By James A. Sinclair, F.R.P.S.

The selection of a Hand Camera requires as much care as the selection of a wife, and yet many people drift into this branch of photographic work with as little conscious thought as others drift into marriage. The position of the beginner is, however, a very difficult one. He knows nothing of the subject and is bombarded with advice by those who know but little more than himself. For light he consults a number of catalogues which only serve to intensify his confusion ; for each maker affirms that his specialities are the only ones a self-respecting photographer should use, backing the assertion with a pleasing reproduction of an express train, a man diving or some equally astonishing result that no one would desire to take a second time. The only way to buy the right article is for the would-be hand-camera worker to first analyse his own mind - to definitely decide on the extent of his aspirations, and then, with the various instruments outlined before him, to see in how far they will be likely to fill his wants.

The following classes will be likely to embrace most hand-camera workers, although, of course, there is no real line of demarcation between them.

James A. Sinclair

James A. Sinclair, F.R.P.S. By Furley Lewis, F.R P.S.

1. The Beginner who knows nothing of photography, but has a desire to obtain reminiscences of his home, or friends, or holiday scenes. He usually requires the simplest apparatus, and is often prepared to let someone else do the developing and printing.

2. The Tripod Camera Worker, who perhaps has a mild contempt for hand cameras and hand-camera workers. He may sometimes concede that a hand camera has limited uses and such a concession may be held as a sign of grace on his part.

3. The Hand Camera Enthusiast, who has perhaps at one time worked with a tripod, but realizes that the finest things are more easily secured with hand cameras, because of the spontaneity of scenes depicted. He will recognise the value of high-class apparatus.

4. The Professional who wants a camera to take rapidly-moving objects under the most difficult conditions.

5. The Scientific Explorer who wants the best result for Geographical, Topographical or Ethnological reference. He does not mind a little extra weight or bulk, providing he obtains reliable records.


Having divided the possible purchasers of cameras into several divisions, we will now consider the different types of instrument and sec how far they are likely to meet the requirements of these various classes.

Type 1. The Kodak Type, such as the various productions of the Kodak Company ; the Sinclair "Traveller" Roll Film Camera; Ensigns ; Carbines, etc.

Type 2. The Automatic Changers. These cameras usually hold 12 plates in sheaths, which are changed by moving a lever or button on top or side of the instrument. They comprise the cheaper forms of hand cameras for use with plates.

Type 3. Box-Form Cameras. This is perhaps the oldest type of Hand Camera, and consists of a solid box with lens and shutter enclosed at one end and usually a changing box or dark slide at the other. Typical of this class is the " N & G " Special B.

Type 4. Reflex Cameras, in which there is a full-sized focussing finder, as in the N.S. Patent Reflex ; " Soho " Reflex ; Adams' "Minex ; " etc. These cameras have superseded the Twin-Lens cameras, probably because with the Reflex Type the exact view given on the plate is shown in the finder. With Twin-Lens cameras there is a considerable difference when focussing on near objects.

Type 5. Focal Plane Folding Cameras, such as the " Zeiss Palmos," " Goerz Anschutz," and " Panros " Cameras.

Type 6. Pocket Cameras and other compact forms, of which the smallest and amongst the best are the " Baby Sybil," " Goerz Vest Pocket Tenax," " Zeiss Bebe," " Block Note," " Vesta," etc. Type 7. Universal Cameras for Hand and Stand on the lines of the " Sinclair Una," " Dallmeyer's Correspondence," and the " Sanderson." This is perhaps the most popular type amongst serious workers.

It must not be thought that the above is in any way a complete list. It only mentions the better known of the typical forms, but there are many others which the reader may place into his own category.

Let us now examine the types more closely and see the advantages and disadvantages of each.