ABOUT THIS CAMERA
Camera Type: Roll Film Box
Film Type: 120 spool.
Image Size: Rectangle. 6x9 cm. Takes 8 photos.
Shutter Speed: 1/50 or 1/60
Body: Your basic cardboard box with metal guts and leather cover. Really simple camera with no bells or whistles. Lens is located behind the metal shutter. Those crazy viewfinders on the top and side are dim and terrible (although not nearly the worse I've seen) so to some extent what you're photographing is a bit of guesswork.
Focal Range: Around 2m to infinity
Manufactured by: Agfa Ansco Corp. USA.
Produced: Late 1930's - late 1940's. (I think mine is from 1947)
PERSONAL NOTES AND COMMENTS
Purchased May 2003 in a lot of four box cameras. This camera was very clean and in excellent condition. I really lucked out! I did some minor cleaning with my very sophisticated camera cleaning arsenal: a can of compressed air, q-tips and a very fine grade steel wool to scrub away the rust.
I love this camera. I actually bought the lot to obtain the Ansco Shur Shot but never did use it. The insides of that camera were not as clean. I started using the B-2 Cadet and haven't put it down since. It is one of my most loved and most used box cameras. I think part of its appeal is in its simplicity.
My current favourite use for it is in conjunction with a magnifying glass. Using the two together, I am able to get within 8 inches of an object. I've had a lot of success taking interesting photos this way.
As far as film goes I've had success taking photos outside on bright, sunny days with 100 asa and 125 asa colour film. I have heard that when box cameras were made 50 asa (for black and white) was the standard of the day and that's why 100 works well. Agfa Optima II has nice colour saturation. I haven't tried anything else yet.
My only problem with this camera has been in having prints made. The size is unusual and even the professional labs I use don't print at that size. When I do have prints done they are cropped (losing part of the photo). I now ask for contact sheets rather than prints but one contact costs the same as having eight prints made.
How Much Should I Pay for This Camera? Value is in the eye of the beholder. This has become one of my favourite cameras but I don't think it is "worth" much. I bought mine in a lot of four box cameras at a total of $26.00 US for all four.
ABOUT USING A MAGNIFYING GLASS WITH THIS CAMERA
As I previously mentioned, my favourite use for this camera has been in conjunction with a magnifying glass I bought for $7.00 CDN at the Ontario Science Centre. My magnifying glass is fairly large with a glass lens and is the kind used for reading or looking at stamps. It has a black plastic handle. I hold the magnifyer flat against the front of the camera and use a measuring tape to be sure to get an accurate distance between the lens and the subject. I went through a fairly elaborate process to determine the actual focal distance using the magnifyer. I have heard others say they just guess at the distance but I think by going to the trouble I have a higher success rate.
Taking Your Measurements: Here's how I determined the proper distance to hold the camera and magnifyer from my subject.
1. Open up the camera and tape a piece of wax paper across the back of the camera inside where the film would normally be.
2. Set up a lamp (minus shade) in a dark or darkened room. I used my bathroom.
3. Set the camera in front of the light with the magnifying glass taped to the front (flat against it). I taped it because I couldn't hold that and do all the other steps simultaneously.
4. Now hold a loupe flat against the wax paper. You should be able to see the image of the lamp upside down and very, very faint on the wax paper. Take some time to look until you see it. The loupe helps you to see if the light is focussed or not.
5. Next move the camera forwards and backwards slowly always looking through the loupe until you find the point at which the image (the lamp) is focussed.
6. Finally, using a measuring tape, measure the distance from the lamp to the lens. Use this distance when taking photos.
My number one tip when using any box camera is to hold it flat against your body. This will hold the camera still when you click the shutter and ensure a crisper image -- if that is what you want, of course.
· Matt Denton -- A great page of information, personal opinion and cleaning information.
· Box Camera 101 -- Despite their simplicity opening your new box camera and loading film can be a bit daunting for the beginner. This is an excellent resource depicting various types of box cameras and their little eccentricities. Includes photos. I also love the site in general for junk store camera reviews and info.
PHOTOS TAKEN WITH THIS CAMERA BY OTHERS
Check out some photos others have taken with the B-2 Cadet.
· Ryan Buck --One black and white shot using this camera.
· Classic cameras Nice colour image. This person didn't have the strap on top that says the model name but that is the exact model I have.
· Magnifyed Zinnias — October Fri 24 2003
· Ansco B-2 Cadet vs Brownie Hawkeye — October Tue 21 2003
· Yellow Lily — August Fri 22 2003
· Once there was a way... — August Sat 09 2003
· Maginifying Experiment — August Fri 08 2003
· Little Kitty — July Sat 05 2003
· Crisis Averted or Something Like That — July Thu 03 2003
· Four Little Box Cameras — May Tue 27 2003