for higher light transmission, and color corrected." The Vario shutter has only four speeds - B, 1/25, 1/50, and 1/200. The shutter appears to work fine. You have to cock the shutter before firing. At first, the shutter button was not pushing the lever on the lens/shutter assembly quite far enough. I bent the lever slightly, however, and now it works fine. Focusing is from 3 feet to infinity. There is a focusing ring on the lens barrel. The camera has a simple optical viewfinder with no rangefinder. Focusing must hence be by estimation. There is a separate depth of field scale on the top of the camera by the shutter release button. My focusing ring works but it is stiff. This is common with the focusing rings on many of these cameras not movable due to dried up lubricants. (See, e.g., Can't focus Ansco Viking 6.3 - photo.net.) There is no separate exposure counter. Rather, there is a red window in back of the camera where you can see the exposure number on the film backing. This window can be closed and opened just when needed to avoid fogging the film. Cosmetically my camera is in decent condition except the chrome or nickel plating is heavily corroded. It came with an Ansco bulb flash in its original box. Perhaps an extra flash holder mounting on the bottom is necessary. It looks like it mounts to the side of the camera, but I'm not sure how. Since it takes 120 film, the camera should still be quite useable today. The Ansco Viking 6.3 cost $34.95 in the Fall 1952 - Spring 1953 Sears Camera Catalog. $34.95 in 1952 has the same buying power as almost $300 in 2011. The flash unit was an extra $9.95 and the case was an extra $4.95. There was also a Viking 4.5 with f4.5 lens and Prontor shutter for $48.65. The Ansco Viking 6.3 reappeared in 1955 Sears Camera Catalog at the slightly reduced price of $32.74. It is not present in the 1956 Sears Camera Catalog. The manual is available online at butkus.org. The camera in that manual and in the Sears Camera Catalogs is slightly different than mine. The viewfinder area of mine is more rounded. In the Butkus manual and Sears catalogs it is more angular. Mine also has the depth of field calculator/scale near the shutter button while the cameras in the Butkus manual and Sears catalogs do not.|
|Ansco Viking 4.5 (Larger Image, Lens and name plate) (Introduced 1952) Folding viewfinder camera using 120 roll film with 6x9cm image size producing nine photos per roll. The name plate on the camera states: "Made for Ansco By Aga Camera Werk Munchen US Zone Germany." This refers to the US Zone unlike the Ansco Viking 6.3 above. See the extensive history of Ansco and Agfa in the discussion of the Ansco Viking 6.3 above. My Ansco Viking 4.5 has the more angular lines as in the viewfinder area as in the Fall 1952 - Spring 1953 Sears Camera Catalog compared to the rounded viewfinder area in my Ansco Viking 6.3 above. The lens of my Ansco Viking 4.5 is an Afga Agnar 105mm f4.5, serial no. 958674. It has a Prontor shutter instead of the Vario shutter in the Viking 6.3. Shutter speeds are bulb, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and 1/200. Apertures are f4.5 to f32. I don't see a depth of field scale on this camera. It has a simple optical viewfinder with no rangefinder. Focus is done by estimation. It focuses from less than 3 feet to infinity. Film advance is by twisting a knob until the next exposure number is visible in the red window on the film door. That window can be opened and closed to prevent stray light from hitting the film. The shutter must be cocked with the lever on top of the lens assembly before the shutter can fire can fire. I have the original box. The price in the Fall 1952 - Spring 1953 Sears Camera Catalog was $48.65 which has the same buying power as $421.91 in 2012 dollars. The camera looks in near new condition and seems to work well. I received this camera and several others as a bonus when I purchased a Yashica FR I camera and a Yashica FR II camera and numerous accessories on Craigslist for $50 on June 1, 2012 in the Point Loma area of San Diego from a gentlemen I have purchased several other cameras from. This is a wonderful 60 year old new condition camera which I look forward to trying out with film.|
|Anscoflex (Open) (1953 -1956) Twin lens viewing, 620 film yielding 6x6cm negatives, 2 element taking lens, fixed focus, one aperture of about f11, about 75mm focal length, about 1/60 second single shutter speed. T.W. Oliver Photography states he has been able to squeeze in 120 roll film. That site also indicates the close focus is about 10 feet. "Made in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S.A." The later Anscoflex II added a close up lens and a yellow filter with dials on front according to 1956 Sears Catalog. That catalog priced the Anscoflex II at $18.95 and the Anscoflex at $15.95. The Anscoflex was like many cameras at the time, such as the Argus 75 Reflex and Kodak Duraflex, which had twin lens viewing, but fixed focus and therefore did not offer the true benefit of a twin lens reflex focusing system. The lowest priced true twin lens reflex camera in the 1956 Sears Catalog was the Tower Reflex priced at $35.95. The Anscoflex has a striking modern design. The metal door in front opens up revealing the taking and viewing lenses. That automatically also opens the large, bright viewfinder. The design was by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy, referred to at the official www.raymondloewy.com Website as the father of industrial design. His other credits include the Studebaker Starliner Coup?in 1953, the Greyhound bus in 1954, the Studebaker Avanti in 1961 and the Shell gasoline logo in 1962. Despite its cool looks, it is a very basic box camera and significantly less sophisticated than true twin lens reflex cameras like the Kodak Reflex, Argoflex or Ikoflex. Mine was purchased as part of a collection of 35+ vintage consumer cameras for about $200 from an ad on Craigslist on 6-27-08 in Oceanside, CA. It is in very good cosmetic and working condition. It came with the eveready case. Anscoflex cameras appear to be relatively plentiful and cheap on eBay.|
|Argus Argoflex EM (1948) appears to be an Argoflex EM made only in 1948 comparing it to the picture at Argus Collectors Group - Twin Lens Reflex Cameras. According to that site, the EM takes only 620 film although earlier E models also took 120 film. Rick Oleson shows how to convert an essentially similar Model EF (added flash shoe and flash synchronization) to 120 film. Therefore, I think it can be fairly easily converted to use 120 film which is still available unlike 620 film. (120 film and 620 film are the same size, but the spool size differs.) The EM and EF are metal bodied cameras. It appears that the earlier E cameras were bakelite. The EM and EF (1948-1953) appear to be the last of the true twin lens reflex Argus cameras. The later Argus twin lens reflex cameras were either fixed focus or estimation focus. The viewing lens on the Argoflex EM is an f4.5 Anastigmat. It has a depth of field scale. The taking lens is 75mm f4.5. Shutter speeds from 1/10 to 1/200 plus B and T. Apertures are f4.5, 6.3, 9, 12.7 and 18. In other words, they do not follow the usual f4, 5.6, 8, 11, and 16. You focus by turning the ring on the viewing lens. That cogged ring meshes with the cogged ring on the taking lens. Twin lens viewing and focusing with a magnifer and sports finder. Many complain that the viewfinder is rather dim. Tripod mount and remote shutter release. The manual for what appears to be the EM or EF is at www.butkus.org. Mine was purchased as part of a collection of 35+ vintage consumer cameras for about $200 from an ad on Craigslist on 6-27-08 in Oceanside, CA. My is in very good cosmetic condition. The name label around the taking lens is missing. The lenses look clear. The viewfinder is reasonably clean. The shutter works. A nice entry level true twin lens reflex!|
|Beattie Portronic, (Circa 1956) a heafty camera about a foot tall. It was made in the U.S.A. by Photographic Products Inc., Anaheim, Calif. It has a Wollensak 152mm, f6.3 Raptar lens. Apertures go to f32. It is a view camera focusing on ground glass approximately 2.5" by 3.25". It is also a twin lens reflex camera, however, having a separate focusing unit on top. It appears to have only one shutter speed. It has an elaborate system of electrical connections both outside and inside the camera. I assumed originally these were for some sort of flash system, but I saw one on E-Bay with some sort of attached bulk roll film holder. The electrical system may be involved with the roll film holder. The metal plate on the camera on E-Bay read "Beattie Portronic, Coleman Inc., Anaheim Cal. Model A-162, Type 15130." I assume the camera was made for studio portrait work, perhaps usually using bulk roll film. Mine looks to be in fairly good condition with some slight surface rust. I purchased it at a yard sale in about 2002 for $10. If anyone knows more about Beattie Portronic cameras, please e-mail me.||Update: There was an identical looking "Beattie 70mm long roll camera" for sale on San Diego Craigslist in September 2008 with two 100 foot film magazines. I called. The seller was a professional photographer. He had acquired it used many years ago. He had used it for school photos. The electrical connections drive the bulk film magazine. He also had a "Camerez 35mm long roll camera" for sale with tripod and also two 100 foot film magazines. It was similar in function but with a smaller 35mm format. He wanted around $200 for them which was too high for me since I would just use them for display having no need for bulk film capabilities. He guessed the Beattie was at least 40 years old. I also did a Web search. In Cleveland, Tennessee there is Beattie Camera Systems Sales Service & Repair which acquired the warehouse of Beattie Manufacturing. Beattie Camera System Sales Service & Repair has been in business since 1979. They also sell long roll Camerez cameras. On eBay in September 2008 there was also a Long Roll 2 1/4 Beattie-Coleman Camera for sale. It was more modern looking and purchased in the 1980s apparently for thousands of dollars. It had also been used for school photography. There were also several other ads for Beattie film magazines. There are also Beattie Intenscreens, which are brighter than traditional ground glass screens. This appears to be the same company since the logo is the same as on some of the more modern Beattie cameras.|
|Update April 2, 2017: While researching the Soligor Semi-Auto below, I came across the following in the What's New Section on page 40 of the July 1956 Popular Photography Magazine (scroll forward 2 pages to page 40): "RED LABEL PORTRONIC is the latest model of Beattie Portronic 70-mm automatic cameras. New features are positive interlock to prevent double exposure while release button is depressed; even-exposure control of indentification; film magazines which will accept daylight and darkroom loading spools as well as Portronic magazines. Price depends upon type of shutter and lens desired. Complete information available from Photographic Products Inc, 1000 N. Olive St., Anaheim, California."|
|TKK Beautycord (Large Image) The case, which is falling apart, spells it as two Words - Beauty Cord. This Japanese company's name was Taiyodo Koki also known as TKK. They went bankrupt around 1957 and then apparently reorganized as Beauty Company in 1958. Photo.net - Classic Cameras Forum, Taiyodo Koki (TKK) Japan. The museum has a Canter Beauty Rangefinder camera from 1963. I assume it is a related company. I believe my Beautycord is the Beautycord S model from 1955 as described at Taiyodo Koki (TKK) Japan. Mine has a TKK shutter with speeds of B, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and 1/200 seconds. Apertures are from f3.5 to f22. The lens is a "Tri-Lausar" with an 80mm focal length. There is a ring around the lens assembly to set the shutter speed. You set the shutter cocking lever with your right hand. The shutter release is at the bottom of the lens assembly and can be conveniently released with your left hand. The aperture is set with a lever using your left hand. There is no light meter. My shutter and aperture both work. The lens looks to be scratch and mold free. The lens seems to be coated with a slight blue color. Cosmetically mine is missing the Beautycord emblem at the top front, the triangular emblem on the top of the hood, the leatherette covering on front and the cover over the focusing knob. The camera seems to focus fine although the magnifying lens in the hood does not seem to be as useful as on other twin lens reflex cameras I have used. In general it seems to be a competent twin lens reflex camera but not of the same quality and status as the Minolta Autocord or the Yashica-Mat 124G that I purchased with this camera. I purchased the camera at a garage sale on October 25, 2015 in La Mesa, CA on Dale Avenue. The camera had belonged to the seller's father who had operated a gasoline station on El Cajon Blvd in La Mesa and later became a photographer. The seller was about 3 or 4 years older than me and attended the same elementary school, junior high school and high school that I did. I purchased several cameras including this, a Minolta Autocord, a Yashica-Mat 124G, a Zenit-E 35mm SLR, a Keystone A-7 16mm movie camera, a Nikon 80-200 f4.5 lens, a Tamron 35mm to 80mm f2.8-3.5 lens with adaptall mount for Nikon, and a wood case that fits everything for a total of $77.|
|Ciroflex, twin lens reflex popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Made in United States. I have two. The shutter does not work in one. The viewfinder/mirror in both is very dim. The focusing glass on the working one is broken. I acquired both on eBay. The price in the 1949 Montgomery Ward Photographic Catalog for a Ciroflex with Alphax Flash Shutter was $83.50, equivalent to $768 in 2008 dollars. The price with Rapax Flash Shutter was $113.50, equivalent to $1,044 in 2008 dollars. For more information, see generally, The Classic Camera, medfmt.8k.com. The manual is available at photographica.|
|Fotochrome (circa 1965) (Large Image) There are photos of the camera from several different angles at the following Japanese Site. Medium format camera with 6cm x 9cm frame using unique positive "Fotochrome" film. The manual in English is at La collection d'appareils photo anciens par Sylvain Halgand. The manual indicates the lens is a f4.5 color corrected lens with zone focusing. The address on the warranty card is Camera Division, Fotochrome Inc., 45-20 33rd Street, Long Island City, New York, 11101. According to a discussion at photo.net the "film" was "Ansco direct-positive color print material" with an ASA (ISO) rating of 10. According to the last comment in that discussion, the cameras did not compete well for a variety of reasons. Ken Riley Photographics states that the camera new in the original box has a book value today of $65 to $100, with the camera alone having a value of $30 to $50. These values are likely high today since I purchased mine on eBay on December 17, 2008 from a pawn shop in Plantation, Florida for $9.99 with $8.50 shipping. I was the only bidder and the seller had several more available. It is new in the box with all original packaging, but no owner's manual. The shutter works as does the aperture and Selenium meter at least to the extent the aperture appears to vary in changing light. The camera had an internal mirror which directed the light towards the bottom of the camera where the film was. Viewing was through a simple viewfinder window and was not connected with the mirror (it was not an SLR). It had a pop up flash reflector with a socket for M-3 flash bulbs. The apparent lack of sales likely explains why you can still find brand new 43 year old specimens today.
Ken Riley Photographics states it was made by Petri Camera of Japan. See also FOTOFEX CAMERA's PAGE, Flickr - Bill Strong - Fotochrome Camera, Flickr - John Kratz - Fotochrome Camera, www.stronghorses.com, Fotochrome - Chinese Site, Petri - Camerapedia (has photo of "Petri Fotochrome" but Fotochrome is not otherwise discussed in the history or in camera list). Petri made quality rangefinder and single lens reflex cameras as can be seen in those sections of the museum. The facts specified in court cases seem to cast doubt on whether the Fotochrome camera was made by Petri, however. The court in Fotochrome, Inc. v. Copal Co., 517 F.2d 512 (para. 2) (2d Cir. 1975) (http://www.altlaw.org/v1/cases/549959) states: "Fotochrome, Inc. ("Fotochrome"), a Delaware corporation with offices in the Eastern District of New York, and Copal Company, Ltd. ("Copal"), a Japanese corporation, neither present nor doing business in the United States, entered into a contract in 1966 under which Copal would manufacture cameras in Japan according to specifications provided by Fotochrome, and Fotochrome would purchase the cameras for distribution in the United States." The case involved a Japanese arbitration brought by Copal seeking payment for cameras it made for Fotochrome. Fotochrome counter claimed alleging that delivery was not timely and cameras were defective. Near the conclusion of the arbitration, Fotochrome filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 26, 1970. Thereafter, an arbitration award was issued in favor of Copal. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the District Court, 377 F.Supp. 26 (E.D.N.Y.1974), which found, after examining numerous international law and personal jurisdiction issues, the Japanese arbitration award was valid even though it was issued after the filing of the United States bankruptcy case. There is no mention of Petri in the case. Likewise there is no mention of Petri on the box, camera, or manual. Copal is a Japanese manufacturer of shutters. Copal - Camerapedia.
|Fotron (1960s) (Large Image, Top, Back) Made by Triad Corporation in Glendale, California, the Fotron used 828 film in a special cartridge which had to be returned to Fotron for processing. (Fotron - Wikipedia.) The cartridge snapped onto the back of the camera. Kodak introduced 828 film in 1935, only a year after it introduced 135 35mm film in standard metal cassettes. (828 Film - Wikipedia.) 828 film is essentially 35mm film without the sprocket holes and with a paper backing. Kodak used 828 film in its Bantam cameras as explained in the Kodak section below. 126 film is also essentially 35mm film with only one sprocket hole per frame, a paper backing and a plastic cartridge allowing for drop in loading. The Fotron film was therefore similar to 126 film in that the film was the same width and both used a cartridge. The frame size appears to be about 26mm x 26mm or similar to that for 126 film. The Fotron cartridge snapped onto the back of the camera, however, while 126 cameras had a normal film door on the back of the camera. Kodak introduced 126 Instamatic film in 1963. The Fotron cameras were sold in the 1960s although I don't know if they were introduced before or after 126 film. I put the Fotron in the medium format category since it not true 35mm film and is not 126 film. The square frame size actually has a smaller area than the standard 35mm film frame size, however.|
Besides the film cartridge, Fotron cameras were innovative in at least two important ways - it had a built in electronic flash and it had built in electronic film advance. To my knowledge, it may have been the first camera with a built in electronic flash. I took my camera partially apart. In the interior photo you can see part of what I believe is a large rechargeable battery. Electronic flashes were available at least by 1953. (See, e.g., "Amazing Tower Speedlight" in 1953-54 Sears Camera Catalog, and Page 45 of 1960 Sears Camera Catalog.) Miniaturization of electronics was still progressing, however, and the units at the time were pretty big. To fit in the large battery and all the electronics resulted in the Fotron being a big camera. It was years ahead of its time, however, since the first built in electronic flash in a 35mm camera did not occur until the 1974 Konica C35 EF. It may have also been the first camera with built in battery powered electronic film advance, although several cameras by the 1960s had spring wound film advance.
Despite the innovation with the built in flash and film advance, the Fotron is often viewed with disdain. (See, e.g., The Abominable Triad Fotron.) While I can't find specifications, the Fotron seems to have a very small aperture lens, possibly one element. Even if the lens is any good, there is a transparent plastic cover over the lens. It appears to have perhaps two shutter speeds - one for indoors and one for outdoors. There are two shutter release buttons which appear to also change the focus range. One is for "close" - 4 to 8 feet. The other is for "Far" - 8 feet to infinity for outdoors and 8-12 feet for indoors. Pushing on the "close" shutter seems to push the lens mechanism out slightly further. While it looks like there might be a light meter surrounding the lens, I think this is for just for looks and the camera does not have a light meter. Therefore, while its advertising emphasized no ASA, aperture, shutter speed or focus to set, these were not innovations. Rather, the Fotron simply didn't have many adjustments, automatic or otherwise. It only took 10 photos per roll. The flash took a long time to charge. The instruction manual is available at butkus.org. It says to charge the flash for 18 hours for one film magazine. If more than one magazine is to be used, they recommend charging the camera for 72 hours or longer! The instruction manual recommends just leaving it plugged in all the time. As indicated above it is huge with a width of about 21cm, a height of 12cm and a depth of about 7cm not including the film cartridge. The film had to be sent to Fotron to be developed.
Perhaps the biggest complaints were the price and sales methods. The Fotron was exclusively sold door to door with prices from $150 to nearly $500. (See, e.g., Fotron - Wikipedia.) The basis for the lower figure is not known. Gustavson, Camera, page 299 (George Eastman House 2009), says it was priced at up to $415. Since it was sold door to door, perhaps the price varied depending on what the salesman could negotiate. A class action lawsuit was brought in California on behalf of over 100,000 buyers. The class was all buyers after December 31, 1966 who purchased the cameras under identical installment sales contracts for $491.60. Plaintiffs claimed the reasonable value of the camera was $40. The trial court sustained the defendant's demurrer to all causes of action. The California Court of Appeals in Metowski v. Traid Corp., 28 Cal.App.2d 332 (3d App. Dist. 1972) reversed allowing the action to go forward on several of the causes of action. I'm not aware of the final outcome. $491.60 was a huge amount of money in the mid 1960s, however. $491.50 in 1967 has the same buying power as $3,208.78 in 2010! (I don't know if the $491.60 included the finance charges. Even if it did, the cameras were expensive!) A professional quality Nikon F with original Photomic metered prism and 50mm f1.4 lens was $447.50 in 1967 as indicated in my Manual SLR Page. The Fotron was more expensive and clearly not equal to a Nikon F in photographic quality. Then again Nikon wouldn't have a built in flash and built in automatic film advance for two more decades!
Door to door sales would have likely focused on stay at home "housewives" at the time. Triad's advertising materials bear this out. As indicated in an ad in the March 8, 1968 Life Magazine shown at Marc's Classic Cameras, the Fotron was "ideal for 99 out of 100 wives who refuse to fuss with their husbands' cameras." That sounds pretty sexist even in 1968. The same slogan was used in their brochures that can be viewed at Junk Store Cameras. That site also has some photos in a Fotron photo album. The photos look similar to those produced by Kodak Instamatic and other 126 cameras.
I purchased my Fotron at a La Mesa, CA estate/garage sale on May 22, 2010 for $1.75. It comes with the Fotron leather case and the charging cord. There was no film or documentation. It is in good cosmetic condition. The shutter does not fire, but it may need film or charging, although I think it is a simple mechanical shutter. I have not plugged it in. The leather case is in good condition except the leather strap is deteriorating on the underside. By the time I left the estate sale I was covered in fine brown leather dust!
My conclusion - The Fotron probably produced photos similar to an inexpensive Kodak Instamatic or similar 126 camera. While its electronic flash was innovative and would allow better indoor photos than an Instamatic with a flash cube, it resulted in a large and very expensive camera. The built in electronic flash would make more sense when introduced over a decade later once electronics were further miniaturized. The Fotron makes a great conversation piece today, however.
(Large Side/Back View)
|Graflex Speed Graphic (circa 1947) 3.25" x 2.25" Pacemaker Speed Graphic "press camera" made from 1947 to 1970. (I'm in the process of verifying the model.) Graflex.org states: "It was the dominant portable professional camera from the 1930's through the end of the 1950's." These are the cameras you see in the old movies with the flash bulbs popping. Viewing and focusing can be done in different ways. First, these are view cameras and hence you can view and focus using the ground glass on the back. It has a pop up device that covers the ground glass when closed. When opened, it serves as a shade for the ground glass. Second, you can view and frame through the viewing window on top. On the side is a separate "Kalart Synchronized Range Finder" to focus. Actual focusing is done by moving either of the two knobs in front which moves the lens forward and backwards on the rails. My camera has a Kodak Flash Supermatic shutter and Kodak Ektar 100mm f4.5 lens. There appears to be two sets of shutter speeds - fast speeds of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 and 1/400 second and slow speeds of 1/10, 1/5, 1/2 and 1 second. Apertures are f4.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 and 37. My lens is serial number EO7900. According to the code at graflex.org, this means it was made in 1946. If this is true and if mine is indeed a Pacemaker model, it must be one of the earliest Pacemakers with the lens slightly predating the introduction of the Pacemaker model in 1947. There is no light meter or battery.
The Pacemaker Speed Graphic 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 sold for $338.20 in the 1955 Sears Camera Catalog. That's equal to $2,680 in 2008 dollars. This was therefore clearly a professional level camera. The 4 x 5 Speed Graphic sold for only slightly more at $356.75. The Crown Graphic models without the focal plane shutter of the Speed Graphic models sold for $315.85 for the 4 x 5 model and $318.90 for the 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 model. The only cameras in the 1955 Sears Camera Catalog selling for more than the Speed Graphic cameras was the Hasselblad with the 80mm f2.8 Kodak Ektar lens selling for $476 and some of the Zeiss Contax 35mm rangefinder cameras which ranged from $336 to $412 depending on the lens they came with. The Nikon 35mm rangefinder with Nikkor f2 lens and Leica mount was a bargin at $269.
Manufactured by Graflex, Inc., Rochester 8, New York, U.S.A. The shutter and lens were also made in the U.S.A. by Eastman Kodak, also located in Rochester. I believe the camera will take either sheet film or roll film. These were also made in 4" x 5" and 3.25" x 4.25" models. Cosmetically, it is in excellent condition. There is some paint loss near the name "Speed Graphic." The rangefinder works. The lens looks clear and free of scratches. The leather is good. It opens by pressing a button under the leather just in front of the top of the handle. This took me quite a while to find out and apparently is one of the most frequently asked questions about the Speed Graphic. I have not fired the shutter yet since I need to figure out how to cock it. I haven't spent much time with the camera yet, and it is indeed a pretty complicated looking piece of equipment which, of course, just adds to its extreme coolness! I'm going to study up on how to operate it so as to not break anything. I purchased it with a bunch of other camera equipment for a total of $75 on 2-1-09 in Chula Vista, CA from an ad on Craigslist. This was by far the most valuable item and we allocated $50 to it. The seller had acquired the items as part of a large collection of things in an apartment contents auction. The original owner was an elderly gentleman in his 90s who had to leave the apartment for medical reasons. A super cool camera which I will be exploring more in the future!
|Graflex Speed Graphic (circa 1947) 4" x 5" Pacemaker Speed Graphic "press camera." Date is from the Kodak lens that has serial no. ES 15994. According to the code at graflex.org, this means it was made in 1947. That site specifies a 4 digit number code while mine has 5 digits. I assume the letter code for the date still works, however. The Lens is a Kodak Ektar 127mm f4.7. According to graflex.org, Kodak started making the Ektar series around 1940. Graflex.org states: "The 127/4.7 . . . was the best corrected on axis of the Ektar 101/127/152 series. Though nominally a lens for 3.25x4.25 press cameras, it is fairly common on 4x5" Speed Graphics, and works admirably on 4x5" without movements. In all but the most demanding situations, the circle of coverage was adequate. It was particularly suited to press use, because in documentary photography, the clarity in the corners may . . . often not be important." Kodak Flash Supermatic shutter with speeds of T, B, 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 and 1/400. Apertures of f4.7 to f32. Hugo Meyer Precision rangefinder Model 4P. It came with six Riteway Graphic 4x5 film Holders by Graflex that appear to be new in the box. There was one additional used Fidelity film holder. Additionally, there is a Graphic Film Pack Adapter by Graflex and a Adapt-a-Roll 620 medium format roll film adapter made by Ta-Mar, Incorporated, Culver City, California. It also came with a large chrome flash that attaches to the side although it is missing the reflector. It all comes in a large case in pretty rough condition. The camera itself appears to be in working, although well used, condition. The shutter and aperture work. The seller said it was used by a professional photographer in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego for many years. Mine was purchased around early summer 2009 from an ad on Craigslist for $50. At the same time I purchased an older Polaroid camera from the seller for $25.|
|Hasselblad 500c (1968, model made from 1957 to 1970) a Swedish medium format single lens reflex camera with a German Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens. Hasselblad cameras and Carl Zeiss lenses are noted for their precision and sharpness and are two of the most respected names in photography. They are expensive, however. A new Hasselblad 503CW with an 80mm f2.8 Zeiss lens costs over $4,000 as of the Summer of 2007 at B&H Photo. The shutters and focusing mechanisms are in the lenses. Photoethnography has a fantastic and detailed discussion about Hasselblad. She notes it is relatively compact for a medium format camera. Mine, with lens and film back, is under 17cm long, 10cm high and 10cm wide. Another popular medium format camera, the Mamiya 67, is significantly larger in part because it has bellows focusing. The advantage of bellows focusing, however, is a closer minimum focusing distance. Setting the exposure on the Hasselblad takes some getting use to since it uses Exposure Values (EV). The shutter ring on the lens has both shutter speeds and EVs. You press the EV/aperture button on the aperture ring bringing the red arrow on the aperture ring in line with the correct EV which you read from your hand held light meter. Release the EV/aperture button and then turn the shutter dial, which is now coupled with the aperture ring, to the shutter speed/aperture you want. All of this sounds pretty confusing, but it takes only a short while to get use to it. I got a book by H. Fretag, The Hasselblad Way (Focal Press, 7th ed 1978), on eBay to help me figure things out. (There are several subsequent editions of the book.) The 500C was made from 1957 to 1970 according to Photoethnography. Using the chart at that site also revealed that my camera was made in 1968. My camera was purchased around May 2007 at a Sunday garage sale in the Eastridge area of La Mesa, CA. The seller had a bunch of photography stuff out, but not this camera. I asked if he had any cameras and he brought this out. He had a newer Hasselblad and was willing to sell this with two film backs, 70mm film adapters, a flash bracket, and a flash for $150 which I considered a great deal for a Hasselblad. It seems to be in very good cosmetic and working condition although I have not tried it out yet extensively. (I'm still learning.) It did not come with a viewfinder hood, but I purchased a Hasselblad waist level finder from an ad on Craig's List San Diego on 7-10-07 for $20. I also on 6-12-07 purchased a Hasselblad chimney magnifying finder on eBay for $9.99 plus $10.22 shipping. I got this since the waist level finders seemed too pricey on eBay. There are numerous other kinds of finders including eye level metered finders. Photoethnography has a separate page discussing Hasselblad and Russian Kiev finders. I always wanted to try out medium format photography but found it too expensive. This turned out to be an inexpensive and fortunate way to try it out with one of the most respected names in cameras. I doubt if I will use it that much, however, since digital is so much more convenient. They make digital backs for modern Hasselblads, but the cost of a 16.3 megapixel digital back alone as of the summer of 2007 is about $9,000 at B&H compared to 10 megapixel digital SLRs costing $700.|
Interior with bellows folded up
|Eastman Kodak No.3 Folding Brownie Camera, Model D (circa 1909-1912) The interior of the back door says "No. 3 Folding Brownie Camera, Model D, Manufactured by Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, N.Y.-- Made in U.S.A., U.S. Patents: Sept. 25, 1894; Jan 21, 1902; July 8, 1902; Nov. 18, 1902; Sept. 7, 1909. Other Patents Applied For." You open the front by a covered button, top - center - toward the front. Pull the bellows all the way out until it clicks in place. On the left, bottom of the board holding the bellows is a focusing scale. You set the estimated or measured distance and then slide the bellows until it stops at that point. There is a small viewing screen on the opposite side to compose the photo. The shutter lens combination has written on it F.P.K. Automatic. Shutter Speeds are T, B and I. There is therefore only one measured shutter speed. Apertures are 4, 8, 32 and 64. The lens is a Bausch & Lomb Optical, Rapid Rectilinear. I don't know the design, but it has multiple elements. The front element, composed of multiple pieces of glass, screws off. The shutter is immediately behind this front element. The aperture is behind the shutter, followed by the rear lens element. The focal length appears to be about 5.5 inches or 14cm (140mm). The negative area is 4.25 inches x 3.25 inches (about 10.8cm x 8.3cm). The camera is constructed of wood covered by imitation leather. Closed dimensions are about 4.75 x 8.5 x 2.375 inches (about 12cm x 21.2cm x 6cm). The back folds down by pressing two covered buttons on the top, rear of the sides. The Web site http://www.nwmangum.com/Kodak/No3FB-2.html indicates the film size is 124. That site indicates the camera model was manufactured from 1905 to 1915. Mine has to be from at least 1909 since that is the last patent date. I can further pin the date of mine down to 1909-1912 since The Brownie Camera Page states the "Rapid Rectilinear lens with F.P.K. Automatic shutter" was made from April 1909 to 1912. That site also refers to serial numbers, although I can't find the serial number on mine. According to http://www.nwmangum.com/Kodak/No3FB-2.html, the original list price was $11. The Consumer Price Index Calculator states $11 in 1913 (as far back as it goes) is equal to about $255 today. The Brownie Camera Page states the approximate worth is $45-70 for the red bellows like mine and $25-$35 for the black bellows. I paid $20 for mine at an Allied Gardens area of San Diego garage sale on April 21, 2012. It is in good working condition. The shutter fires and the aperture changes. The bellows look to be in good shape. The handle appears to be a replacement. In conclusion, it is a very handsome 100 year old camera.|
|No. 1A Folding Pocket Kodak, Model D, (large image, profile) 1910-1915 according to Kodak History. That site lists the original list price as $12, about $240 in 2006 dollars. An eBay auction ending 5-21-06 states Kodak changed to black bellows after 1912. If correct, then this camera dates from 1910 to 1912. Mine has an earlier seriel no. than the red bellows camera on eBay. Mine is No. 150093 while the eBay camera has a seriel no. of 154931. There were four models of the No. 1A Folding Pocket Kodak produced from 1899 to 1915. This Model D, with a metal lens mount, is the last of the four models. Oz Camera has an excellent description of the Model D. Models A-C are pictured at stronghorses.com. See also BoxCameras.com, George Eastman House, nwmangum.com. Closed dimensions of about 7.5" x 4" x 1.75". The thickness of 1.75" goes out to about 6" when the bellows are extended. My camera was purchased for $10 at a garage sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego on 5-20-06. Seriel No.150093. It is in very good working and cosmetic condition with the leather intact, no holes in the bellows and a working shutter. I'm not sure how to open up the film chamber and do not want to force it. A fellow shopper indicated he had the same or very similar camera as a child. It may be my oldest camera and probably one of the coolest!|
|Autographic 2C Jr., 1916-1927 according to Kodak History. That site lists the original list price as $27 while George Eastman House indicates prices ranged from $9 to $16 depending on the type of lens and date of purchase. (See also The Kodak Collector's Page.) It apparently came with several different lenses over the years. (See Brownie Camera Page.) The Eastman site indicates 130,000 were sold before 1921, which according to The Kodak Collector's Page is why these old cameras sell for relatively modest prices today. The manual for the similar Autographic 1A Junior is available at butkus.org. A picture of a similar 3A Autographic with the cover of the 1916 Kodak catalog is at Manuals2Go. A nice image and description from the 1923 Kodak Catalog is at www.bouletfermat.com/photography. The French site mgroleau.com/photo/collection.html has numerous photos of the larger, but otherwise identical, Autographic 3A Junior. The Kodak ball bearing shutter has shutter speeds of 25, 50 and 100 plus B and T. Apertures are set by a sliding ring on the bottom of the lens assembly with the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4. Photoethnography states the apertures were f7.7, 11, 16, 22, 32 and 45 although this may be for a different lens. Focusing is done by sliding the bellows to the appropriate point indicated on the distance scale. Autographic models allowed you to write a small note on the film by opening a small window on the back of the camera. The note would show up on the negative and the print. They used special Autographic film, the 2C taking A130 film with an image size of 2 7/8" by 4 7/8", larger than 120 film. The film and Autographic process are explained well at Scott's Photographica Collection. It is a large camera with unfolded dimensions of about 7.5 x 9 x 4.5 inches. (profile) The front folds up reducing the 7.5 inches to about 1.75 inches for relatively easy carrying. (Camera being held.) The camera is in great working and consmetic condition. The camera is a greatly appreciated donation from a donor in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The camera belonged to the donor's father. The camera comes with the original box, a closeup filter in a yellow Kodak case, the stylus for writing on the film, and a shutter release. The box has a small portion of a mailing label still attached which appears to indicate it was shipped from Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York where the cameras were made.|
|Kodak Vigilant Six 20, folding 6 x 9 cm camera using 620 roll film. According to the Bill Strong Vintage Camera site, there were three versions of the Vigilant Six 20 sold from 1939 to 1949. Mine appears to be the later of the three with a Flash Dakon shutter made in 1947-1949. Mine says it was made in the U.S. It has a Kodak Anasten 105mm, f6.3-32 lens. Shutter speeds are T, B, 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 second. It has an adjustable focus from 3.5 feet to infinity. You have to estimate the distance. My camera is in reasonably good condition with a working shutter and intact bellows. The film advance knob is missing, however. Purchased at a La Mesa garage sale for less than $2 on October 8, 2005. The manual is available at Butkas.org.|
|Kodak Vigilant Six 20, this one has the better lens and shutter of the several combinations made - a No. 1 Supermatic shutter with a Kodak Anastigmat Special 101mm f4.5 to f32 lens. Focusing to 3.5 feet. Shutter speeds 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and 1/200. The original list price was $38 equal to nearly $600 in 2008 dollars. Appears to be in good working condition. Comes with a leather case in good condition but with considerable greenish colored corrosion around the button snaps. Purchased as part of a lot of several cameras (Minolta XG-1, Argus C-4, Canon T50, a 5x7 view camera, another folder), dozens of filters, and assorted other camera and miscellaneous "stuff" for $40 at a San Carlos area of San Diego garage sale on December 6, 2008. I have purchased from the same gentleman before whose interests include photography, astronomy and electronics. Several sites have excellent information on the Vigilant Six 20 including: Mike Connealy Photography - Vintage Photography, Matt's Classic Cameras and Camerapedia.|
|Kodak Brownie Flash Six-20 (Large) According to the Brownie Camera Page sold from July 1946 to January 1955. Uses 620 film which was introduced by Kodak in 1932 and discontinued in 1995. 620 film is the same size as 120 film but uses a thinner spool. Since 620 film is no longer made, you can load in complete darkness 120 film onto a 620 film spool. See, e.g., History of Kodak Roll Film Numbers. The name "Flash Six-20" emphasizes that the camera had an accessory flash and used 620 film. The flash holder can be seen at Brownie Flash Six-20. My camera did not come with the flash holder, but it looked so neat that I bought one on eBay on 7-5-08 in near new condition in the original box for $10 (Buy It Now) plus $6.80 shipping. The two projections above each side of the lens is what the flash mounts on. The flash holders appear to be relatively common on eBay. The bulbs appear to be more difficult to find, however. This camera is essentially the same as the Six-20 Flash Brownie made from 1940 to 1946. Frame size is 6x9cm with 8 photos per roll. Single shutter speed with B. Single aperture. Fixed focus for beyond ten feet with a supplementary lens rotating in front of the main lens for 5 to 10 feet. Focal length looks to be about 95mm. The little thing that comes out on the winder side of the camera is to level the camera for portraits according to Junk Store Cameras. The camera appears to have a curved focal plane. It also comes with a tripod mount. Mine was purchased as part of a collection of 35+ vintage consumer cameras for about $200 from an ad on Craigslist on 6-27-08 in Oceanside, CA. It is in very good cosmetic and working condition.|
|Kodak Reflex (1946-1949) See www.nwmangum.com - Kodak Reflex for dates and price. 80mm f3.5 Kodak Anastigmat taking lens. Flash Kodamatic Shutter 1/2 to 1/200 with B and T. Original price $100 - that's over $1,100 in 2008 dollars! Tripod mount. Remote shutter release. Excellent information at Kodak Reflex. You cock the shutter by first moving the shutter release up. You press down to release the shutter. The holes on the side opposite the winding knob are for the flash. Unfortuanately, it uses 620 film which is no longer available. Glenn E. Steward give excellent illustrated instructions on "Respooling 120 film onto 620 spools for use in older cameras." 6x6cm (2.25" x 2.25") frame. A nice entry level true twin lens reflex camera made in the USA. See generally, Rick Olsen, The American TLR - The Best and the Rest. The manual for the later, but similar, Kodak Reflex II is at Kodak Reflex II Manual - http://www.michaelbutkus.com. Mine was purchased as part of a collection of 35+ vintage consumer cameras for about $200 from an ad on Craigslist on 6-27-08 in Oceanside, CA. It is in very good cosmetic and working condition.|
|Kodak Flash Bantam (1947-1953) (Large Image) Uses Kodak 828 film which is no longer made. Kodak introduced 828 film as a way to make a slightly larger frame size out of 35mm film. With 35mm film useable film area is lost due to the sprocket holes on both edges of the film. With 828 film there is only one sprocket hole for each frame for automatic frame advance. The film is backed with paper like with 120 film. 828 film came in only 8 exposure rolls. The resulting frame size was 28mm x 40mm for a total of 1,120 square mm compared to a 35mm frame size of 24mm x 36mm for a total of 864 square mm. The difference of 256mm results in a 29.6% (256/864) increase in frame area for 828 film compared to 35mm film. The paper backing allowed for a green window in the back to tell what exposure you were on. While the larger frame size makes technical sense, it also probably represents a marketing strategy by Kodak as was its change from 120 film to 620 film in cameras such as the Kodak Reflex above. According to Kodak Bantam Special 828 film never really caught on. The last Bantam camera was introduced in 1957 and Kodak ceased production of 828 film in the mid 1970s. The same concept of not wasting 35mm film area with sprocket holes, however, was also seen in Kodak 126 Instamatic film which introduced in the early 1960s and remained popular through much of the 1970s. It likewise has one hole per frame, is paper backed and is 28mm wide. It has a square format and therefore has a frame area of 28mm x 28mm (784 square mm), somewhat less than both 35mm film and 828 film.|
The camera is quite compact when folded with dimensions of about 12cm wide x 6cm tall x 4cm deep. Kodak Anastigmat Special 48mm f4.5 lens. Shutter speeds of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 plus B and T. The viewfinder pops up. The camera unfolds by the button by the winding knob. The shutter is cocked by a switch just in front of the right side of the folding cross bar. Focusing from 2.5 feet or less to infinity by estimation. Mine appears to be in good working and cosmetic condition. The film wind seems stiff. While film is no longer available, you can respool your own as described in detail at Kodak Cameras - 828 Film. The camera's price in the 1949 Montgomery Ward Photographic Catalog was $57.72, equal to $530 in 2008 dollars. The case was an additional $5.50. Mine was purchased with the case as part of a collection of 35+ vintage consumer cameras for about $200 from an ad on Craigslist on 6-27-08 in Oceanside, CA. Conclusion: a very cool and compact camera which in its day could take some pretty nice photos.
|Kodak Instant Cameras. Kodak produced 26 instant print cameras from 1976 to 1986. The Land List - Non-Polaroid Instant Cameras discusses numerous manufacturers other than Polaroid that made instant print cameras, some compatible with Polaroid and some which were not compatible like the Kodak system. Polaroid brought litigation against Kodak in 1976 for patent infringement. This litigation went on for nearly a decade with the court deciding in 1986 that Kodak had infringed certain patents. Sale of Kodak instant cameras and film therefore ceased in 1986. www.patents.com has the decision of a later case for damages which explains the prior litigation finding the patent infringement. The damages case was eventually settled for over $900,000,000, making the case one of the largest patent infringement cases ever. There were also class action lawsuits on behalf of consumers who now had cameras they could no longer use since film was not available. To participate in the settlement of these class actions consumers had to mail the nameplate on the front of the camera back. www.ozcamera.com describes this process and indicates that since so many of the cameras were sold they do not have significant collector value. The ones with the name plate have a higher, although still low, value.|
|Kowa Six MM (1972) (Large Image) Referred to as the poor's man Hasselblad, the Kowa Six is a 6cm x 6cm square medium format camera.|
|Mamiya M645 1000s (1976-1990) (Large Image, Other Side) The Mamiya 645 Uses 120 or 220 roll film with 6cm x 4.5cm frames (actual negative size is 56 x 41.5mm). It is hence 3/4 the frame size of a 6cm x 6cm square format camera like a Hasselblad or most twin lens reflex cameras like the Mamiya C220 or C33 cameras below. Mamiya also made the Mamiya RB67, a 6cm x 7cm format camera with a revolving back. The Mamiya M645 camera was originally introduced in 1975. The improved Mamiya M645 1000s added a top shutter speed of 1/1000 second, a depth of field preview button and a self timer. The Mamiya M645 is a system camera with interchangeable lenses, viewfinders and focusing screens. Unlike the Mamiya RB67, however, it does not have interchangeable backs. Rather, it has film inserts for 120 and 220 film that go in the back of the camera. These film inserts may be pre-loaded. The Mamiya M645 in the 1977-78 Sears Camera Catalog with the standard 80mm f2.8 lens was $484.50. That's the same buying power as $1,742.99 in 2010 dollars (as measured from 1976). The waist level viewing hood was standard. The eye level metering viewfinder was an additional $249.50 (Almost $900 in 2010 dollars!) In the same catalog the Mamiya RB67 was $759.50 and the twin lens reflex Mamiya C330f Professional was $379.50. Other manufacturers such as Pentax also offered cameras in the 645 format. Advantages of the 645 format over larger medium formats include a somewhat smaller camera, more images per roll of film, and with respect to the 6x6 format, the ability to compose in either a vertical or horizontal format. The smaller size means less resolution than the larger medium format cameras, however. The 645 format has an area about three times more than 35mm format, however. Mamiya introduced several 645 models after the M645 1000s including autofocus models starting in 1999 and a digital model and backs in 2009. (Mamiya - Wikipedia.) I purchased my Mamiya M645 1000s in May 2010 from the same person I purchased my Pentax 6x7 cameras below. It is in good working condition. It also did not come with the film advance crank although I was able to purchase one online for about $8 with $10 shipping. It also did not have a film insert. I purchased one on eBay for about $10 as I recall. It also had some stickers on the finder which I removed. At first I thought the finder meter was not working. I learned that you have to set the shutter speed knob to the red dot. I have the AE metered finder. You set the aperture; the camera automatically sets the shutter speed. This is not in the manual, although it is mentioned at photo.net. Pretty cool! I at first thought I had some odd non-coupled meter. I have not yet run film through my camera yet. Mamiya has the instruction manual online. On October 17, 2015 I puchased for this camera a Mamiya 200mm f4 lens, a Mamiya 45mm f2.8 lens, and two 220 film inserts in plastic cases. I also purchased a older Nikon Coolpix camera and compact 35mm autofocus camera. The total price was at the estate sale in the San Carlos neighborhood of San Diego was $50.|
|Konica Rapid Omega 100 (Large Image) 6cm by 7cm medium format rangefinder camera. The original design in 1954 was by the Simon Brothers in the United States, known for their enlargers. Konica produced the later Koni-Omega cameras in Japan. According to the Omega Wikipedia article the last cameras including the Omega 200 and I assume 100 were made by Mamiya in Japan. They were marketed in the United States by Berkeley Camera. Originally designed as a press camera, they were used extensively as a wedding camera in the 1960s and 1970s. Manufacturing of the line stopped in 1981 with the Omega 100. I purchased mine on February 21, 2015 in San Marcos, California from an ad on Craigslist.|
|Asahi Pentax 6x7 (1969-1988) (Large Image) The largest member of the Pentax family, the Pentax 6x7 uses either 120 or 220 roll film and produces 6cm x 7cm images. Unlike most medium format cameras, it looks and feels like a big 35mm SLR camera. It does not have interchangeable backs, but there is a switch for it to take either 120 roll film with a backing and delivering 10 exposures or 220 roll film without a backing and delivering 20 photos. In this "Pentax Family Photo" you can think of the 6x7 as the Dad, the 35mm SLR Spotmatic SPII as the Mom, and the Pentax Auto 110 as the baby. The Dad delivers 60mm x 70mm negatives with an area of 4200 square mm. The Mom delivers negatives of 24mm x 36mm with an area of 864 square mm. The baby delivers 17mm x 13mm negatives with an area equal to 221 square mm. The 6x7 therefore has a negative area 4.86 times larger than a 35mm camera and 19 times larger than the a 110 camera. One 6x7 negative has about as much area, and hence information, as an entire 20 exposure roll of 110 film. The large negative size is why a medium format camera was just right for discriminating photographers.|
The Pentax 6x7 had a long run of twenty years. It was introduced in 1969. The newer Pentax 67, sporting an electronically controlled shutter, was not introduced until 1989. Finally, the Pentax 67 II was introduced in 1998 with matrix metering and autoexposure. All Pentax lenses for the 6 x 7 format can be used on any of the three models. Pentax also offered a medium format camera with a 6cm x 4.5cm format. Since it is like a large 35mm SLR the Pentax 6x7 has a much different look and feel compared to the typical medium format SLR camera such as a Hasselblad or Mamiya RB-67. It also has a focal plane shutter and hence has a flash synch of only 1/30 of a second. Film loading is also slow compared to cameras with interchangeable backs. Cameras like a Hasselblad or Mamiya RB-67 have, therefore, typically been favored by portrait and wedding photographers. The Pentax 6x7 is a favorite of many nature photographers, however.
My Pentax 6x7 was purchased at a La Mesa, CA garage sale around April 2008. It belonged to the seller's father. He lead nature workshops and was a semi-professional nature photographer with photos published in Arizona Highways Magazine and other publications. The seller and her husband had just sold their house and were moving to Oregon. I had bought a couple of old photography books and an A-16 tent at the sale. Knowing of the photography books, I asked if there were any cameras. It was then that the seller brought out the Pentax "Professional Trunk Case" with the camera including the wooden handle, a Super-Takumar 105mm f2.4 lens, and the metered prism. Also in the case were four additional Super-Takumar lenses: a wide angle 55mm f3.5, a 135mm f4 macro, a 165mm f2.8 and a 200mm f4. (Photo.net has an article on Equivalent Lens Focal Lengths For Different Film Sizes.) Also included were a Pentax R2 red filter, a Pentax 056(2) orange filter, and a Promaster Polarizing filter (all in 67mm diameter). There are three Pentax lens cases. (Case Open.) Everything is in great condition. The husband and wife I think could sense my joy. I told them about my long interest in photography, my collection and my online camera museum. I told them I could pay $300 with a trip to the ATM or we both could think about it further. She accepted the $300 knowing it would go to a good home. I use to pour over the pages of a Pentax 6x7 booklet which I got at a library book sale maybe 15 to 20 years ago. I still have the booklet. It took the digital revolution to make the actual cameras and lenses affordable.
I haven't had time to do this Web site entry and start learning about the camera until the summer. This wonderful camera system is still a very useful tool even in this digital age. Even without the great deal I got, these cameras today are much more affordable than when new. They produce a very large negative which can produce a larger digital image when scanned than any of the digital 35mm full frame SLRs today. Further, while there are medium format cameras today with digital backs, the cameras and backs are very expensive. The Pentax lenses are known for exceptional quality. 120 film and processing is also still widely available. Black and white processing of the film can be done at home with no darkroom. (See the following photo.net discussions: Processing 120 film compared to 35mm, B&W 120 film developing, 120 film on it's way out?, New To B/W Processing-How Practical?, How to develop 120 B&W film?. Processing 35mm and 120 film and The Black and White Darkroom have tutorials on film loading and processing.) Also, I have an Epson 3170 scanner that scans medium format images. ($5 in near new condition at a La Mesa garage sale in 2007.) Therefore, I can scan the photos and publish online or print without a darkroom. The full manual is available on the Internet at butkus.org. Photoethnography has an excellent article about the Pentax 6x7 system including "Myths and Truths."
|Asahi Pentax 6x7 without mirror lock-up (1969-1976) (Large Image) This is the earlier version of the Pentax 6x7 without a mirror lock up feature. The slap of the mirror going up in a single lens reflex camera can cause some vibration in the camera just as the shutter is firing. A mirror lock up allows you to lock the mirror in the up position prior to releasing the shutter. As a result there is no camera vibration from the mirror moving. This is a feature generally found on more expensive 35mm single lens reflex cameras and may be especially important in close up work. Vibration from mirror slap is a potentially larger problem with the medium format Pentax 6x7 as a result of the very large mirror. Some complained that despite the highly acclaimed Pentax lenses and large image size, negatives were not as sharp as desired due to vibration from the mirror. According to Camerapedia - Pentax 67 Pentax therefore added a mirror lock up in 1976. There is a sliding lever on the right hand side of the mirror housing to activate it. As can be seen by the photo, this camera does not have the sliding mirror lock up lever. This camera therefore does not have the mirror lock up feature. The Pentax 6x7 camera in the prior entry does have the mirror lock up. A camera with the mirror lock up feature is often named Pentax 6x7 (MU) or Pentax 6x7 (MLU). According to Photoethnography you could send the cameras without mirror lock up back to Pentax to have the mirror lock up feature installed. The mirror lock up feature is highly desired so Pentax 6x7 cameras with the mirror lock up feature usually cost significantly more than those without it on the used market today. I acquired my second Pentax 6x7 (without mirror lock up) from the same person as my first Pentax 6x7 in the entry above about two years later in May 2010. The shutter works well. It also came with a waist level hood and a macro bellows.|
|Polaroid Land Camera 800 (1957-1962) (Large Image, Closed) Dates from Wikipedia - Land Camera. According to the The Land List, the original retail price was $126. $126 in 1957 has the same buying power as $970 in 2009. The Land List estimates production at 525,000 to 650,000 cameras. Like other Polaroid cameras at the time, it was a folding camera. Once unfolded, you focused with the big knob on the bottom of the camera (on the front when closed). You focused with a rangefinder which gave a reasonably large and bright magnified view. There is a separate framing window. According to The Land List, it used roll film in the type 40 series. Each roll gave 8 photos. The image size for a photo was 2 7/8" x 3 3/4" (7.2 x 9.5 cm). Film was relatively expensive. For example, type 42 film which was Polaroid's first panchromatic film, produced from 1955 to 1992, sold initially for $1.98 per roll or about 25 cents a photo. (The Land List.) 25 cents in 1955 has the same buying power as about $2 in 2009 (or a factor of 8). Color Polaroid roll film was not introduced until 1963 and was considerably more expensive. Type 48 color film which was produced from 1963 to 1976 produced only six prints and originally sold for $3.55 or more than 59 cents a print. 59 cents in 1963 has the same buying power as $4.17 in 2009. It is a large camera. Folded it is about 10 inches wide by 6 inches high by 2 inches deep (the focusing knob adds another 3/8 inch or so). The depth increases to about 8 inches when unfolded. Mine appears to be in very good cosmetic condition. The shutter fires. The lens is clear. The rangefinder works. They do not make film any longer for these cameras. Some people convert them to use 120 roll film, however. Mine came with a flash, an electronic flash, close-up lenses, a light meter, the owner's manual and a large case. I purchased it at a garage/estate sale in Spring Valley, CA (near Casa de Oro) on December 26, 2009 for about $10 to $15. (Originally, the seller and I allocated $15 to the Polaroid 800, but then discounted things because I bought several photo items.)|
|Polaroid Land Camera 180 (1965-1969) (Large Image) The Polaroid 180 was a professional level instant pack film camera sold from 1965 to 1969. It was followed by the similar Polaroid 195 sold from 1974-1976 according to The Land List. The 180 has a 114mm, f/4.5 4-element Tominon lens while the 195 has a faster f3.8 lens. The lens stops down to a very small aperture of f90 for very great depth of field. The 180 has a combined rangefinder and viewing window made by Zeiss Ikon, while the 195 has separate rangefinder and viewing windows. The 195 also has a development timer on the back. They are quite collectible today since they take FujiFilm FP-100C (ISO 100) color instant film and FujiFilm FP-3000B black and white film. On Amazon you can get a ten exposure pack of the color film for about $7 and the black and white film for about $13 as of July 2012 as I write this. Collectiblend.com gives a used price range today of between $140 and $360 for the Polaroid 180 depending on condition. As I reviewed completed listings on eBay on July 23, 2012 the least expensive Polaroid 180 sold recently was $300. That's pretty darn high for a camera which produces 3.25 X 4.25 inch (7.3 x 9.5cm) instant prints. Neither model has a light meter. The original list price was $189.95 for the Model 180 according to The Land List. Measured from 1965, that has the same buying power as $1,383.79 in 2012. The very helpful manual is at jameskbeard.com. The camera focuses by moving the levers labeled "1" on the camera until there is a single image on the rangefinder mark in the viewfinder. You set the shutter speed and aperture using an external light meter. You have to cock the shutter using the button labeled 3 on the camera. The shutter release is button 2. To develop you pull out the white tab. You then pull out the yellow tab. That starts the development. Development times depend on the film used and the temperature. Once the time has passed, you strip the white paper off the brown paper. Color processing is a complicated process. The fact that Edwin Land was able to develop this process is amazing. The advantage of the Polaroid process is the instant photo. The disadvantages include the cost per photo, relatively poor picture quality compared to regular film cameras, and the difficulty in reproducing the image. The instant photo advantage has been superseded in part by digital photography that allows you to instantly have the photo available on the camera screen. I am fortunate to have three Polaroid 180 cameras. The first was purchased at a garage sale several years ago for $5! The second was purchased in May 2012 with a broken Polaroid 195 for $120 in Spring Valley, CA from an ad on Craigslist. The third was purchased on July 23, 2012 for $50 in Chula Vista, CA from an ad on Craigslist. All three work. The lenses on all three are great condition. The one purchased in May 2012 has a slight crack on one of the plastic pieces that was covered with duct tape.|
|Polaroid Land Camera 360 Electronic Flash (1969-1971) According to Jim's Polaroids originally sold for $199.95. $199.95 in 1969 is equal to about $1,160 in 2008, reminding us of the high inflation in the 1970s. It was therefore an expensive camera at the time. Jim's Polaroids indicates the shutter speeds were from 1/2000 to 10 seconds. Three element glass lens with apertures of f/8.8, f/12.5, f/17.5, f/25, f/35, f/42. I estimate the lens has a focal length of 125mm. Zeiss Ikon range and viewfinder, made in West Germany. ASA (ISO) speed film of 75, 150, 300 and 3000. Takes two No. 532 3.0v volt batteries. (I don't know where the battery compartment is.) The Land List estimates production of 250,000 to 500,000 cameras. Comes with electronic flash with internal rechargeable NiCad batteries which are recharged with the included charger. The batteries no longer hold a charge. The Land List has instructions for replacing the rechargeable battery for those with sufficient experience. (All electronic flashes carry a risk of electric shock.) According to The Land List the flash couples with the focusing mechanism to provide correct flash exposure. According to savepolaroid.com, the 360 was the first Polaroid model with an integrated circuit. I purchased mine with flash, recharger, close-up lens kit, and case to hold it all in for $4 at a San Carlos/Del Cerro area of San Diego garage sale on 1-10-09. It is in good cosmetic condition. I don't know where to put batteries in so I don't know if the camera fully works. It opens, the rangefinder works, and the shutter appears to work.|
|Polaroid MP4+ Instant Camera System (Circa 1985-1991) Dates are from the date codes on what appear to be addendum to the manual. The camera may go back to as early as 1974, however. The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography in Google Books has a timeline stating for 1974, "The MP-4 technical camera replaces the older MP-3." I'm not sure whether the MP-4 was a different and earlier model than the MP-4+. I have not found any information on the original price of a Polaroid MP4+ system. If you have that information, please let me know. Given the size, sturdy build and specialty uses in science and industry, I'm guessing it was relatively expensive.
As stated at the Polaroid Support Site: "The MP4+ Multipurpose Camera System is a unique, versatile, instant photographic system which features a modular copy stand system with multiple lens, lighting, and camera head options." The manual, available at butkus.org, states: "The Polaroid MP-4 Land Camera is an unusually versatile photographic unit. Its uses in industry, education, the graphic arts, and in a vast variety of other fields are almost unlimited. They include photomicrography, photomacrography, wall chart copying, slide making, X-ray copying, small object photography, gross specimen photography, and many others." The camera can also be used with a microscope. Essentially, the system is a heavy duty copy stand with a 4x5 inch view camera mounted to it. The camera can also be removed and replaced with "Universal Camera Mount No. 44-85" which allows you to mount most cameras with a standard tripod mount. My system came with the universal camera mount. There was also a "tripod adapter 44-81" which I do not have. According to the manual, it allows "the MP-4 [to be] converted into an excellent studio camera for portraiture, large-scale copying, and many other uses which do not demand the availability of camera swings and tilts." Some sites also indicate you can use the lenses on other 4x5 view cameras, but they will not have full coverage if you use swings and tilts. There are also two arms which come out to attach lights. My system came with two Polaroid 760-SG halogen 300 watt lights. The lights plug into electrical outlets in the baseboard. In discussing the lighting, the manual states the system can provide "magnifications up to about five times life size." The camera has a 4x5 inch polaroid instant sheet film back. The view camera does not have front and back movements. There is a reflex viewing head which sits over the ground glass viewing screen. There was a fixed camera head and a sliding camera head available. With the fixed head you have to remove the film holder to view the subject and then replace the film holder to take the photo. With the sliding camera head you can view the subject and then simply slide the film holder into place. My system has the sliding film holder. The shutter is independent of the lenses. It has shutter speeds from 1/125 second to 1 second and bulb. The shutter is self cocking. It cocks as you slide the film holder into place. It has a cable shutter release. While I have not tested the speeds, the shutter appears to work. Six different lenses were offered by Polaroid. I thought I originally just had one lens - a Tominon 105mm f4.5. When I was rummaging around the drawer attached under the base of the unit, however, I found four more lenses. The other four lenses I have are: (1) Tominon 135mm f4.5, (2) Tominon 50mm f4.5, (3) Rodenstock-Eurygon 35mm f4, and (4) Rodenstock-Eurygon 35mm f4. The system and lenses are made in Japan, except the two Rodenstock lenses are made in Germany. All lenses appear to be in good shape and have front and rear caps. My system also came with two "Macro Extension No. 44-45" units that appear to be made of cast Aluminum. The extensions fit between the camera and bellows to give even more extension between the camera and lens for very high level magnification macro photographs.
I purchased my MP4+ system in Mission Valley, San Diego, from an ad on Craigslist on August 13, 2012 for $40. The seller was the son of the former owner of an electrical company that made various electrical components. The camera was apparently used to photograph the compenents and perhaps circuit diagrams. The entire system appears to be in excellent working condition. I was reluctant getting it since it is so large. It is interesting enough, however, that I couldn't pass it up. I did pass up another unit, a Bencher M2 system, which appeared to have some sort of older digital camera attached to a thick parallel port cable. It was mounted to a large metal camera and was much too big for me.
Several sites discuss the Polaroid MP4+ system. At www.magnachrom.com there is an article about using the MP4+ system with a digital scanning back. Apparently, 4x5 digital scanning backs are $6,000 and up, however! Photo.net has an article about possible uses of the MP4+ and early MP-3 cameras. I found a 1971 magazine ad for the MP-3 Polaroid camera on eBay. A discussion in Large Format Photography Forum discusses the differences between the MP-3 system and the MP4+ system. There is also an article on using the viewer on a Speed Graphic camera. Likewise, Photo.net has a discussion about using the reflex viewer on a 4x5 Crown Graphic camera. Largeformatphotography.info discusses the MP4+ as an economical copy camera. Repair of shutters is discussed in a APUG Forum discussion. The lenses and shutters in the MP4+ and MP-3 are discussed in this Largeformatphotography.info forum. Largeformatphotography.info has a discussion of using the MP4+ lenses in general photography. Butkus.org has an owner's manual for the Kenro MP-810 8 x 10 camera which could be substituted for the Polaroid camera on an MP-4 stand. Largeformatphotography.info discusses the Kenro 8x10 camera as well as well as an 8x10 Polaroid back made for the MP4+ system.
|Polaroid SX-70 Deluxe Chrome Model (1974) (Large Image) the original chrome model of the SX-70. The SX-70 was sold from 1972 to 1977. It is recognized for its unique design and reflex viewing system. It was the first Polaroid that you did not have to peel off the top of the photo. The SX-70 still commands relatively high prices on eBay. This was purchased at a garage sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego around May 2007 for $8 with leatherette case. A great deal! It seems to be in great shape, but I haven't tested it with film. It came with a brochure that described three SX-70 models: this original chrome model ($194.95), a model with white trim and artificial leather looking similar to the SX-70 below ($149.95), and a new model with black trim and non-reflex viewing where you estimate the focusing distance ($99.95). The two reflex models are light weight (24 ounces) and compact (1" x 4" x 7" folded). Close focus is only 10.4" or 5" with an optional attachment. The unique reflex viewing system, illustrated in a page from the brochure, is bright and clear. The Polaroid Web site has a user guide. A problem today is that Polaroid ceased production of SX-70 film in 2006. Polaroid explains that 600 film can be used by removing the two center nubs on the bottom of the 600 film pack, removing the neutral density filter in front of the exposure meter window, putting a 1 stop neutral density filter in front of the lens, and adjusting the exposure control button on the camera. The adjustments are needed because 600 film is 4 times more sensitive or faster than SX-70 film. Found Photography has detailed instructions with images for modifying an SX-70 to use 600 film. It also shows how SX-70 camera opens and closes. Today there is also a SX-70 blend film available as explained at The Hacker's Guide to the SX-70, which also has a lot of other information including how to disassemble an SX-70. Lord of the Lens sells the new film for $40 for 20 shots. That's pretty expensive, but 600 film itself is usually about $1 per shot. That's a problem I always had with Polaroid - the film is very expensive. The Land List - Serial Number Calculator is an interesting page where you enter the serial number and it tells you the date your SX-70 was made as well as other information. Mine was made 4-12-74 during the B shift. It has the original SX-70 shutter electronic design ("hybrid shutter"). It is probably an original SX-70 or Alpha / Alpha 1. Very cool site! Other sites of interest include: Wikipedia, Land List, photoethnography.com, PC World - 50 Greatest Gagets SX-70 is #8 (Dec. 24, 2005), SX-70 Blog, camerapedia, SX-70 Family, Arthur's SX-70 Resources.|
|Polaroid One Step, from 1977, the One-Step is in the same family as the SX-70 using SX-70 film. It was much less expensive and had many fewer features, however. It has a solid, instead of folding, body, with a simple direct viewfinder. According to The Land List, it has a single element 103mm f14.6 plastic, fixed focus, lens. Also according to that site, it has an electronic shutter with programmed auto exposure. A flash bar with ten flashes can be inserted on the top. The suggested retail price was $39.95, about $128 in 2005 dollars. Mine was purchased at a garage sale on July 3, 2005 for $5 with a Kodak Instamatic 304. Both cameras came with cases. It is in very good cosmetic condition. I have not tested it with film. The film pack includes the battery which would be necessary to test the shutter.|
|Franka Rolfix II (Large Image, Back View.) 1951-1957. Folding camera. "Made in Germany US Zone." Made by Franka Werke in Bavaria. See Franka Rolfix 6x9cm Folder Camera. 6cm x 9cm format using 120 film. There were three models: Rolfix, Rolfix II, and Rolfix Jr. The Rolfix II was the best of these three. Mine has a quality Synchro-Compur shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/500 seconds combined with a quality Rodenstock-Trinar, 105mm, f3.5 lens. (Closeup of lens.) Viewing is through a simple collapsible viewfinder on top of the camera. Focusing is achieved by moving a ring in front. You have to estimate the distance. These were sold through Montgomery Ward stores in the United States. The 1957 Wards Camera Catalog at page 40 lists the price of a Rolfix II as $34.47 which was a $8 cut from 1956. I assume it may have been a clearance since it was the last year it was sold. The "Leather Everyready Case" was $4.75. The 1956 price of $42.47 is about $325 in 2007 dollars! Mine was purchased at a San Carlos area of San Diego garage sale for $15 on 10-13-07 just a few blocks from my house. The seller acquired it as a present from his parents as a child. It is in good working and cosmetic condition. Comes with the every ready leather case and two filters. It still has film in it only on exposure 2. Since it uses 120 film, it is still a useable camera today. Good information at Alt-Toy and Vintage Camera (note the Rolfix II there differs in several ways from mine. I assume mine is older.) Camerapedia has extensive information on Franka Werke including a list with photos of its many camera models over the years. Owner's manual for all three Rolfix cameras is at www.butkus.org.|
|Rolleiflex Automat K4 (1949-1951) 6cm x 6cm twin lens reflex camera with Rolleikin back and insert to use 35mm film. Rolleiflex is the classic German twin lens reflex camera. Depending on the lens, some are sold for hundreds of dollars today. Generally the cameras with the f2.8 lenses go for much more than the cameras with the f3.5 lenses, although I believe all the Rolleiflex cameras have a reputation for excellent photographic quality. In addition to the Rolleiflex cameras, Rollei also made the less expensive, consumer oriented Rolleicord cameras. While still fine cameras, they lacked features such as the rapid wind crank. Rolleiclub is an excellent site with a comprehensive description of all of the Rolleiflex and Rolleicord cameras. In addition to twin lens reflex cameras, Rollei also made 35mm SLR, 126, 110, and medium form SLR cameras. I also acquired in 2008 a Rollei enlarger for free on Craigslist.
Instructions on use of the Rolleikin 35mm film adapter are at F. and S. Marriott Cameras. The instructions for the camera (or another similar Automat) are at butkus.org. Manufactured from October 1949 to May 1951 with serial numbers 1.100.000 to 1.168.000 according to Rolleiclub. Mine is serial number 1150810 falling within the range above. The dual film back was an option. The taking lens is a 7.5cm (75mm) Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar f3.5, serial number 3313209. F-stops from f3.5 to f22. Compur Rapid shutter with speeds from 1/500 second to 1 second plus bulb. Self timer. Made by Franke & Heidecke, Braunschwig, Germany. Comes with a cool mirrored twin folding lens caps, and leather case. The price for the similar, but later, Rolleiflex Automat with Zeiss Tessar f3.5 lens was $249.50 in the 1955 Sears Camera Catalog. Adjusted for inflation, that's equal to $1,977.61 in 2008 dollars. The same camera with a f3.5 Schneider Xenar lens was slightly less at $234.50. The Rolleiflex with a 2.8 lens was $299.50. The Rolleicord IV was only $149.50. The Rolleikin II 35mm Adapter was $35.78.
Purchased on 2-6-09 from an ad on Craigslist in the Pacific Beach/Mt. Soledad area of San Diego for $100, the asking price. The seller said it had belonged to his father. Shutter, aperture, focusing, and self timer all appear to work. The shutter speeds vary as they should although I have not tested the precise timing. The taking lens appears to be clear with no scratches or fungus. The viewing lens, which is not marked with the lens information, has some internal fungus on the edge. Looking into the viewing lens reveals that the mirror has significant areas where the silver covering has come off. The image through the viewfinder is still reasonably bright, however. The focusing screen appears to be in decent condition. It has a 9 rectangle grid pattern. The surface of the brown leather case is in decent condition, although the stitching on one side of the back has come completely apart. It also has a slight musty smell. The function and use of the camera is very similar to my two Yashica Mat cameras. The Yashica Mat 635, which I do not have, has a similar 35mm film adapter.
|Rolleiflex Automat K4A (Large Image) (June 1951 to March 1954) 6cm x 6cm twin lens reflex camera. It succeeds the Automat K4 above. Serial no. 1262363. According to www.rolleiclub.com, serial numbers 1.200.001 - 1.474.999 are from June 1951 to March 1954. That site also identifies it as an Automat K4A. The models are not specified on the cameras themselves. Mine has what I assume is an additional two prone flash synch connector which must have been added. The www.rolleiclub.com description of the Automat 4A refers to modifying for "Rolleiflash" so I assume modifications of the cameras could take place. I'm not sure whether this would have been done by Rollei or simply at a repair shop. Taking lens is a Zeiss-Opton Tessar 75mm f3.5 serial no. 901978. It appears to be clear except for two or three green spots on the inside of the front element. (See Close up of lens. Spots circled in red.) I'm not sure what they are. It's not like mold I have seen before on lenses. I would appreciate any thoughts readers might have. For example, is it easy to remove the front element and clean the lens with some alcohol? The viewing lens is a Heidosmat 75mm f2.8. It appears to be in good shape. The shutter is a Synchro-Compur. It works but hangs up on slower shutter speeds (1/25 and lower). Focus is fine. Cosmetically it shows wear but is in decent condition. Rolleiclub.com states "This model has a hinged dual format back with exposure guide." Mine does not appear to have a dual format back, however. An Automat Instruction Manual is at butkus.org. Purchased on 4-10-10 garage/estate sale in La Mesa, CA (Amaya Drive). I purchased this and a Yashica 44 LM for a total of $110. I also had to promise to take a Kodak disc camera! Prior to the seller bringing these cameras out I bought six 1950s vintage cameras for $30, the best being a Polaroid 110A.|
|Soligor Semi-Auto (circa 1956) 6cm x 6cm twin lens reflex camera. On the top it says "A.I.C." According to Camerapedia, A.I.C. stands for "Allied Impex Corporation" which was an American distributor that sold cameras and lenses from Japan under the name Soligor. According to Camerapedia, A.I.C. also imported Miranda cameras and took control of Miranda sometime in the 1960s. The Soligor Semi-Auto is listed in a 1956 U.S. Camera ad copied on flickr. The ad had three models of Soligor twin lens reflex cameras - the Model I at $34.95, the Model II at $47.95 and the Semi-Auto at $59.95. (The July 1956 Popular Photography Magazine in Google Books has the same ad.) $59.95 in 1956 has the same buying power as about $535 in 2017, enough to buy a good digital single lens reflex camera. The Soligor Semi-Auto has "semi-auto counter and film transport." I believe this means that it stops at the next frame when winding. There is a film counter above the focusing knob and in front of the film advance knob on the right side of the camera. You have to cock the shutter for it to fire. The shutter release in on the front, bottom, left of the camera from the photographer's perspective. The Soligor Semi-Auto has coated (abbreviated Ctd. in the ad) 80mm f3.5 taking and viewing lenses. The taking lens stops down to f22. Close focus is three feet. There are nine shutter speeds from 1 to 1/300 second. There was more than one version of the Semi-Auto. A WorthPoint page shows one with silver name lettering against a black background. (See also www.tlr66.com in Japanese, and Westfordcomp.com saying circa 1952 date.) My camera has an all silver color name plate. Another WorthPoint page shows one like mine. My camera is in good mechanical and cosmetic condition. Initially the shutter was slow to close at slow shutter speeds. It is fine after working the shutter a bit, however. The aperature works. There is a little peeling of the leatherette on top. It was dusty, but cleaned up well. I acquired it on March 29, 2017. It was a generous gift from a student's family.|
|Univex Iris (Large Image) (circa 1938) Date from Junk Store Cameras. Made by Universal Camera Corp. Described in an eBay listing as model C-79. Takes unique Univex No. 00 Ultrapan or Ultrachrome film. Each roll took six exposures. It had a paper backing and there is a green exposure count window in the back of the camera. The film is, of course, no longer made. As described at Junk Store Cameras you could try and fashion your own from modern 120 film. The frame size is about 30mm x 40mm and therefore is close to the size of Kodak 828 film. (See discussion of Kodak Bantam above.) The frame is therefore somewhat greater than that for 35mm film. It has a fixed focus 50mm f7.9 Ilex Vitar lens. (According to an eBay listing, it is an Ilex TBI shutter and Ilex lens.) Shutter speeds are T, B and I. According to the manual at Butkus.org the "I" speed is for snapshots and is about 1/25 of a second. Apertures are f7.9, f11, f16, f22. Retractable lens which you have to remember to pull out before shooting. (Photo shows it pulled out.) Tripod mount and cable release socket. Heavy, cast metal construction. It's somewhat larger than a Kodak Bantam. Cool art deco design. Mine was purchased as part of a collection of 35+ vintage consumer cameras for about $200 from an ad on Craigslist on 6-27-08 in Oceanside, CA. It is in good working and cosmetic condition. I have not tried it with film and don't think I have the patience to ever try it with film!|
|Meteor (Large Image) (circa 1947-1949) Another interesting design from Universal Camera Corporation which Camerapedia states was formed in 1932 by Otto W. Githens and Jacob J. Shapiro in New York City. Camerapedia indicates it was insolvent by 1952 but kept in business until 1964. The 1949 date for the Meteor is from The Virtual Camera Museum. There is also an April 1947 ad on eBay. The ad states that it has a streamlined design, coated lens, adjustable diaphragm, collapsible lens mount, rotary focusing mount, built-in lens shade, built-exposure meter - calculator, built-in synchronized flash, optical viewfinder, charger loading, tripod socket, and square pictures (6cm x 6cm negatives). It sold for "only $15.00!" Adjusted for inflation, $15 in 1947 has the same buying power as $145.79 in 2010 - or roughly ten times more. The case was $5.00. I'm usually surprised at how much cases were. A flash was $7. A label in the inside says it is covered by U.S. Patents 2 271 562 and 2 282 850. My camera is serial no. 3432. It is about 3.75 cm high, 12.6 cm wide and 7.8 cm deep. It weighs about 14.5 oz.|
For a simple camera, it has several controls. It has one shutter speed labeled I (instantaneous) and a B (bulb) setting. The Instruction Booklet is at butkus.org. It does not specify what the actual shutter speed is. The camera has four apertures of f/11, f/16, f/22 and f/32. There is also a focusing ring from 5 feet to infinity. The
The film advance knob is on top. There is a red window on the back to keep track of what exposure you are on. It takes 12 photos on 620 film. 620 film is the same size as 120 film but has a smaller diameter spool. While 620 film is not generally available today, you can rewind 120 film onto a 620 spool and use it in this camera. The back of the camera does not open. Rather, you move the lever on the bottom to open and then pull out the bottom which is part of the "loading chamber." You load the film onto the chamber and then slide the chamber back into the camera and close the latch on the bottom. You then wind the film until the 1 appears in the red exposure window on the back of the camera. Before taking a picture, you have to pull out the lens about 1.5cm. A little pin prevents you from pushing the shutter until you pull out the lens compartment.
The viewfinder window is on top. To the left is another window. This is for the "extinction meter." Until this camera, I was not aware of what an extinction meter was. The instruction book describes the meter as follows:
Once you have the meter number, the table on the top of the camera shows you what f/stop value to use for the film you are using. The table has four Weston film speeds of 25, 50, 100 and 200. Looking at the Camerapedia article on Film Speed, you increase the Weston speed by about 25% to get the ISO rating. I tried it briefly and it yielded approximately the same exposure as indicated by the "Sunny 16" rule, although I'm not sure exactly what the shutter speed is. Since extinction meters are purely optical, they do not have batteries. There were also more sophisticated hand held extinction meters. See Classic Light Meters - Photoethnography.com and How Does An Extinction Meter Work - Photo.net.
I purchased my Meteor at a La Mesa, CA (Dallas Street) garage sale on April 3, 2010. It was one of several cameras and photography items I purchased. Probably about $5 was allocated to this camera. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. It comes with the case which is also in good condition except for a broken strap. I think the case is some sort of fake leather.
|Yashica LM (circa 1956-1957) Twin lens reflex camera made in Japan. First released in October 1956 according to the very detailed Yashica 6x6 TLR Development History Site (near bottom of page). Uses 120 roll film producing 6cm x 6cm (2.25" x 2.25") negatives (actual size 5.5cm x 5.5cm). The taking lens is a Yashikor 80mm f3.5. The viewing lens is a Yashikor 80mm f3.5. Yashikor lenses started out as three element lenses. They get somewhat mixed reviews, but are generally regarded as fine. Later Yashikor lenses were 4 element lenses. Finally, Yashica used highly regarded 4 element Yashinon lenses in their twin lens reflex cameras. Yashikor or Yashinon concludes that the Yashikor three element lenses are fine, although if you are paying a lot and have a choice go with Yashinon. Copal-MX shutter. Shutter speeds of 1/300 second to 1 second. The shutter speeds are set by moving a lever on the taking lens with your right hand. The aperture is set by moving a similar lever on the taking lenses with the left hand. You focus using your left hand using the large knob on the left side (looking down on top of camera) of the camera. That knob also has a depth of field scale. You advance the film with your right hand using the winding knob on the right side of the camera. You fire the shutter release immediately below the taking lens on the right with your right hand. You have to cock the shutter first by pressing down the lever under the shutter speeds until it is just above the shutter release button. My shutter release isn't working right. Therefore, on my camera you have to press the shutter release and then press up on the shutter cocking lever. You lift the hood up to view and focus the image on the ground glass. The glass has 2x2 grid lines creating nine rectangles to aid in composing. You can put your eye up to the pop up magnifier for detailed viewing and focusing. Finally, for quick shots, you can look through the sports view finder. The LM stands for "Light Meter." The Selenium light meter is revealed when you pop up the little door with the YashicaLM name on the front. The light meter reading window is on the left side of the camera. The needle points to a "key number" which is an f-stop. As you look down at the camera there are three scales - shutter speed, aperture and film speed. You match the "key number"/aperture to the film speed on the film speed scale. The shutter speed scale and aperture scale then give you the shutter/aperture combinations that will yield correct exposure. Basically, the meter window gives you the aperture to use if you set the shutter speed to the ASA/ISO film speed. The scales show you other combinations which yield the same exposure. Yashicatlr.com has the two pages from the manual which explain how to meter and set the exposure. My meter responds to light and appears to be reasonably accurate. The needle is very hard to see, however. I believe the color may have faded with age. You open the camera to load the 120 film using the latch on the bottom. Yashicatlr.com also has two pages from the manual which explain how to load the film. Yashicatlr.com detailed information about minor changes made during the time of production of the Yashica LM. The Yashica LM was priced at $59.95. $59.95 in 1957 has the equivalent buying power as $496.09 in 2013, about the price of a entry level digital single lens reflex camera in 2013. The camera appeared as a new model on page 27 of the Montgomery Ward New 1957 Camera Shop with a price of $69.50 with a "free" case. The serial number of my camera is 117528. The number is located at the bottom of the film compartment near where the film is loaded. The taking lens has serial number 786543 and the viewing lens has serial number 775910. My camera was purchased at a Spring Valley, CA garage sale on June 1, 2013 for $10. My camera is in good operating and cosmetic condition except for the problem with the shutter button and the difficulty seeing the meter needle. The covering is good except for a very small area missing under the taking lens. The lenses appear to be free of scratches and mold. The viewfinder is a bit dusty. The camera unfortunately did not come with a case or the very cool Yashica metal lens caps. It does have a Rollei R1 filter that I assume is a UV or skylight filter.|
|Yashica-Mat LM (1958-1962) Twin lens reflex camera made in Japan. Uses 120 roll film producing 6cm x 6cm (2.25" x 2.25") negatives (actual size 5.5cm x 5.5cm). The taking lens is a Yashinon 80mm f3.5. The viewing lens is a Yashinon 80mm f3.2. Yashinon lenses are quality 4 element lenses. Copal-MXV shutter. Shutter speeds of 1/500 second to 1 second. The shutter speeds are set by turning a knob between the taking and viewing lenses with your right hand. The aperture is set by turning a similar knob between the taking and viewing lenses with the left hand. The aperture and shutter speed are shown in a small window immediately above the taking lens. You focus using your left hand using the large knob on the left side (looking down on top of camera) of the camera. That knob also has a depth of field scale. You advance the film with your right hand using the crank on the right side of the camera. You fire the shutter release immediately below the taking lens on the right with your right hand. One turn of the crank also cocks the shutter. You lift the hood up to view and focus the image on the ground glass. The glass has 5x5 grid lines. You can put your eye up to the pop up magnifier for detailed viewing and focusing. Finally, for quick shots, you can look through the sports view finder. The LM stands for "Light Meter." The Selenium light meter is immediately below the Yashica-Mat name. The needle points to an Exposure Value (EV). You then use the exposure scale on the focusing knob. After setting the ASA to the ASA of the film, you match the EV number with the red dot on the outside ring. Shutter and aperture combinations for correct exposure are then shown. It's cumbersome, but is relatively easy and logical once you get the hang of it. You open the camera to load the 120 film using the latch on the bottom. The instruction manual is available at kyphoto.com.
Mine was purchased in November 2008 for $100 with three other cameras and two large cases. This was the most valuable of the cameras. It is in good cosmetic and operating condition. The shutter and aperture both appear to work well. The meter works, although I think it may be reading a stop over-exposure. I will probably use a hand meter instead. It comes with a nice leather case in good condition. Truly a classic twin lens reflex patterned after the German Rolleiflex cameras. Even the lens cap is cool. It is a hinged, metal, one piece design covering both the taking and viewing lenses.
Yashica began making cameras in 1953 according to Yashica 6x6 TLR Development History. Yashica is noted for its Yashica-Mat twin lens reflex cameras, Yashica Electro 35mm rangefinder cameras, as well as autofocus compact 35mm cameras such as the Yashica T4 Super. (See Yashica section in the 35mm Rangefinder and Other section of Mr. Martin's Technology Museum.) In 1975 it also began producing cameras under the Contax name, which was a brand originally produced by Zeiss Icon. (Contax - Wikipedia.) Yashica became a subsidiary of Kyocera in 1983. Kyocera quit all production of cameras in 2005. (Kyocera - Wikipedia.)
|Yashica 44 LM (Large Image) (Circa 1961) Twin lens reflex camera made in Japan. The Yashica 44 was first introduced in 1958 following the introduction of the "Baby Rolleiflex" in 1957. These cameras use 127 roll film and produce 4cm by 4cm negatives. This gives a negative size between 120 roll film producing 6cm x 6cm (2.25" x 2.25") negatives (actual size 5.5cm x 5.5cm) and 35mm film producing 2.4mm x 3.6mm negatives. The smaller negative allowed for a smaller twin lens reflex camera with, of course, some decrease in the quality of the image due to the smaller size. The original Yashica 44 was followed by the Yashica 44A which was a less expensive version without the bayonet filter attachment. (Yashica 44 - Camerapedia.) The Yashica 44 LM was the final and more elaborate version with a light meter and an upgraded Yashinon 60mm f3.5 four element Tessar type taking lens. The prior Yashica 44 cameras used a 3 element Yashikor 60mm f/3.5 lens. The price of a Yahica 44 in the 1959 Sears Camera Catalog was $69.95. The price of Yahica 44A in the 1961 Montgomery Ward Camera Book (page 20) was $29.95. The Yashica 44 LM sold for $59.95 in the 1961 Montgomery Ward Camera Book (page 20). $59.95 in 1961 has the same buying power as $434.57 in 2010. The Yashica 44 LM was therefore not an inexpensive camera. The "Baby" Rolleiflex was only slightly more at $68.50. Curiously, there was a much greater price differential between Rolleiflex 6x6 cameras and Yashica 6x6 cameras. For example, a Rolleiflex F cost $279.45 while a Yashica Mat LM was only $79.95 in the 1961 Montgomery Ward Camera Book, page 21.
127 film was first introduced by Kodak in the 1920s. It made a comeback in the 1950s usually in inexpensive box type cameras. The Rolleiflex and the Yashica are higher quality exceptions. (See 127 film - Wikipedia.) The 4cm x 4cm format allowed the film to be inserted into 2 inch slide holders which could be projected using a standard 35mm slide projector. These slides were sometimes called "Super Slides." Kodak quit making 127 film in 1995 and most other manufacturers followed suit. It is now available again through a few sources including Frugal Photographer, B & H Photo and Freestyle Photographic Supplies. The Yashica 44 LM operates pretty much like the Yashica-Mat LM above.
I purchased mine on April 10, 2010 at a La Mesa, CA garage/estate sale on Amaya Drive. I paid $110 total for it and the Rolleiflex Automat K4A above. The Yashica 44 LM appears to be in excellent working and cosmetic condition. The lenses are clear. Shining a light through the viewing lens reveals that the mirror appears quite dusty, however. Sometime I may see how difficult it would be to clean that.
|Yashica Mat-124G (circa 1971-1986) Twin lens reflex camera made in Japan. Uses 120 or 220 roll film producing 6cm x 6cm (2.25" x 2.25") negatives (actual size 5.5cm x 5.5cm). The taking lens is a Yashinon 80mm f3.5. The viewing lens is a Yashinon 80mm f2.8. Yashinon lenses are quality 4 element lenses. Copal-SV shutter. Shutter speeds of 1/500 second to 1 second. Cds coupled match needle exposure meter (not through the lens). Operation is essentially the same as the Yashica-Mat LM above except the meter is easier to use. Takes 625 1.3 volt Mercury battery for meter. Since these are no longer available, I substitute a 1.5 volt 625A alkaline cell. Unlike the LM above, the pressure plate of the 124G and its predecessor 124 can be adjusted to accept either 120 or 220 roll film. I just about bought a new one in the mid 1980s. I think the price was around $175. They were then discontinued. There has been an active used market for the 124G since then. As I write this on December 28, 2008, there were 17 sales on eBay in the prior two weeks with the sales price ranging from $67.56 to $359 with a median price of $142.50 and a mean price of $175.17. They have therefore held their value in the past 22 years pretty well even with the switch to digital cameras. I purchased a used one from a camera shop in the 1989 for $169.95 plus $11.90 tax with a 90 day warranty. It turned out not to work. After considerable effort, I got my money back. I purchased my present one around the summer of 2007 in Oceanside, CA from an ad on Craigslist for $85. It is in excellent working and cosmetic condition. The instruction manual is available at Collection Reflex. The manual for the 124 is at Yashica Manuals. Also, I have a copy of a brochure I picked up when looking a new one in the mid 1980s. Many sites discuss the 124G and related cameras: Camerapedia, medfmt.8k.com - Yashica 124G, Matt's Classic Cameras (comparing the 124G and the prior 124 (1968-1971)), The Frugal Photographer (comparing Yashica TLR cameras with Rolleiflex and Rolleicord cameras, Shooting Nature with the Yashica Mat 124G, Mike Graham - Yashicamat. I purchased another Yashica Mat-124 G on October 25, 2015 at a La Mesa, CA garage sale. I purchased several cameras including the Yashica Mat-124G, a Minolta Autocord, a Beautycord TLR camera, a Zenit-E 35mm SLR, a Keystone A-7 16mm movie camera, a Nikon 80-200 f4.5 lens, a Tamron 35mm to 80mm f2.8-3.5 lens with adaptall mount for Nikon, and a wood case that fits everything for a total of $77.|