Photographic/Cinematic Collection

Below are photos of the vintage still and movie cameras, slide and movie projectors, accessories, film and photos in my collection. I try to find cameras with original boxes, cases and instruction manuals. I included photos of some but not all of those items that I have in my collection. For those cameras that didn't come with instruction manuals, I was able to download PDF versions from various online sites.

Seneca No. 7

Seneca Camera Mfg. Co, Rochester, NY
Production: 1906-1918
Type: Folding View
Film: 4” x 5” sheet film or coated glass plates
Lens: Wollensak f/8
Shutter: Wollensak Double Valve (dustproof), with bulb and tube attachment
Shutter speeds: 1 to 1/100 sec. plus B and T
Focus: Manual, ground glass or mounted range scale
Original Cost: $22.00 - $29.00

Seneca Camera Mfg. Co. was a camera maker based in the American photography capital Rochester, New York. The company was founded at the end of the 19th century. Its chiefs were the former superintendent at Kodak Camera Works Frank T. Day, president, William C. Whitlock, vice-president, and Lorin E. Mason. They bought the assets of the Sunart Company which was not very successful. Seneca itself managed to get a larger share of the American camera market. It made a series of simpler cameras for everybody, mainly the Scout series of box cameras and rollfilm folders and several big view cameras.

The name of the company was derived from the name of the Seneca-Iroquois Red Indians. A county in the state of New York was already named after them. Many ads and advertising brochures of the company showed Indians as eye-catchers.

The No. 7 was tailored for collegians, architects, contractors and businessmen. It was constructed of wood with dovetail corners and ebony finish. The bed was made of solid mahogany with ebony finish, covered in walrus grain leather and fitted with brass and nickel hardware. The bellows was made of black Russian leather lined with gossamer cloth. Features included a rising and falling front, revolving back with spring actuated ground glass panel for focusing, rack and pinion for fine focusing with locking device and a rotating brilliant view finder. It was available in 4 x 5, 3¼ x 5½ (postcard), 4¼ x 6½ and 5 x 7 inch sizes.

No. 1A Kodak Gift

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1930-1931
Type: Box
Film: 116 roll film
Lens: Meniscus Achromatic (fixed focus)
Shutter: Rotary
Original Cost: $15.00

The No. 1A Kodak Gift camera is a special edition of Kodak's No. 1A model. It has a Brown leather-covered body and brown bellows (many have since been replaced with a black bellows). The door panel and face plate have a geometric Art Deco design. The camera was sold with cardboard and cedar boxes with matching geometric Art Deco designs. The camera and boxes were designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, an American industrial designer, architect, illustrator, graphic designer, writer, and entrepreneur. He designed cameras for Kodak for over 30 years and also designed the first Polaroid camera for Edwin Land. There were only 10,000 No. 1A Kodak Gift cameras produced which makes them highly sought after by collectors especially if they include both original boxes.

Kodak No. 2A Beau Brownie

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1930-1933
Type: Folding
Film: 620 roll film
Lens: Doublet (fixed focus)
Shutter: Rotary
Original Cost: $5.25

Brownie is the name of a long-running popular series of simple and inexpensive cameras made by Eastman Kodak. The Brownie popularized low-cost photography and introduced the concept of the snapshot. The first Brownie, introduced in February, 1900, was a very basic cardboard box camera with a simple meniscus lens that took 2¼" square pictures on 117 rollfilm. With its simple controls and initial price of $1, it was intended to be a camera that anyone could afford and use, hence the slogan, "You push the button, we do the rest." The camera was named after the popular cartoons created by Palmer Cox.

The No. 2A Beau Brownie is a variation of the No. 2A Brownie which was manufactured in the U.S. and United Kingdom between 1930 and 1936. It has an Art Deco front plate designed by Walter Dorwin Teague. There were five different color options.

Kodak Six-16 Brownie

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1933-1941
Type: Box
Film: 616 roll film
Lens: Diway lens with close-up lens
Shutter: Rotary
Original Cost: $3.50

This camera has a covered metal body with two brilliant viewfinders. The front panel has a geometric Art Deco design.

Kodak Baby Brownie

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A. and Kodak U.K. Ltd.
Production: July 1934-1941 (U.S.), 1948-1952 (U.K.)
Type: Solid body roll film
Film: 127 roll film
Lens: Meniscus, fixed focus
Shutter: Rotary, simple spring
Original Cost (U.S. model): $1.00

The tiny Baby Brownie camera has a molded Art Deco Bakelite body designed by Walter Dorwin Teague and has a simple folding frame finder for lining up the subject. The U.S. made Baby Brownies, destined for export from 1936-1939, had a button for brief time exposures. Kodak U.K. Ltd. manufactured this camera for export only after World War II with the brief time button added only to these models from 1951 until it was discontinued in 1952.

Kodak Bullet

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: July 1936-1942
Type: Film: 127 roll film
Lens: Fixed focus
Shutter: Rotary, simple spring
Original Cost: $2.00

The Kodak Bullet was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague in his characteristic Art Deco style with heavy horizontal ribs. It has a Bakelite body and a helical telescoping front. There was a special edition Bullet camera produced to commemorate the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and 1940. It is the standard Bullet with the addition of a special metal faceplate, also designed by Teague, and name plate featuring the Fair’s Trylon and Perisphere logo. Reportedly 10,000 units of the Fair edition were sold through dealers and at the Fair for $2.00.

Kodak Junior Six-16

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: ca. 1935-1937
Type: Folding
Film: 616 roll film
Lens: Kodak Anastigmat f/6.3 126mm
Shutter: No. 1 Kodex
Shutter Speeds: 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 sec., T, B
Original Cost: $12.00

A number of variations of the Kodak Six Junior Six-16 were built under the same name. The German built design was in production ca.1935-37. It has a round end and straight struts, a Kodak Anastigmat f/7.7, 120mm lens and a leather case. It has two frame finders - the first a folding finder incorporated into its housing and another optical finder was placed near the shutter. It also has a quick release bar at the front of the bed which released the self-erecting bed. It took 6 exposures of 2½” x 4¼” images on a single roll of 616 film.

The United Kingdom built design was in production ca.1933-40. It was practically identical to the German built model but only had a simple Twindar Lens.

My camera is the U.S. built design in production ca.1935-37. It has all of the features of its Continental cousins with the lens being an octagonal ended, Kodak Anastigmat f/6.3, 126mm, a No 1 Kodex shutter and further differentiated from its cousins by the "N" style.

Zeiss Ikon Maximar 207/1

Zeiss Ikon AG, Dresden, Germany
Production: ca. 1929-1939
Type: Folding Plate
Film: 9 x 12cm sheet film
Lens: Dominar f/6.3 135mm
Shutter: Compur II
Shutter Speeds: 1/10 - 1/200 sec., T, B

Zeiss Ikon was founded in 1926 by the merger of Contessa-Nettel, Goerz, Ernemann and Ica, which itself was the product of a merger of Huttig, Krugener, Wunsche, Zulauf and Carl Zeiss Palmos factory. Quite a bit of history is wrapped up into this company. One disgruntled employee, Dr. August Nagel, left to form his own company, the Nagel Camera Works. It was later purchased by Eastman Kodak, and became Kodak A.G., the source of all of the Retinas, and many other high quality Kodak cameras.

Introduced in 1914 by Ica, the Maximar became very popular after the Zeiss Ikon merger. It was a good quality folding plate camera, drop bed style, with double extension bellows, rise and fall, plus shift front movements, brilliant finder with built in spirit finder and a wire frame finder on the larger two models. It was available in three sizes.

Agfa Ansco PB20 Plenax

Agfa Ansco Corp., Binghamton, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1934-1938
Type: Folding
Film: Agfa PB20 Rollfilm (Kodak 620)
Lens: Antar Acromatic f/14 75mm
Shutter: Wollensak Plenax
Shutter Speeds: 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 sec., T, B

The origins of Agfa (the Aktien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation company) can be tracked to 1867. In 1925, as a part of temporary merger into IG Farben, Agfa received the Rietzschel company. Later, in 1928, AGFA merged with an American company, Ansco which was result of a merger between E. and H.T. Anthony & Co. and Scovill & Adams in 1902. Its name was Anthony and Scovill until 1907. The resulting company, Agfa Ansco, continued with production of models from both the Ansco and Agfa lines. In 1939, the company changed its name to GAF (General Aniline & Film), but the Agfa and Ansco brands were not dropped. In 1943, Agfa split off from GAF, and GAF continued to manufacture Ansco cameras until 1967.

The Agfa Ansco PB20 Plenax was a very popular camera and affordable to the average American. I like the simple Art Deco design on the sides.

Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic

Graflex Inc., Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1912-1973 (ca. 1948)
Type: Folding/Large Format/View/Rangefinder
Film: 4 X 5" sheet film
Viewfinders: Ground glass, wire frame and optical
Focus: Ground glass, scale and Kalart synchronized rangefinder
Lens: Graflex Optar (X) f/4.7 135mm coated
Shutters: Focal plane and Wollensak front shutter
Focal Plane Shutter Speeds: 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 sec, T
Front Shutter Speeds: 1 – 1/400 sec, B, T
Back: Graphic (spring), Graflock (removable spring) or Graflex (removable)
Flash: Battery-powered, synchronized, bulb
Cost (1947): $250.00

The Speed Graphic is commonly called the most famous press camera. Although Speed Graphics were produced from 1912 to 1973, the most significant improvements occurred in 1947 with the introduction of the Pacemaker Speed Graphic (and Pacemaker Crown Graphic, which is one pound lighter but lacks the focal plane shutter). It was standard equipment for many American press photographers until the mid-1980s.

Despite the common appellation of the various Speed Graphic models produced over the years by six different companies, the authentic Speed Graphic has a focal plane shutter that the Crown Graphic and Century Graphic models lack. The Speed Graphic was available in 2¼ X 3¼”, 3¼ X 4¼”, 3½ X 5½”, 5 X 7” and the famous 4 X 5”. Because of the focal plane shutter (backshutter), the Speed Graphic can also use barrel lenses.

The Speed Graphic was a slow camera. Each exposure required the photographer to change the film sheet, focus the camera, cock the shutter, and press the shutter. Faster shooting can be achieved with the Grafmatic film holder, which is a six sheet film "changer" that holds each sheet in a septum. Photographers had to be conservative and anticipate when the action was about to take place to take the right picture.

Perhaps the most famous Speed Graphic user was New York City press photographer Arthur "Weegee" Fellig, who covered the city in the 1930s & '40s. The 1942-1954 Pulitzer Prizes for photography were taken with Speed Graphic cameras, including AP photographer Joe Rosenthal's image of Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Rolleiflex Automat 6x6 Model K4A

Franke & Heidecke, Braunschweig, Germany
Production: 1951-1954 (1951)
Type: Twin Lens Reflex
Film: 120 roll film
Taking Lens: Zeiss Opton Tessar f/3.5 75mm
Finder Lens: Heidoscop Anastigmat f/2.8 75mm
Shutter: Compur Rapid
Shutter Speeds: 1 - 1/500 sec., T, B, self timer, X sync.

The introduction in of the first Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex(TLR) in 1929 was a sensation - an ingenious yet simple principle that quickly made the Rolleiflex THE must have professional camera all over the world. Producing high quality 6x6cm square negatives in a compact very easy to operate camera, with the best lens available.

There was no photographer who would not master one, no apprentice who would not wish to own one. For the professional, the Rolleiflex was like a gift from heaven, it meant a radical change in his/her creative work. Being able to work fast with a large size negative, light weight and superior quality made the choice as simple as important. There was no newspaper, no magazine, no photographic book that would not have some Rolleiflex photos in their publications. For decades, Rolleiflex cameras would have a decisive effect on photographic history. Many world-famous images originated from that small piece of fine mechanical art made in the Franke and Heidecke factory in Braunschweig, Germany.

I put this camera through its paces with a roll of Kodak 120 film and the photos came out great.

Kodak Retina 117

Kodak A.G., Stuttgart, Germany
Production: 1934-1935
Type: Compact Folding
Film: 35mm
Lens: Schneider Kreuznach Xenar f/3.5 5cm
Shutter: Compur
Shutter Speeds: 1 - 1/300 sec., T, B
Original Cost: $57.50

Retina was the name of a long-running series of German-built Kodak 35mm cameras. Retinas were manufactured by Kodak A.G. in what had previously been the Dr. August Nagel Kamerawerk factory in Stuttgart, Germany. Kodak purchased Nagel Kamerawerk in 1931 and sold cameras manufactured there under the Kodak nameplate. Retinas were noted for their compact size, quality, and low cost compared to their competitors and retain a strong following today. The original Retina model 117 was introduced in 1934. The Retina line continued until 1969 with a variety of folding and nonfolding models, including the Retina Reflex SLR.

One of the more important camera's from history, the model 117 Retina introduced the world to 35mm film wound into a "Daylight Loading Cartridge". Although cameras utilizing the 35mm movie film already existed (most famously Ernst Leitz's Leica), it was Kodak who thought of packaging up a convenient length into a daylight loading cartridge, called the 135 format and kicked off the 35mm revolution. The Retina 117 was the launch camera for this film. The 117 is identified easily as it has the wind on release knob on top of the housing next to the advance wheel and is the only Retina to ever have this. The model 117 was replaced by the 118 within a year, so production was quite short lived.

Kodak Bantam Special

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1936-1948
Type: Rangefinder
Film: 828 roll film
Lens: Anistigmat Ektar (uncoated) f/2 45mm
Shutter: Compur Rapid
Shutter Speeds: 1 - 1/500 sec., T, B
Original Cost: $110.00

With Art Deco styling by Walter Dorwin Teague, the Kodak Bantam Special is one of the most beautiful camera designs ever. The Special's clam shell styling enabled it to become a truly pocketable, and practical carry everywhere camera. It measures only 3 3/16" x 4 13/16" x 1 13/16" deep (81x124x45mm) and weighs in at a petite 17oz. Its machined aluminum body is remarkably elegant, having a beautiful black enamel finish.

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash Model (with complete outfit)

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1950-1961 (1961)
Type: Box
Film: 620 roll film
Lens: Single element meniscus
Shutter: Rotary, simple spring w/sliding aperture disc
Shutter Speeds: Approximately 1/30 sec., B
Original Cost: $7.00

This Art Deco beauty is made of molded bakelite and is one of the most popular Brownie cameras made. My family may have used a similar model to take hundreds of square photos we have from the 50's and 60's. 620 film is no longer produced but it is possible to modify a spool of 120 film so that it fits in the camera. I plan to try that as this simple "point and shoot" camera is capable of taking great photos.

Kodak Instamatic 304

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1965-?
Type: Point and Shoot
Film: 126 Cartridge
Lens: Kodar f/8 41mm
Shutter Speeds: 1/90 sec. (and 1/40 sec. for flash)
Original Cost: $44.50

This camera had a then-sophisticated automatic aperature system controlled by a selenium meter and was one of the first cameras to use flash cubes. I had a Kodak Instamatic 304 when I was about 11 or 12 and I don't know what happened to it. I recently purchased this one and it will be a "shelf sitter" as 126 film cartridges are no longer produced.

Ansco Autoset

Manufactured by Minolta and marketed by Ansco, Binghamton, New York
Production: 1961-?
Type: Fully Automatic
Film: 35mm
Lens: Rokkor f/2.8 45mm
Shutter Speeds: 1/30th to 1/800th sec. with automatic setting, B
Original Cost: Approximately $89.95

The Ansco brand name dates from the merger in 1901 of two American photography firms, E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. and Scovill Manufacturing. In 1907, the company now known as the Anthony & Scovill Co., producers of photographic films, papers, and cameras, officially changed their name to Ansco. In 1928, Ansco (based in Binghamton, New York) merged with the German photographic company Agfa to form the Agfa-Ansco Corporation which soon came under the control of the German chemical conglomerate IG Farben; the following year Agfa-Ansco's holding company name was changed to American IG Chemical Corporation, although their products retained the Agfa-Ansco brand name. In 1939, American IG was merged with General Aniline to form General Aniline & Film (GAF) with Agfa-Ansco becoming a subsidiary of GAF. Agfa-Ansco's German connections became an issue with the entrance of the United States into World War II, and in 1941 the US government seized GAF's American interests (including Agfa-Ansco) as enemy property. In 1944, "Agfa" was dropped from the name to become the Ansco Division of GAF. The US government continued to run the company for the next twenty years, with GAF not becoming a public firm until 1965. By the late 1970s the Ansco Company had ceased the manufacture of film and was effectively dead; in 1978 GAF sold the rights to the Ansco trademark name to a Hong Kong firm which produced the last Ansco brand cameras in the early 1990s.

The Ansco Autoset model was manufactured for Ansco by the Japanese camera company Minolta, being essentially the same design as the Minolta Hi-Matic. The Autoset had similar features of the Ansco Anscoset, except it did not have the match-needle metering adjustment as it was fully automatic. The Camera was fitted with a Rokkor f2.8 45mm lens and a shutter providing speeds from 1/30th to 1/800th of a second with automatic setting. A single dial sets itself automatically for perfect flash exposures. Other features included a rapid-wind film advance lever located on the top and a coupled rangefinder-viewfinder.

Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. took the first human-captured, color still photographs of the Earth during his three-orbit mission aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, with a modified Ansco Autoset camera. To produce an apparatus suitable for outer space, NASA purchased several cameras from a local drugstore and made numerous modifications, including milled components for reduced payload weight and a coat of black paint. Now oriented upside down for left hand operation (Glenn’s right hand was needed to fly the spacecraft), the customized camera was fitted with an auxiliary viewfinder (Glenn was wearing a helmet and could not get his eye close to the built-in viewfinder), as well as a large film advance lever and a pistol grip that accommodated access by space-gloved hands.

Falcon Miniature

Utility Manufacturing Company, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Production: ca. 1939-?
Type: Fixed Focus
Film: 127 roll film (half frame)
Lens: Graf fixed aperture 50mm
Shutter: Simple spring rotary
Shutter Speeds: 1/25 sec., T

The Utility Manufacturing Company was founded in New York in 1934, and offered several camera lines, including folding cameras and box cameras. Its main camera brand was Falcon, a name particularly associated with a line of "half frame" 3×4cm cameras for 127 film . These were molded bakelite cameras in an eye-level style quickly becoming popular in other "minicams" of the day, such as the Argus A.

Leica III (Model F)

Earnst Leitz, GmbH, Wetzlar, Germany
Production: 1933-1939 (1938)
Type: Rangefinder
Film: 35mm
Lens: Elmar f/3.5 50mm
Shutter: Leica
Shutter Speeds: 1 - 1/500 sec., T

The first Leica prototypes were built by Oskar Barnack at Ernst Leitz Optische Werke, Wetzlar, Germany in 1913. Intended as a compact camera for landscape photography, particularly during mountain trips, the Leica was the first practical 35mm camera that used standard cinema 35mm film. The Leica transports the film horizontally, extending the frame size to 24×36 mm, with a 2:3 aspect ratio, instead of the 18×24 mm that cinema cameras use, as they transport the film vertically.

The Leica went through several iterations, and in 1923 Barnack convinced his boss, Ernst Leitz II, to make a pre-production series of 31 cameras for the factory and outside photographers to test. Though the prototypes received a mixed reception, Ernst Leitz decided in 1924 to produce the camera. It was an immediate success when introduced at the 1925 Leipzig Spring Fair as the Leica I (for Leitz camera).

The Leica II came in 1932, with a built in rangefinder coupled to the lens focusing mechanism. This model had a separate viewfinder (showing a reduced image) and rangefinder. In 1932 the flange to filmplane was standarised to 28.8mm, first implemented on Leica model C, and the Leica Standard the following year.

The Leica III added slow shutter speeds down to 1 second, and the model IIIa (which came AFTER my Model F - I know, it's confusing) added the 1/1000 second shutter speed. The IIIa was the last model made before Barnack’s death, and therefore the last model for which he was wholly responsible. Leitz continued to refine the original design through to 1957. The final version, the IIIg, included a large viewfinder with several framelines. These models all had a functional combination of circular dials and square windows.

Early Leica cameras bear the initials D.R.P., which stands for Deutsches Reichspatent, the name for German patents before May 1945. This is probably a reference to German patent No. 384071 "Rollfilmkamera" granted to Ernst Leitz, Optische Werke in Wetzlar, on 3 November 1923.

I shot a roll of black and white film shortly after purchasing this camera. The photos came out OK but I took it to the local camera store owned by a couple originally from Germany who sent it to "an older man who is one of the few remaining people certified to work on vintage Leicas". I got an estimate of almost $500 to do a CLA and fix several problems. I'll hold off on that for now.

Zeiss Ikon Contax II

Zeiss Ikon AG, Dresden, Germany
Production: 1936-1942 (1939)
Type: Rangefinder
Film: 35mm
Lens: Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar
Shutter: focal-plane
Shutter Speeds: B, ½ - 1/1250 second

The Contax II first released in 1936 is among the most well-known 35mm cameras ever made. It is difficult to overstate the level of quality that Zeiss achieved with the Contax II, and equally as difficult to overstate its pivotal role in the future development of all 35mm cameras that followed. At the time of its introduction, the Contax II had only one peer in the world that would be considered of the same importance: the Leica III.

The standard of quality achieved by Zeiss extended from the fit and finish of the camera to the unsurpassed imaging capability of the lenses and system equipment available. Many photographers consider the 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar lens to be among the greatest lenses ever made. The Contax II was widely used by photojournalists and other professional photographers throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and continues to have a strong following to this day. Variants and derivatives of the Contax II were made by other companies up until the late 1980s.

The shutter system of the Contax II was completely changed from the Contax I, eliminating much of the notorious unreliability of the earlier camera. It’s a focal-plane shutter, although unlike the Leica cameras of the time, the shutter runs vertically across the film, rather than along the length of the film. The shutter also differs in that the Contax shutter is made up of two metal blinds, each made of separate metal slats, interlinked like those on an industrial roller-shutter door.

The Contax II was the first camera to incorporate a rangefinder focusing system into the same viewfinder that was used to compose the photograph (earlier built-in rangefinders such as was used on the contemporary Leica required the photographer to first focus with the rangefinder and then switch to a separate viewfinder to compose the photo). The broad rangefinder base (distance between rangefinder windows) of 90mm allowed more accurate focusing than other contemporary cameras. The Contax II famously included a top shutter speed of 1/1250th of a second, besting the rival Leica’s top speed of 1/500th of a second, and being one of the first cameras to achieve a top shutter speed above 1/1000th of a second.

Argus C3 Colormatic

Argus Cameras, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan U.S.A.
Production: 1939-1966
Type: Rangefinder
Film: 35mm
Lens: Argus Coated Cintar (3 element) f/3.5 50mm
Shutter: Leaf
Shutter Speeds: 1/10 - 1/300 sec., B
Original Cost: $49.25 (1954)

Argus was an American maker of cameras and photographic products, founded in 1936 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Argus originated as a subsidiary of the International Radio Corporation (IRC), founded by Charles Verschoor. The company's Model A was the first low-cost 35 mm camera in the United States. Argus was acquired by Sylvania in 1959 and sold off in 1969, by which time it had ceased camera production (some rebadged cameras continued to be sold under the Argus name through the 1970s).

Principally designed by Dr. Gustave Fassin, the C3 was the best-selling (2 million sold) 35mm camera in the world for nearly three decades, and helped popularize the 35mm format. Due to its shape, size, and weight, it is commonly referred to as "The Brick" by photographers (in Japan its nickname translates as "The Lunchbox"). The profusion of knobs, gears, buttons, levers, and dials on the camera lent it a "scientific" look that was found in customer surveys to be one of the things buyers most liked about the camera.

This camera was donated to my collection by Des Bonnington.

Univex Mercury II (Model CX)

Universal Camera Corporation, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1945-?
Type: Rangefinder
Film: 35mm (half frame)
Lens: Tricor f/2.7 35mm
Shutter: Rotary focal plane
Shutter Speeds: 1/20 - 1/1000 sec., T, B plus F hot sync

The Universal Camera Corporation found great success in the early/mid-1930s by selling very inexpensive cameras and film. By the late ’30s, however, the camera-buying public was increasingly interested in high-end imports such as the Leica and Contax lines—the simple plastic still cameras offered by Universal up to that point were no competition.

Universal rectified the matter in October of 1938 with the release of the Univex Mercury (Model CC). Cast from an aluminum alloy and covered with leather, the Mercury was not only unlike anything Universal had offered before, it was actually a revolutionary achievement in the industry. It had a unique rotary shutter (responsible for the circular protrusion on top of the camera), capable of extremely accurate speeds up to 1/1000th of a second. It was also the first camera to have internal flash synchronization, known today as the hot shoe.

The Mercury II (Model CX) was a postwar reincarnation of the Mercury Model CC. It was made of different materials and modified to accept 35mm film.

ФЭД-2 (FED 2)

Production: 1946-?
Type: Rangefinder
Film: 35mm
Lens: Industar-26m f/2.8 50mm
Shutter: Rubberized silk double cloth curtain
Shutter Speeds: 1/25 - 1/500 sec., B

Early FED models are almost exact copies of Leica cameras from that period. The name FED comes from the initials of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, a Soviet statesman and a prominent member of the Polish and Russian revolutionary movements. It was his name that was given to the labour commune at Kharkiv (Ukraine) whose manager, Anton Makarenko, encouraged a workshop education for indigent children and who decided to copy the Leica in 1932.

Voigtländer Vito B

Voigtländer A.G. Braunschweig, West Germany
Production (small viewfinder model): 1954-1957
Type: Viewfinder
Film: 35mm
Lens: Color-Skopar f/3.5 50mm
Shutter: Pronto shutter, cocking-type
Shutter Speeds: 1/25 - 1/250 sec., B

Voigtländer was founded by Johann Christoph Voigtländer in Vienna in 1756 and is thus the oldest name in cameras. It produced the Petzval photographic lens (the fastest lens at that time: f/3.7) in 1840, and the world's first all-metal daguerreotype camera (Ganzmetallkamera) in 1841, also bringing out plate cameras shortly afterwards. It set up a branch office in Braunschweig in 1849, moving its headquarters there later. The company issued stock in 1898, and a majority of the shares were acquired by Schering in 1925.

Over the next three decades, Voigtländer became a technology leader and the first manufacturer to introduce several new kinds of product that later became commonplace. These include the first zoom lens for 35mm still photography (36–82/2.8 Zoomar) in 1960 and the first 35mm compact camera with built-in electronic flash (Vitrona) in 1965.

Schering sold its share of the company to the Carl Zeiss Foundation in 1956, and Zeiss and Voigtländer integrated in 1965. In 1972 Zeiss/Voigtländer stopped producing cameras, and a year later Zeiss sold Voigtländer brand to Rollei. On the collapse of Rollei in 1982, Plusfoto took over the name, selling it in 1997 to Ringfoto. Since 1999, Voigtländer-branded products have been manufactured and marketed by Cosina.

The Vito B body existed in two versions, the first one (1954-57) had a 4-speed Pronto shutter and a small viewfinder and low profile top plate. The later version (1957-60) had an 8-speed Prontor SVS shutter and a larger bright-frame viewfinder. While brighter and more useful than the original Vito B's viewfinder, some enthusiasts feel that this spoiled the appearance of the camera.

Stereo Realist Model 1041 (ST-41)

The camera shown with the Stereo Realist ST-61 "Red Button" stereo slide viewer

David White Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Production: 1947-1971
Type: Stereo Rangefinder
Film: 35mm
Lenses (2): Ilex Paragon Coated (3 element) Anastigmat f/3.5 50mm
Shutter: Behind-the-lens, gear-retarded, synchronized, cocking-type
Shutter Speeds: 1 - 1/150 sec., B, T
Original Cost: $160

Seton Rochwite was a camera hobbyist who began designing and building his own stereo cameras in 1929. In 1938, he began work on one that would be suitable for commercial manufacture; he built the first prototype in 1940. He brought it to the David White Company of Milwaukee who, interested in the design, hired him in 1943. The company began advertising the "Stereo Realist" in photography magazines in 1945, although it would not end up being produced until late 1947.

The David White Company had great success marketing the Stereo Realist system to the public. In addition to the stereo cameras there were special slide viewers, projectors, film cutters, slide mounting aids, cases, and other accessories available. They also offered a stereo slide mounting service. Several camera models were offered over the years, some with premium lenses and features. The basic camera architecture was shared among all the variants.

The Stereo Realist system proved so popular that several companies, such as Revere, Bell and Howell, Three Dimension Company (TDC) and Kodak came out with their own cameras using the same format. Some of the competitors’ offerings had features that the Realist lacked and/or were easier to use, and most were less expensive but none were as popular. The Kodak stereo camera in particular, which was both less expensive and easier to use, might have outsold the Realist, had it been released prior to the end of 1954.

The Stereo Realist camera was a camera that attracted celebrities throughout the 50s. The most notable user of the camera was silent film star, Harold Lloyd, who used the camera to do portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page, among others.

By the mid-1950s the public's fascination with stereo imaging faded, and by 1960 the Stereo Realist was the only stereo camera of the 1950s era that was still manufactured. Realist production limped on at much reduced numbers throughout the 1960s and finally ceased in 1971. The David White Company, which in the 1950s changed its name to "Realist inc.", changed it back in 1990.

The Realist uses standard 135 film. The unusual proportions of the slides (the image was 5 sprockets wide) became the standard for 3-D slides, and is known as "5P" or "Realist Format". It marked a significant milestone in stereoscopy. The arrangement of images on the film (1L-blank-2L-1R-3L-2R-4L...) seemed arbitrary but allowed for a simple film advance mechanism with little film wastage. A special accessory was available that used the otherwise blank frame near the start of the roll to identify the roll, though the procedure for using it was rather elaborate. Examples of a 5P strip and mounted slides are shown near the end of this page.

Yashica Electro 35 GT

Yashica Co., LTD. Tokyo, Japan
Production: 1970-1973
Type: Rangefinder
Film: 35mm
Lens: Color-Yashinon DX f/1.7 45mm
Shutter: Electronic Copal leaf
Shutter Speeds: 30 - 1/500 sec., B, X-flash sync, self-timer

I bought an Electro 35 GT in 1970 when I lived in Japan. It was stolen from my house about 15 years later and I replaced it with this near-mint example which came with the complete kit including telephoto and wide angle lenses. The original battery used in this camera is no longer available but by putting a spacer in the battery compartment, a current equivalent voltage battery works. I took a roll of film with this camera and it worked fine.

Ihagee Exakta VX (v. 4.2)

Ihagee Kamerawerk Steenbergen & Co., Dresden, former East Germany
Production: 1950 - 1956 (V. 4.2 produced 1952-1953)
Type: SLR
Film size: 35mm
Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8 T
View Finder: SLR penta-prism finder, interchangeable with waist level finder
Focus: Fresnel matte glass screen, rangefinder split images on the center
Shutter: Focal plane double cloth shutter, horizontally running
Fast Speeds: 1/25 – 1000 sec. + T, B
Slow Speeds: 1/5 – 12 sec.
Flash: Two pairs of old type two-pin PC sockets for M and X, synch 125
Original Cost (1953): $385.00 (with 50mm f/1.5 lens)

Ihagee was founded in Dresden, Germany in 1912 by a Dutchman named Johan Steenbergen as Industrie-und Handelsgesellschaft which stands for Industry and Trade Society. Often referred to by the nickname IHG, the company name was eventually shortened to Ihagee Kamerawerk since Ihagee is pronounced the same in German as saying “I H G”.

The Exakta was in production from 1933 to 1970. It was notable as being the first ever Single Lens Reflex camera for both 127 roll film (1933), and 135 format 35mm film (1936). It was also the first camera to have a wind on lever (1934), and the first camera to ever have a shutter activated flash socket (1935).

In 1950, the Exakta Varex was released. The big deal with the Varex name was that the waist level viewfinder was removable and in its place an optional pentaprism eye-level finder could be installed. You can easily tell a Varex from a non Varex model by the presence of the release lever on the front nameplate of the camera. This was significant as it meant that the Exakta could be used in both waist-level and eye-level configurations. It wouldn’t be until Nikon’s F in 1959 that interchangeable viewfinders would become a popular option.

Ihagee never made lenses of its own brand for the Exakta cameras. Many of the major optical firms produced lenses for them, including Carl Zeiss Jena, Meyer, Schneider-Kreuznach, E.Ludwig and many others.

At one time, the expensive Exakta line was the most popular line of SLR cameras in the world. It was the camera of choice for professional medical and astronomy photography. It would eventually lose ground to Japanese marques like Nikon and Canon in the early 1960s.

An Exakta Varex VX was used by Jimmy Stewart's character in the 1954 motion picture "Rear Window." In the film, his character attaches a Kilfitt Fern-Kilar f/5.6 400mm lens to the Exakta body so as to be able to see his neighbors out his apartment's rear window better. However, the Exakta name on the front of the camera was covered over with black tape so that it would not show.

Asahi Pentax SP (Spotmatic)

Type: Single-lens Reflex
Film size: 35mm
Lens (standard): Asahi Optic Co. Super-Takumar 1:1.8/55
Shutter: Focal plane
Shutter speeds: 1 to 1/1000 sec., flash sync 1/60 sec.
Lens Mount: 42mm Pentax/ Praktica universal screw mount (M42)
Focus: Manual
Exposure Metering: Through-the-lens center-weighted measurement

The company that would become Pentax was founded in 1919 as Asahi Kogaku Kogyo G.K. It was originally an optical company, beginning by making glasses under the Aoco brand (presumably the acronym of Asahi Optical Company), and made its first Aoco projection lens in 1923. It began to produce camera lenses in the early 1930s. These lenses were not marked as made by Asahi and were produced for various camera models made by other makers. From the mid-1930s to the end of World War II the company was also the main supplier of Molta, then Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko (predecessors of Minolta), whose cameras were equipped with Coronar and Promar lenses.

The company changed status in 1938, becoming Asahi Kogaku Kogyo K.K. or Asahi Optical Co. based in Tokyo. The first camera produced by Asahi, made as a prototype in 1951 and released in 1952, was the Asahiflex, which was also the first Japanese 35mm SLR. One of the models of the Asahiflex series, the Asahiflex IIb, was the first 35mm SLR to have an instant-return mirror, thus solving the problem of mirror blackout that had plagued SLRs up to that time (early SLRs left the mirror in its "up" position until the camera was wound for the next shot, blacking out the viewfinder).

Early Pentax cameras were sold in the USA stamped with the name Tower, the house brand of Sears Roebuck & Co., and many others carry the name Heiland, which was the importer and distributor in the USA. Heiland was later acquired by Honeywell until the partnership ended in 1976.

In July 2011 Ricoh announced its intentions to purchase the Pentax photographic equipment business from Hoya (which, however, would retain some Pentax-branded medical product lines, etc.). In August of 2013 the name of the company was changed to Ricoh Imaging. It was announced that the Ricoh branding would be used on compact cameras, while Pentax-branded products would be the DSLRs, interchangeable-lens compact cameras, and binoculars.

The Asahi Pentax SP, commonly referred to as the Spotmatic was introduced in 1964. It was the first production model of their 1960 prototype, the world’s first SLR with through-the-lens metering (TTL). In the U.S., the camera was imported by Honeywell and carried their name on the pentaprism. The SP body eventually became the K-1000, a favorite of the high school and college photography student due to its relatively modest cost, simplicity, and all-manual controls generally required by photography instructors. Ringo Starr used this camera as well.

Nikon FTn

Nippon Kogaku K.K., Tokyo, Japan
Production (Nikon F): 1959-1973 (1969)
Type: Single-lens Reflex
Film: 35mm
Lens (standard): Nikkor S f/1.4 50mm
Shutter: Dimpled titanium-foil focal plane
Shutter Speeds: 1 to 1/1000 sec., B, self-timer
Original Cost (Nikon F, 1959): $359.50

Founded in 1917 after the consolidation of three companies, Nippon Kogaku K.K. (forerunner of Nikon) was established in Tokyo as a munitions optical instrument shop to meet the needs of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The Nikon F camera, introduced in April 1959, was Nikon's first SLR camera. It was one of the most advanced cameras of its day. Although many of the concepts had already been introduced elsewhere, it was revolutionary in that it was the first to combine them all in one camera. It was produced until October 1973 when it was replaced by the F2.

The Nikon F was enormously successful and showed the superiority of the SLR and of the Japanese camera manufacturers. It was the first SLR system to be adopted and used seriously by the general population of professional photographers, especially by those photographers covering the Vietnam War because of its durability.

The first Nikon F Photomic viewfinder which had an independent photocell was produced in 1962. Nikon later introduced the Photomic T (superseded by the Photomic Tn), which featured through-the-lens metering. The final metering prism for the Nikon F, the Photomic FTn, introduced in 1968, provided 60% center-weighted TTL which became the standard metering pattern for Nikon cameras for decades afterwards.

Nikkormat EL

Nippon Kogaku K.K., Tokyo, Japan
Production: 1972-1976 (1975)
Type: Single-lens Reflex
Film: 35mm
Lens: Nikkor f/1.4 50mm
Shutter: Electronic Copal leaf
Shutter Speeds: 4 - 1/1000 sec., B, X-flash sync, self-timer
Cost: $350.00 (Base Exchange price)

"EL" signified an integration of "Electronics" and "Light". It was a more affordable version of the Nikon F series also made by Nippon Kogaku. This is the original camera, lens (Vivatar Series 1 f/3.5 70-210mm zoom w/macro and Nikkor f/3.5 28mm) and accessories I purchased in the Base Exchange in 1975 while stationed in Germany. I have over 5,000 slides I took with this camera. It's never had a CLA, and it still worked fine the last time I used it many years ago. I'll have to take it out for a spin again for old times sake.

Olympus OM-1MD

Olympus Optical Co. LTD., Tokyo, Japan
Production: 1974-1979
Type: Single-lens Reflex
Film: 35mm
Lens: Zuiko f/1.8 50mm
Shutter: Focal Plane
Shutter Speeds: 1 to 1/1000 sec. plus B
Original Cost: $369.00 (with f/1.4 50mm lens)

Olympus Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of optics and reprography products. It was established on October 12, 1919, initially specializing in microscopes and thermometers. In 1936, Olympus introduced its first camera, the Semi-Olympus I, fitted with the first Zuiko-branded lens. The first innovative camera series from Olympus was the half-frame format Pen, launched in 1959.

The Olympus M-1 was introduced in 1972. It was designed by a team led by Yoshihisa Maitani, who had already created the Pen and Pen F cameras, noted for their compactness. It was smaller, weighed less and quieter than all other 35mm SLRs available at the time.

Since Leica's flagship rangefinder cameras are known as the M Series, Leica complained about the name of the M-1, forcing Olympus to rename it as the OM-1 to further clarify between the brands.

The OM-1 is an all-mechanical SLR. It has a large viewfinder with interchangeable screens but a fixed prism. It also has a through-the-lens exposure meter controlling a needle visible in the viewfinder. It has a compact body, essentially retained on later models. The shutter speed dial is located around the lens mount, which allows photographers to keep the camera at the eye between shots more easily than SLRs with the dial located on the top plate. The system is also associated with one of the finest ranges of optics ever made available, the OM-System Zuiko lenses, and a generous selection of accessories.

Originally, the bottom plate needed to be modified to mount a motor drive on the OM-1. In 1974, Olympus launched the OM-1MD (MD standing for Motor Drive), to which a motor drive can be attached without need for modification.

Unfortunately, the light meter is optimized for 1.35 volt mercury batteries, which are not available anymore. There are some replacement options and some repair shops can set it for 1.5 volt batteries that are still available.

Olympus Infinity Zoom230

Olympus Optical Co. LTD., Tokyo, Japan
Production: ca. 1992
Type: Fully automatic, autofocus
Film: 35mm
Lens: Olympus f/4.5-7.2 38-90mm
Shutter: Programmed Electronic
Shutter Speeds: ?
Original Cost: $224.00

My first electronic "point and shoot" film camera. It quit working after a few years, I had it repaired and it broke again. Too much electronics perhaps?


Unknown manufacturer, Tokyo, Japan
Production: 1930's-1960's
Type: HIT style subminiature
Film: 17.5mm
Lens: fixed focus
Shutter: fixed aperture

HIT style cameras, under many names, became popular in Japan just after the end of World War II. Cameras, film and processing were exorbitantly expensive in Japan at that time and HIT style cameras used recycled materials in their construction. They were very simple mechanically and easily manufactured by small workshops. The film for these cameras was made by cutting 35mm film in half. These cameras were sold as toys and novelty items in bubble gum vending machines in the United States.

Minox IIIs

Minox G.m.b.H., Giessen, West Germany
Production: 1954-1969
Type: Subminiature
Film: 8x11mm film cartridge
Lens: Complan f/3.5 15mm fixed focus
Shutter: Mechanical
Shutter Speeds: 1/2 - 1/1000 sec., B, T

The original Minox camera was conceived in 1922 and finally invented and produced in 1936 by German-Latvian Walter Zapp in Latvia until 1943. After World War II, the camera was redesigned and production resumed in Germany in 1948. Originally envisioned as a luxury item, the Minox gained wide notoriety as a spy camera used by both Axis and Allied intelligence agents during World War II as well as the CIA and KGB during the Cold War.

Minolta-16 MG (with complete kit)

Minolta Camera Co., LTD, Japan
Production: 1966-1971
Type: Subminiature
Film: 16mm film cartridge
Lens: Rokkor TD f/2.8 20mm fixed focus
Shutter: Programmed Diaphragm Vanes
Shutter Speeds: 1/30 - 1/250 sec., B, T

My father bought one of these camera kits in Japan in 1968. It was stolen from my house about 17 years later along with my Yashica Electro 35 GT. I was able to purchase this near-mint complete kit on an online auction to replace it.

Polaroid Land Camera Model 95

Polaroid Corporation, Cambridge, Massachusetts U.S.A.
Production: 1948-1953
Type: Folding Rollfilm
Film: Polaroid Type 40 Rollfilm
Lens: f/11 135mm (3 element glass)
Shutter: 4 speed everset rotary-leaf design
Shutter Speeds: 1/8 - 1/60 sec., B
Original Cost: $89.75

The Polaroid Corporation was founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land. The first Polaroid instant film cameras were manufactured in 1947. In 2001, the company filed for bankruptcy protection, and all of its assets were subsequently sold to Bank One. The new company continued to produce Polaroid instant cameras until February 2008, when manufacturing was discontinued as a result of the growing popularity of digital cameras.

Polaroid Originals is a new brand from Polaroid dedicated to analog instant photography in the original, iconic format. It’s the next step in a journey started by The Impossible Project, who kept the format alive since 2008. Launched on September 13th, 2017, the 80th anniversary of the founding of Polaroid, Polaroid Originals makes instant film for Polaroid cameras, and refurbishes vintage cameras so they’re good as new. They also created two new Polaroid instant analog cameras.

The Model 95 was the first Polaroid Land camera and the first commercially successful self-developing camera system. Polaroid originally manufactured sixty units of the Model 95. Fifty-seven were put up for sale at the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston before the 1948 Christmas holiday. Polaroid marketers incorrectly guessed that the camera and film would remain in stock long enough to manufacture a second run based on customer demand. All fifty-seven cameras and all of the film were sold on the first day of demonstrations.

Polaroid 440 Automatic Land Camera

Polaroid Corporation, Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Production: 1971-1976
Type: Folding Pack
Film: Polaroid Instant Film Pack
Lens: f/8.8 114mm (3 element glass)
Shutter: Electronic
Shutter Speeds: 10 - 1/1200 sec.
Original Cost: $99.95

My father purchased this 440 model in the early 1970's and gave it to me about 15 years later.

Polaroid SONAR OneStep SX-70 Land Camera

Polaroid Corporation, Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Production: ca. 1976-1981
Type: Folding Single Lens Reflex
Film: Polaroid Instant Film Pack with built-in battery
Lens: f/8 116mm (4 element glass)
Shutter: Electronic
Shutter Speeds: >10 - 1/180 sec., T
Original Cost (SX-70): $180.00

The Original SX-70 was a revolutionary design when it was introduced in 1972. The later SONAR OneStep SX-70 was equipped with a sonar autofocus system, which permitted returning to the plain focusing screen. The Sonar OneStep models were the first autofocus single lens reflex cameras available to consumers. My father purchased this camera around 1980 and gave it to me in 2013.

Polaroid OneStep Closeup

Polaroid Corporation, Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Production: 1983-ca. 1990's
Type: Folding Pack
Film: Polaroid 600 Instant Film Pack with built-in battery
Lens: f/11 116mm, Single-element plastic lens (fixed focus), with sliding close-up attachment.
Shutter: Electronic
Shutter Speeds: 1/4 - 1/200 sec., T
Original Cost: $29.95

Released by Polaroid in 1983, this iconic camera features an automatic flash, a special built-in lens for close-up photos and a darken/lighten exposure correction slider.

Polaroid Spectra System Onyx

Polaroid Corporation, Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Production: 1987
Type: Folding Single Lens Reflex
Film: Polaroid Instant Film Pack with built-in 6-volt battery, ISO 600/29°
Lens: Quintic f/10 125mm (3 element plastic)
Focus: Computerized sonar autofocus
Photocell: Dual-filter, silicon photodiodes.
Shutter: Electronic
Shutter Speeds: 2.8 - 1/245 sec.
Original Cost: $159.90

I bought this camera in 1988. The is a special edition of the Spectra that has a clear tinted body making the interior electronics visible. Other features include an automatic flash, a darken/lighten exposure correction slider and a 12-second self-timer. It still takes great photos with film produced by Polaroid Originals.

Argus 300 Slide Projector

Argus Cameras, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
Production: Mid-1950’s
Lens: 4” Argus f3.5 coated, color-corrected anastigmat
Projection Lamp: 300 Watt T-8½ C-13 filament, single contact bayonet base
Controls: On/Off light switch
1953 Cost: $49.95

I inherited this slide projector from my step-mother. It has a rotary carrier and a slide must be manually inserted one at a time and then rotated in place behind the lens.

Sawyer's Crestline 500C Slide Projector

Sawyer’s, Inc., Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
Production: 1960's
Lens: 4 inch f/3.5 Coated Anastigmat
Projection Lamp: 500 Watt
Controls: Forward/Reverse, Wired Remote Control
Carousel Tray Capacity: 100 2” X 2” slides

Sawyer's was founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1914 by Carleton Sawyer and A. R. Specht as a photo-finishing service. Specht was a Portland executive in the San Francisco-based Owl Drug Company chain. Owl Drug's Portland store was the chain's third-busiest, and Specht hoped to capitalize on the public's growing use of cameras by making Owl Drug a convenient source of photo-finishing services for Portlanders. In mid-1919, Edwin E. Mayer, a camera enthusiast who had just graduated from the North Pacific College of Pharmacy (in Portland), bought out Carleton Sawyer's stake in the company bearing his name.

The company is best known for its View-Master invented in 1939 by William Gruber as a way to update the Holmes stereoscopic viewer. The View-Master premiered at the 1939 World's Fair and was an instant success, partially due to its use of Kodachrome slide film for vivid color images.

By the early 1960s, Sawyer's was the nation's second-largest manufacturer of slide projectors, and by 1965 slide projectors had surpassed View-Master reels and equipment as a percentage of the company's annual sales. In 1966, Sawyer's was acquired by New York-based General Aniline & Film (GAF), and its product lines and facilities were taken over by GAF. It was a subsidiary company of GAF until 1968, when it became simply a division of that company, renamed the GAF Consumer Photo Division. For several years thereafter, GAF used "Sawyer's" as a brand name for its slide projectors.

This projector once belonged to Kathy’s grandmother and Kathy donated it to my collection.

Kodak Carousel 760H Slide Projector

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, NY, U.S.A.
Production: Mid-Late 1970's (1978)
Lens: 102mm f/2.8
Projection Lamp: 300 Watt
Controls: Forward/Reverse, Wired Remote Control
Features: Autofocus
Tray Capacity: 140 2” X 2” slides
1978 Cost (BX): $175

I originally purchased a similar model in 1975 at the Zweibrucken AB, Germany BX. When I returned home in 1977, it was missing from my household goods shipment so I purchased this replacement.

Paillard Bolex H16 Movie Camera

Palliard Bolex, Switzerland
Production: 1935-1971 (1948)
Type: Turret Movie Camera
Film: 16mm Rollfilm (4:3 aspect ratio)
Turret Lenses: Normal, Kodak f/1.9 25mm; Wide Angle, Kodak Cine Ektar f/2.5 15mm: Telephoto, Elgeet Cine Tel f/2.9 3"
Shutter Speeds: 8fps, 16 fps, 24 fps, 32 fps, 64 fps plus single frame
Film Drive: Manual Winding.
1949 Cost (less lens): $282.00

E. Paillard & Co. was founded in 1814 in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland, by Möise Paillard. Watch movements and music box mechanisms were produced from a small workshop on the ground floor of his house. In 1927, Jacques Bogopolsky created the Bolex Auto Cine A motion picture camera. Three years later, Jacques joined forces with Paillard & Company to become Bolex-Paillard (now Bolex International) and began producing a line of consumer 8mm and 16mm cameras and accessories. By 1941, The Bolex H16 was the most sought after 16mm camera in the world.

I was taught how to make movies using a Bolex 16mm camera while attending Precision Photo Processing School in the Air Force back in 1975. These movie cameras are still used in film schools today.

Bell & Howell 172 Movie Camera

Bell & Howell, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Production: ca. 1947-1950's
Type: Turret Movie Camera
Film: 8mm Magazine (4:3 aspect ratio)
Turret Lenses: Normal, Bell & Howell Super Comat f/1.9 .5 inch; Telephoto, Elgeet Cine Tel f/1.5 38mm
Shutter Speeds: 16 fps, 24 fps, 32 fps, 48 fps, 64 fps plus single frame
Film Drive: Manual Winding.
1953 Cost: $164.95

Bell & Howell is a U.S.-based former manufacturer of motion picture machinery, founded as Bell & Howell in 1907 by two projectionists, and headquartered in Wheeling, Illinois. The company merged with Böwe Systec Inc. in 2003; it was known as Böwe Bell & Howell until 2011, when Versa Capital Management bought the company and returned it to its original name.

Bell and Howell provides document processing, microfilmers, scanners, and financial services. The "Bell & Howell" trademark is also licensed to makers of various electronic consumer products.

According to its charter, Bell & Howell Company was incorporated on February 17, 1907. It was duly recorded in the Cook County Record Book eight days later. The first meeting of stockholders took place in the office of Attorney W. G. Strong on February 19 at 10 a. m. The first board of directors was chosen for a term of one year: Donald Joseph Bell, chairman; Albert Summers Howell, secretary; and Marguerite V. Bell (wife of Donald Bell), vice chairman.

Revere Eight Model B-63 Movie Camera

Revere Camera Company, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Production: ca. 1950
Type: Turret Movie Camera
Film: 8mm Magazine (4:3 aspect ratio)
Turret Lenses: Normal, Bausch & Lomb f/2.8 12.7mm;
Wide, Wollensak Cine Raptar f/2.5 9mm; Telephoto, Wollensak Cine Raptar f/3.5 1.5"
Shutter Speeds: 12 fps, 16 fps, 25 fps, 32 fps, 48 fps, plus single frame
Film Drive: Manual Winding.

The Revere Camera Company was started in 1920 in Chicago, Illinois by Ukrainian immigrant Samuel Briskin, who also started Wollensak Recorders and Opticals. Revere first started manufacturing car radiators and later coarse household products.

They started making budget 8 mm movie cameras in 1939 through a subsidiary run by Briskin's sons. That company was later merged into Excel Radiator Co. which then changed its name to Revere Camera Co. The Revere name is taken from the Revere Copper Company, which provided financial backing for Excel during the depression. In the '50s the company was the second largest manufacturer of small movie cameras in the USA and in order to grow that business further the company took over their primary lens and shutter supplier in the form of the New Jersey based Wollensak Optical Co. both to secure their supply of parts but also to gain a more although Wollensak was primarily known as an OEM supplier of parts they had a small range of upmarket still cameras. The Revere brand name had become synonymous with budget cameras and soon after the take-over Wollensak models appeared that were mechanically mostly identical to the standard Revere models but had much better lenses, more stylish casing, and sold for a premium price.

The company started manufacturing tape recorders in the early 1950s, that side of the business never became an important part of the company's output. Samuel Briskin was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in 1960 and rather than leave the company to his family he decided to sell the company to 3M for $17 million dollars.

Keystone Capri K-27 Movie Camera
(with optional exposure meter)

Keystone Camera Company, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Production: late 1950's
Type: Turret Movie Camera
Film: 8mm Reel (4:3 aspect ratio)
Turret Lenses: Normal f/1.9 13mm; Wide f/1.9 9mm; Telephoto f/1.9 25mm
Built-in Filters (for color film): Type A and Haze
Shutter Speed: 16 fps plus single frame
Film Drive: Manual Winding.
1957 Cost: $99.95

The Keystone Camera Company was an American manufacturer of consumer photographic equipment. Notable products were movie cameras, 126 and 110 cameras with built-in electronic flash (the "Everflash" series). In the 1930s, the firm built low cost 16mm cameras that are still in use today. Keystone considered that labeling its products as “Made in USA” was an important part of its appeal. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in January 1991.

One popular version of their movie camera line was the Capri K-27, with 3 filters and 9 settings for cloudy to sunny day conditions. It was light and easy to use although after half of the 50 foot spool of film was exposed, you had to flip the spool over to expose the second half of film.

Kodak Brownie Movie Camera

Eastman Kodak Corporation, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Production: 1955-1963
Type: Turret Movie Camera
Film: 8mm Reel (4:3 aspect ratio)
Turret Lenses: Normal, f/1.9 13mm; Wide, f/1.9 9mm; Telephoto f/1.9 24mm
Shutter Speed: 16 fps
Film Drive: Manual Winding.
Original Cost: $79.50

Canon Auto Zoom 518 Movie Camera

Canon Inc., Tokyo, Japan
Production: 1967-1970's (1970)
Type: Zoom Movie Camera
Film: Silent Super 8 Cartridge (4:3 aspect ratio)
Lense: Canon Zoom C8 9.5mm-47.5mm, f/1.8, 14 elememts in 11 groups
Shutter Speeds: 18 fps and slow motion (approximately 40 fps)
Film Drive: DC micromotor.
Cost: $94.50 (Base Exchange price)

My father purchased this camera in 1970 in the Base Exchange on Tachikawa AB, Japan. We still have the home movies taken with it and have also converted them to DVDs.

Keystone K100 8mm Movie Projector

Keystone Camera Company, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Production: Late 1950's (ca. 1957)
Lens: f/1.9 Magna Scope
Projection Lamp: 500 Watt
Controls: Selecto-matic control, Forward, Still, Reverse, Fast/Slow
1957 Cost: $99.95

The Keystone Camera Company was an American manufacturer of consumer photographic equipment. Notable products were Movie cameras and projectors. Keystone considered that labeling its products as “Made in USA” was an important part of its appeal. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in January 1991. New projection lamps for this model are still available for purchase.

Bell & Howell 456A Compatible Movie Projector

Bell & Howell, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Production: Late 1960's (ca. 1968)
Lens: 25mm f/1.5
Projection Lamp: 150 Watt
Controls: Forward/Still/Reverse
Features: Autoload
Film Compatibility: 8mm & Super 8mm

Bell & Howell is a U.S.-based former manufacturer of motion picture machinery, founded in 1907 by two projectionists, and headquartered in Wheeling, Illinois. In 1934, Bell & Howell introduced their first amateur 8mm movie projector. The company merged with Böwe Systec Inc. in 2003; it was known as Böwe Bell & Howell until 2011, when Versa Capital Management bought the company and returned it to its original name.

This projector was purchased about 1968 by my father and he later donated it to my collection.

DeJur-Amsco Model 50 Autocritic Exposure Meter

DeJur-Amsco Corporation, Shelton, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Production: ca. 1946-?
Cell Type: Selenium
Measure Type: Reflecting/Averaging
Original Cost: $20.00

DeJur-Amsco was an importer/distributor of items branded under their own name. They were most well known in the 40's and 50's for amateur movie equipment, but they dabbled in other things like enlargers, meters, and the occasional still camera. In the 60's the company went into office photocopiers, and sold out in 1974 when the owners, Harry and Ralph DeJur retired.

The Model 50 Autocritic appears to be a domestically made Hickok meter. They're about the same size and weight. The meter is inside the dial, so you have to turn the dial ring so that the pointer lines up with the exposure index, and then turn the dial ring do that the pointer lines up with the hash mark that the meter needle is pointing to.

Argus L3 Exposure Meter

Metrawatt, West Germany.
Production: ca. 1956
Cell Type: Selenium
Measure Type: Reflectance
Original Cost: $16.95

Argus made a variety of cameras over the years, almost all of them manual-set, yet they didn't do much with light meters. They sold a couple here and there, but it wasn't until the late 50s that they began seriously branding their own.

Argus sold a number of meters, including four with the L3 designation. According to the Argus Collector's Group, there is no special marking on the meters to differentiate them.

The L3 is actually made by Metrawatt of West Germany, and it's the identical twin of a Horvex 2. The only difference is the name and model scribed on the calculator dial, and the case color (brown while the Horvex case is creamy-white). It also takes the booster cell accessory, a long-time Horvex feature.

This exposure meter was donated to my collection by Steve Otto.

Sekonic L-38 Auto Leader Exposure Meter

Sekonic, Japan
Production: ca. 1960-?
Cell Type: Selenium
Measure Type: Reflecting/Averaging
Original Cost: $11.95

This is a beefed up version of the L-VI Leader, or a tweaked L-36. In fact, the real difference between this and the L-36 is a switch to match-needle and an improved calculator dial. They retained the flip cover for high/low light and the built-in a spring-loaded booster cell for low-light. The booster cell is a nice touch; a lot of meters had booster cell accessories (the Horvex was first) but they were separate and easily lost. This one just flips in and out of position.

Gossen Luna-Pro Exposure Meter

Gossen, West Germany
Production: ca. 1961-1970's
Cell Type: CdS System Exposure Meter
Measure Type: Combination Reflecting/Averaging and 3D Incident.
Original Cost (1967): $69.95

This was one of the first CdS meters to hit the market and it made a huge splash. Modern Photography's July 1961 review said it was the most accurate across the scale, and it was great in low-light. I found out it still works as I used it to determine exposures when shooting with the Rolleiflex.

Heiland Tilt-A-Mite Flash

Heiland Research Corp., Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Production: ca. 1952

Tilt-A-Mite flash was a full-featured flashgun sold by Heiland in the early 1950’s and then by Honeywell beginning in the late 1950s. It was equipped with a foot for mounting into a camera's accessory shoe (Flash guns and flash synchronizers had been the original products of Heiland Research Corp., of Denver, Colorado, before their 1954 acquisition as the photo products division of Honeywell.) The sync cable offered interchangeable tips to adapt to different styles of sync connectors, in the era before the PC style had emerged as the universal standard.

Tilt-A-Mites were B-C (battery-capacitor) units for flashbulbs with a fan-fold reflector permitting compact storage. As the name suggests, the reflector could be angled away from the subject for bounce flash off the ceiling (or wall, depending on orientation). The "Mite" part of the name carried over from Heiland's mid-1950s Foto-Mite flashguns.

The Tilt-A-Mite had a round-topped case, a button to test continuity (without wasting a bulb), and its reflector could be narrowed to focus more light on distant subjects. A variety of flashbulbs, most typically M3 or M3B could be used.

Slyvania Blue Dot Flash Cubes

Sylvania, U.S.A.
Production: ca. 1960's
Original Cost: 3 for $1.49

Metz Mecablitz 40 CT1 Electronic Flash

Metz, West Germany
Production: ca. 1975
Flash Duration: 1/500 - 1/25,000 sec.
Illumination Angle: 45°x65° wide angle, rectangular
Recycle Time: 0.3 - 8 sec.
Flash Capicity Per Charge: Approximately 45 - 600
Color Temperature: Approximately 5,600° K

Rollei 121BC Electronic Flash

Rollei-Werke Franke & Heidecke, West Germany
Production: unknown
Flash Duration: 1/2,500 - 1/30,000 sec.
Illumination Angle: 46°x60°
Recycle Time: 8 - 12 sec.
Flash Capicity Per Charge: Approximately 75 - 200
Color Temperature: Approximately 5,500° K

Vivitar Zoom Thyristor 2500 Electronic Flash

Vivitar Corporation, U.S.A.
Production: ca. 1981
Flash Duration: 1/2,000 - 1/30,000 sec.
Illumination Angle: 70°x53° - 32°x23°
Recycle Time: 0.5 - 9 sec.
Flash Capicity (batteries): Approximately 55 - 1,800
Color Temperature: Approximately 6,000° K
Original Cost: $68.87

Vintage Film

Vintage film for my vintage cameras! Most of these have expiration dates between the 1940's and 1960's. This is just a small sample of the dozens of different sizes and types of film produced since the early-1800's. There were six American Daguerreotype film sizes and 7 dry plate and sheet/cut film sizes. Kodak alone produced 39 different sizes of roll film, 8 Autographic film sizes and 14 sizes of film packs. Today, Kodak only produces 120 and 135 roll film, 523 film pack and a few sizes of sheet film. Fujifilm and Ilford still produce some film but Agfa no longer does. After a long break, Polaroid is again producing film for several of its models. So unfortunately, many vintage cameras are relagated to "Shelf Sitter" status but can still be admired for their design and function. Below are a few more details on two of these films.

Kodachrome Safety Color Film

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Produced: 1935-May 1984
Size: 828 (frame size is 28 x 40mm)
Use: Color reversal (slides) / Daylight
Expired: September 1952

Panchromatic Super-XX Safety Film

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Produced: 1931-July 1995 (all types)
Size: 620 (frame size is 2¼" x 3¼")
Use: B&W prints / High speed for low light
Expired: January 1955 (3 months before I was born!)

Early Photo Types

The daguerreotype was the first publicly available photographic process, and for nearly twenty years it was the one most commonly used. Invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and introduced worldwide in 1839, daguerreotype was almost completely superseded by 1860 with new, less expensive processes yielding more readily viewable images. In the late 20th century, there was a revival of daguerreotypy by a small number of photographers interested in making artistic use of early photographic processes.

The ambrotype, also known as a collodion positive in the UK, is a positive photograph on glass made by a variant of the wet plate collodion process. Like a print on paper, it is viewed by reflected light. Like the daguerreotype, which it replaced, and like the prints produced by a Polaroid camera, each is a unique original that could only be duplicated by using a camera to copy it. The ambrotype was introduced in the 1850s. During the 1860s it was superseded by the tintype, a similar photograph on thin black-lacquered iron, hard to distinguish from an ambrotype if under glass.

The tintype, also known as a melainotype or ferrotype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion. Tintypes enjoyed their widest use during the 1860s and 1870s, but lesser use of the medium persisted into the early 20th century and it has been revived as a novelty and fine art form in the 21st century.

The 1/6 case photo shown above is either an ambrotype or a tintype.

Stereo Slides

The top photo shows an example of the 1L-blank-2L-1R-3L-2R-4L...format using standard 135 film. Note the position of the 1L and 1R frames in this strip. The bottom photo shows two stereo slides in the stereo mount. Each slide is just a fraction off center of each other so when viewed through the stereoscopic slide viewer, one perceives the 3-D effect. The unusual proportions of the slides (the image was 5 sprockets wide) became the standard for 3-D slides, and is known as "5P" or "Realist Format".

"Kodachrome" - Paul Simon

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