(1927) The original Memo (there were many models over the years) was one of the first 35mm still cameras (35mm film started out as a movie film). It was a vertically-styled, leather-covered, wooden camera that first appeared in 1927. It took about 50 exposures of 18x23mm size. Some used a fixed-focus f6.3 lens, others a focusing f3.5 optic. Shutter speeds of B, T, 1/25 - 1/100. The shutter release is a simple lever on the right side of the camera -- later versions came with a shutter release guard to help prevent unwanted exposures. Earlier models said "ANSCO" on the front, while later models said "MEMO". The standard model was leatherette covered wood, but an all wooden version was apparently made, as well as the more famous, olive-drab "OFFICIAL BOY SCOUT MEMO CAMERA" model. The film was wound into special wooden cassettes -- a reloadable cassette resting in the top chamber (later models used metal cassettes). To load, film is pulled down and inserted into an identical lower cassette and the camera back closed and locked. Film is advanced by a double tooth mechanism moved by a rod extending through the back of the camera. In effect it is a one-frame-at-a-time movie camera. The film is pushed into the take-up cassette unlike later 35mm cameras. The most common lens is an Ilex-Ansco Cinemat F:6.3. It is a 40mm lens (equivalent to a 60mm lens in full-frame 35mm), but there is no focal length shown. Four aperture settings (6.3, 8, 11, and 16) are provided with shutter speeds of T, B, 1/100, 1/50, and 1/25. An exposure counter on the front runs from 0 to 50. There is a fixed viewfinder on the top and a metal handle for easy transport. Tripod socket on the bottom. The f6.3 lens is fixed-focus at 15 feet (for a 6x8 print, depth of field is from 8 feet at f6.3 and from 3 feet at f16). Fortunately, the later, easier to find Agfa Karat cassettes will work in this camera. Instructions for reloading these cassettes can be found in the DARKROOM section of the SUBCLUB.
(1940) Agfa and Ansco joined forces in 1928 and made a wide variety of cameras over a period of many years. One of these was a completely redesigned Memo in 1939. It was a full-frame folding-bed camera. The next year they came out with a half-frame model of the same camera, also called the Memo -- to the confusion of many. It had shutter speeds of B, T, 1/2 - 1/250. The manually-focusing lens was available in f3.5, f4.5 and f5.6 versions. It did not use the original Memo cassette, but adapted the Agfa KARAT cassette -- used in the Agfa Karat cameras of the same time -- which eventually evolved into the popular Agfa Rapid cassettes used in many half-frame (and full-frame) cameras over the next 40 years.
Same as the Ricoh Auto Half. The features that made it popular were its small size, automatic exposure and built-in spring-motor drive. It had a trusty four element, three group 25mm (f2.8) fixed-focus lens that would appear on Ricoh (and other) half-frames for years to come. The shutter had two speeds of 1/30 (for flash) and 1/125. The selenium meter around the lens controlled the exposure at 1/125. The spring drive could advance 25 - 30 exposures before winding was needed (It did not offer motorized rewind, like the Canon Dial cameras) Tripod socket and PC contact on the side. A cold flash shoe was available as an accessory and screwed into the tripod socket. Ricoh also made several flash units that screwed into the tripod socket and made contact with the PC contact (which is next to the tripod socket) -- a nice setup that they used on several of their cameras, not just half-frames. Also sold as the Standard Gatling 72. A flash and strange, rectangular filters that snapped on over the lens, meter and viewfinder were available as accessories.
It has the front shutter release of the Ricoh Auto Half, the flashy faceplate of the Ricoh Auto Half E, and a hot-shoe like the Ricoh Auto Half E2 (but in a different location).
Same as the Ricoh Auto Half E2.
(1983) Ansco came out with one of the latest half-frame cameras. This version has several convenience features such as built in motor drive & flash. Shutter speeds of 1/60 - 1/500. Built in CDS meter controls the f-stop and shutter speed. 24mm (f3.5) fixed-focus, three-element lens. Self-timer. Uses AA batteries. Made by Haking in China and also sold as the Haking MW 35.
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