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6 Retro Cameras That Are A Real Blast From The Past!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Retro cameras really ooze personality! Today I'm bringing out my "vintage magic box" of old technology and picking six cameras from the 1960's all the way to the late 1990's that were cool at the time...and some people probably didn't know existed. To kick off the list I'm starting out with the Spartus Rocket Camera.

The Spartus Rocket camera was manufactured by the Herold product company in the early 1960's and it's a vintage camera most people probably won't remember but will instantly recognize because of its look. The Spartus Rocket camera was square in shape and had retro design lettering and a brushed metal cover. The Spartus Rocket camera had the look of a 1960's radio and featured a fixed focus lens, positive action shutter, and built-in optical view finder. The camera was made of Bakelite, which is a chemical compound used in the manufacturing of early plastic. With the Spartus Rocket camera you could capture as many as twelve exposures on standard 127 roll film, and you could somewhat carry it with you fairly easy given its relatively small size (it measures around 3 inches high, 3.5 inches wide and 2.5 inches thick).

Sony Mavica Floppy Disk Camera
A floppy disk camera? It's hard to imagine a world without flash memory but before USB ports existed, the only way to store images was on an internal 3½-inch floppy disk drive. The Sony Mavica MVC-FD7 floppy disk digital camera came out in the late 1990's and pretty much resembled a Sony camcorder of the time (it even uses the same battery!). This floppy disk camera came with 10X optical zoom and autofocus, and shot in 640 by 480. You could fit around 15 compressed images on one 1.44 MB floppy disk, though because of the compression the quality of the photographs wasn't as great as it could've been. Saying this, in the late 1990's the Sony Mavica floppy disk camera was a hugely popular high tech camera at the time because it allowed tape-less recording with a virtual screen.

Argus Lady Carefree
If you are not familiar with this camera, the name "Argus Lady Carefree" could be easily confused with a feminine hygiene product! What is interesting about this camera, besides the name, is that it was actually made by Balda-Werke in the late 1960's for Argus. The Argus Lady Carefree uses 126 film cartridges, which is now almost impossible to get and even if you do, it'll be pretty hard to find a photo lab that will process this type of film.

There is also a Japanese version that was made of this camera by the Japanese company Sedic Ltd. which sold it as the Argus Instant Load 146 X and the Astral S20 Electric Eye (this was the first Japanese camera to use the Magicube).

Beacon Two-twenty five
The Beacon Two-twenty five is another Bakelite camera that oozes retro blast from the past. This camera was made by Whitehouse Products Inc., between the early 1950's and late 1950's and featured a 70mm doublet lens, a single shutter speed of 1/50, 620 roll film and a f12.5 single aperture, though the early models had two apertures (a larger f12.5 aperture and a smaller f9.5 aperture). And just like the Imperial Savoy Box camera, you could also re-spool the Beacon Two-twenty five camera with 120 roll film since both 620 roll film and 120 roll film are identical.

Le Clic Disc Camera
While many have probably forgotten it, the "Le Clic" disc camera created somewhat of a revolution when it first came out in the mid 1980's...and I would know since I owned one too! The Le Clic camera was a very inexpensive, yet fashionable super slim pocket camera (about an inch thick). The Le Click camera utilized Disc film technology, had a built-in reusable flash and came in a variety of color accents and striking patterns to appeal the young generation.

After the Le Click craze died down, the Le Click cameras pretty much faded into obscurity, mostly because the film was too grainy, difficult to load, and the film processing was expensive not to mention that the Le Clic cameras were also expensive to run (you could only take about 10 pictures per disc film).

Imperial Savoy Box Camera
The Imperial Savoy Box camera resembled somewhat the Spartus Rocket camera and very much the Sabre 620 camera by Shaw-Harrison. This probably isn't surprising since the Imperial Savoy Box camera came out during the space era (late 1950's and early 1960's). The Imperial Savoy Box camera takes 620 roll film, though if you know what you're doing you can re-spool 120 roll film to fit the Savoy Box camera. The features of the Imperial Savoy camera included fixed focus and aperture as well as a plastic lens. And just like the Le Clic camera, the Savoy Box camera stood out mostly because of the variety of colors the Savoy Box camera came in.

Agfa ePhoto CL50
The Agfa ePhoto CL50 came out right before the turn of the century and looked very much like the Sanyo VPC-Z400. In fact, the Agfa ePhoto CL50 specifications are so identical to the Sanyo VPC-Z400 that one might think Sanyo made ​​the ePhoto CL50 camera. Saying this, the Agfa ePhoto CL50 camera is a real blast from the past because it was one of the first cameras to have a Suncatcher prism on the back which redirects sunlight to the LCD screen to power the backlight (hence saving on batteries). Also, the Agfa ePhoto CL50 had the look and feel of a regular point-and-shoot film camera, which at the time was so cool.

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