Back In Time – My Vintage Camera Collection

I must say I am not a collector of vintage cameras but rather I just loved to own a piece of history if I chanced upon something and here are some of the items that were lying around in my gallery and office. Some were bought and some were given to me by friends from as far as England. The oldest item is the list has to be the suitcase which is about 100 years old at the time of writing and the 9.5 mm projector which is 95 years old.

Vintage Cameras

Photography has been around in various forms since the dawn of the 19th century, so there are a good two centuries’ worth of photographic devices out there to capture the imagination.

Not surprisingly, this means there are many subsets and strands of camera collecting. Some people are keen on a particular make or brand of camera, whereas others will look for cameras from a certain period, or which have been owned by celebrities. A lot of it has to do with personal preference and interest.

Certain cameras are considered more collectable than others, though. The value of a vintage camera is often a matter of supply and demand. The vintage camera that I have around are not in mint conditions, just chanced upon them during my travel to abroad in markets and garage sales so here goes.

Pentax SF7 – 1988

I must start off with the Pentax S7 as this is the only film SLR that got me interested in taking pictures during my boat manufacturing days in the mid-90s. It belongs to my good friend Albert Lai, my teenage buddy and eventually my business partner where I used to photograph our boats for marketing and have never looked back since.

The Pentax SF7 was a camera from the Japanese Pentax brand, manufactured by the Asahi Optical Co., Ltd. (called PENTAX Corporation since 2002). It was first produced in 1988. It was Pentax’s third Autofocus 35mm SLR after the Pentax ME F and the very similar Pentax SFX.

Argus Anastigmat f4.5/50mm – 1936

Argus Inc. was a camera maker based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Before 1939 it was International Research Corporation, a department of International Radio Corporation, Ann Arbor. It was the American company that popularized the modern cartridged 35mm film in the U.S., especially by its characteristically brick-shaped rangefinder cameras. The first camera of Argus, the Argus A, resulted from a patent that the company received in 1936.

A 35mm cartridge camera with bakelite body, the Argus Anastigmat f4.5/50mm in collapsible mount. Early models have fixed pressure plate, sprockets on one side of film. Later models have floating pressure plate and sprockets on both sides. Of early types, the first 30-35 thousand were made before a tripod socket was added to the bottom and the rewind knob thickened to match. Originally advertised in the following color combinations: black/chrome, gray/gunmetal, ivory/gold.

Tougodo Meisupi – 1937

Tougodo was a Japanese camera maker, active from 1930 to the Second World War, and was revived as two companies after the War. The better known of these remained active until the early 1960s. From c.1937, the Meiko range was gradually replaced by the Meisupi and Meiritto using 2.8×4cm C-size sheet film, certainly cut from Fuji’s cine film.

The Ansco Clipper – 1930 to 1950

The Ansco Clipper, Flash Clipper and Clipper Special were simple point and shoot cameras made by Agfa-Ansco, and Ansco from the 1930s into the 1950s. They took 15 images on 616 film. The lens board pulled out of the camera body for taking pictures, and collapsed to make the camera more compact when not in use. The focus and aperture were fixed, while the shutter had I and B settings.

Nikon D100 – 2002

The Nikon D100 is one of the first  6-megapixel digital single-lens reflex camera made by Nikon Corporation and designed for professionals and advanced enthusiasts. It was introduced on February 21, 2002. Although the name D100 suggested that it was a digital version of the Nikon F100, the camera design more closely resembles the Nikon F80. This camera together with the lens and battery grip belongs to my former WWf friends from Denmark, Claus and Lene Topp. The camera was drown in a dive.

Argus Seventy-Five -1949

The Argoflex Seventy-Five and Argus Seventy-Five were two name variants of the same model of pseudo TLR, produced by Argus in the USA, beginning in 1949.

The main body was molded from plastic (perhaps bakelite), while the film door is a painted metal casting. The front panel and viewfinder hood are in a contrasting satin-finish metal. A cloth neckstrap is permanently attached to the top of the body.

Ansco Readyflash – 1953

The Ansco Readyflash was a simple viewfinder-type camera with a fixed-focus lens, fixed aperture and single-speed shutter. Made circa 1953, it took 620 film, giving 8 2¼” x 3¼” exposures on a roll.

Its big feature was that it was flash-ready (hence the name); the top of the lens panel had two flash terminals, synched to the shutter, to attach to a flashbulb holder. The body was a basic sheet-metal box, with removable lid, and plastic fittings carrying the lens, shutter and viewfinder. It seems to have been a replacement for the Ansco Pioneer, discontinued at about the same time.

Ricohflex VII – 1954

The Ricohflex was a series of 6×6 TLR made by Riken Optical Industries (Ricoh) in the 1950s. The focusing rings around the taking and viewing lens are geared up for synchronous focusing, just as previous Kodak Reflex I/II. Its coated Anastigmat triplet lens provides great result in its class. The Ricohflex has a simple, modular-designed and low-cost box structure.

The model VII was released to the market on February, 1954. It had a Ricoh Anastigmat 1:3.5/8cm front-element focusing lens geared to the Ricoh Viewer 1:3,5/8cm lens for viewfinder focusing.

This was the camera I remembered dad used to take a lot of photos of us when we were young but he gave his away to a friend and I was lucky to chance upon one.

Pathe Baby 9.5mm Projector  – 1922

Pathé made a first attempt at home cinema in 1911 – this was 28mm. The film had three perforations on the left, and one perforation on the right side per frame. A feature of the 28mm K.O.K. projector  was that it had dynamo lighting supplying a voltage to a 6volt  projector lamp.

A clever idea as a lot of buildings at this time only had gas lighting. The 28mm KOK system proved a commercial success – not only in the home, but in schools, churches and clubs. By 1918 over 10,000 machines had been sold and over 25,000,000 feet of positive film had been produced.  During World War 1 production of 28mm equipment in France ceased.  The gauge continued in the U.K, the USA and Canada. All production stopped in 1920.

The 9.5mm film gauge, was introduced at Christmas 1922 in France with a hand cranked projector the Pathe-Baby. By means of notches in the film a mechanism was set into motion in the projector by which certain images – titles or close-ups – could be frozen for a few seconds.

The following year the Pathéscope company in the UK (who had previously imported Pathé phonographs, record players and the early and bulky 28mm KOK movie projector) launched the same projector.  Soon a matching hand-turned camera arrived and 9.5mm movies were here to stay!

The 9.5mm home movie gauge was more popular in the UK than France. This was probably because in the 1930’s (the boom time for 9.5mm) the UK had more disposable income and 9.5mm sales were probably highest in the UK. Certainly it would appear so from the volume of 9.5mm films and equipment still turning up today in the UK.

This projector was given to me by Dr Steven Sutton, a good friend who owns Borneo Books and when he married Rosalind, he shipped some really cool stuff, including a Roberts Radio RM20 from his home in England.

Roberts RM20 Radio – 1976

The Roberts RM20 was  introduced in 1976 and it is an 8 transistor mains only radio receiver covering the Medium and Long Wavebands. It has an illuminated dial and a sensitive internal ferrite rod aerial.  The RM20 does not require any external aerial. The RM20 is housed in a strong solid teak case with dovetailed joints.

Kodak Brownie 8 movie camera f/2.7 – 1960

The Brownie 8, 8mm movie camera was one of the early plastic bodied Kodak movie cameras. It is a low-priced quality clockwork-driven camera with a fixed-focus f/2.7 13mm Kodak Cine-Ektanon lens. The exposure is set using the dial around the lens, either by f/number or symbols for the light conditions.

This simple, inexpensive 8mm. movie camera is reliable and capable of taking top quality colour movies indoors and out. Only one simple setting is necessary, i.e., to rotate the lens hood according to the exposure setting for bright days, dull days, sun or shade. Then just aim and shoot, for brilliant colour movies. Loading the 8mm. film is simple and positive, too due to the recessed film-guide channel. Takes 25 ft. rolls of economical “double-run” 8mm. Kodachrome II Movie Film. After processing (at no extra cost) this gives 50 ft. of film for projection (about 4 minutes showing).

Suite Case – 1910s

Lastly, I do have to mention the vintage suitcase in the collection. This suitcase actually belongs to my wife Cassandra’s grandfather who has travelled from China to North Borneo in the early 1910s. Was at my in laws house when they did a spring cleaning and nearly threw it away!


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