The photographic aspirant will probably find very great difficulty in choosing suitable apparatus with which to make a commencement. He will see by various advertisements that apparatus can be purchased at greatly differing prices. Passing by those makers who profess to supply everything necessary for two or three shillings - and at once relegating them and their wares to the toy-shop - we next come to complete sets sold at two or three guineas. For about this sum a complete set of apparatus can be had of the type shown at page 114. The items include a camera and its belongings, the necessary chemicals, a red lamp, a dozen gelatine plates, and many other requisites. It is the kind of set which would be very suitable to place in the hands of an intelligent youth - and moreover, it will produce good pictures if landscapes - pure and simple - be the only ones attempted. It is furnished with a cheap form of lens which is only suitable for this class of work; but it is a lens which will do this work as efficiently as others which are far more expensive. But it is only right to mention that the higher priced lens will do for other more advanced pictures as well. This form of "single lens," as it is called, is described in the Chapter upon lenses.

He who wishes to excel in the Art of Photography must furnish himself with apparatus of a somewhat more advanced type, and - as in many other pursuits - his wants must be regulated by the length of his purse. For a ten-pound note, or thereabouts, he can obtain a camera, lens, and stand, which will produce for him pictures which he will not be ashamed to show to his friends. If his means are limited, he will do best to commence with a small camera. That size known as half-plate is a very good one for a beginner. There is not a very great difference in the price of this sized. camera, and the one next size larger to it, for the workmanship in both is of much the same value. The inexperienced buyer may, therefore, be tempted to pay the higher sum to secure the larger camera. But he must remember that the larger sized camera entails larger sized gelatine plates, larger quantities of chemicals, and larger everything else. Indeed he is in the position of a man who has the choice of buying a large and a small house, without there being very much difference in the purchase money of cither. If a wise man, he will first count the cost of keeping up the larger house before he decides upon having it. We will new append a list of the various sizes of photographic cameras, each size given denoting the size of the picture which the camera will give. We also state against each size the price per dozen of the gelatine plates upon which the pictures are taken:-

Camera giving pictures of the undermentioned size in inches.

Cost of gelatine plates.

X

generally known as quarter-plate size

from

l/-

to

1/9

per doz.

5

X

4

... ... ...

"

1/7

"

3/-

"

X

Stereoscopic size

...

"

2/2

"

4/6

"

X

Half plate size

...

"

2/3

"

4/6

"

X X

... ... ...

"

2/10

"

5/6

"

5

... ... ...

"

3/5

"

6/-

"

8

X

5

... ... ...

"

3/10

"

7/-

"

X

Whole plate

...

"

4/3

"

7/6

"

9

X

7

... ... ...

"

5/-

"

10/-

"

10

X

8

... ... ...

"

7/3

"

12/6

"

12

X

10

... ... ...

"

10/6

"

16/-

"

15

X

12

... ... ...

"

18/-

"

28/-

"

Those who are fortunate in being so placed that they have no need to study economy in such a matter, cannot do better than purchase a camera of a good medium size - such as 8½ X 6½, or 10 X 8. Or perhaps the wiser plan would be to commence with a smaller size, and adopt the larger one later on. There is another alternative. A large camera can be bought in the first instance, and the dark slides, or double backs for holding the plates, can be fitted by the vendor with carriers to hold small-sized gelatine plates. The operator can then use these small plates until proficient, and can afterwards relinquish the carriers, and use plates the full size of the apparatus. Adopting this plan, his experimental pictures - with their faulty results - will not cost him very much.

There are one or two points which should be looked for in a good camera. In the first place it should be rigid when set up on its stand, so that it will not vibrate with every breeze. In the next place, its parts should be so arranged that it will not only pack up into a small compass for travelling, but that it will readily unpack. Some makers sacrifice everything to extreme lightness; their cameras are wonders of mechanical skill, but are generally wanting in rigidity, are easily broken, and have too many complications.

A capital form of camera is that shown at page III. The first picture is a front view of the instrument, with its board as yet unpierced for the lens. It will be seen that the front of the instrument can be moved up and down, or from right to left. It has a leather bellows body - an indispensable feature of all first class cameras - of such a length that long focus lenses can be employed as well as those of short focus. This is a most important point, the value of which will soon become evident to the operator. The focussing, or lengthening and shortening of this bellows body is brought about by the side screw knob shown at the bottom of the figure which works a pinion over a rack giving an exact adjustment.

Referring now to the back elevation (page III), we notice that the back can be swung in any direction. The instrument possesses not only the usual swing back, as it is called, but has a side swing as well. At the top of the back will be noticed two screw knobs with milled heads. These knobs are at the ends of rods which pass right through the framework of the camera to the base board below. By loosening these the back can be placed at any required angle, and by tightening them that angle is rigidly preserved as long as may be necessary.