Do not despise the "Bullseye," "Scout," and cheaper magazine patterns, such as the "Klito," "Briton," "Empire," "Maxim," "Rover," etc., with which the market has been flooded in the past. Even if we do find them too often in the hands of inexperienced beginners, they are none the less capable of excellent work in their own proper scope. A box camera of the fewest possible movements is the only weapon available at an emergency. The other day we were shown an album of pictures secured with one of these humble instruments, and our soul was filled with envy at the sight. A few miniature cameras like the Ensignette may give like opportunities, because they are comparatively invisible; but if we want pictures of happy children by the seaside, or the casual mysteries of riverside and woodland, give us the box-pattern fixed-focus camera.
This sort of camera has one very serious defect - that it is much too cheap. People therefore treat it as an inferior article, good enough only for the beginner, who is just the person least qualified to use it. Although it is apparently the simplest form of camera, nevertheless it is the most difficult to obtain proficiency with, unless the owner has mastered the principles of focussing, and| understands how to group his subjects in focus. For instance, when aiming at high-class pictorial results with a 5 in. fixed-focus lens, if all objects over 10 ft. are in focus, he will endeavour to secure that the centre of subject is at about 18-22 ft. distance, 20 ft. being about the distance of sharpest focus. Such knowledge and the ability to use it is not acquired without apprenticeship at a focussing screen.
The connoisseur in snapshot work will be lavish in his expenditure on plates; he will be content with a small average of good pictures from a large number of exposures. He is obliged to decide quickly and must run many risks of failure. Hence he must take a large supply of plates with him. Roll films or film packs are, of course, easily exchanged, but are expensive in comparison with glass plates, the extra cost amounting to at least 150 per cent. Fortunately the new envelope system for flat films and plates has now attained a very high degree of perfection, and the slides can be reloaded almost as rapidly as the change of a double back, and with far less liability of error and double exposures.
During our own wanderings in the last twenty years we have almost exclusively made use of roll films, either with a proper roll-film camera, or with the very convenient cartridge roll-holders fitted on to an ordinary field camera. No other system is so safe, or gives so little bother and anxiety to the operator; and their is less risk of halation than even with backed plates. The films may be developed in the Kodak developing tank, or by the more interesting though, perhaps, more laborious method shown on p. 103.