Camera Speed Dating – Ansco Anscoflex 620 TLR

Those that know Nicole and I know that we have what appears to be an on going camera acquisition problem. To remedy this but continue to try out ALL of the cameras we have decided to start borrowing cameras from our fellow camera enthusiasts instead of trying to purchase or hoard them all to ourselves. Not all are winners though and some are just easier or more fun to use but you have to shoot with them first to find out! Thus, we decided if we run a roll through every camera we are interested in, not unlike going on a 5 minute date with a bunch of strangers at a singles night, we can quickly see which are worthy of being added to our collection (or put on our list of “must haves.”) Camera speed dating!

Here is most recent camera I had the pleasure of a quick date with…the Anscoflex (pseudo) TLR camera.

 

 

A bit about the Ansco Anscoflex camera….or as I like to refer to it, The Refrigerator. To me this camera looks and is built like those rounded looking fridges from the 50’s, coupled with a roll top desk or perhaps an airplane hanger door. Built by the American company, Ansco, between 1953-56 and designed by renowned industrial designer Raymond Loewy, this camera is essentially the “point and shoot” of TLR cameras. Though truly it is not a TLR, as it lacks an actual viewfinder lens, making it a fancy box camera essentially. Its unique design isn’t surprising when you see it was the created by the same designer who imagined the Greyhound Scenicruiser Bus. Featured in the 1956 Sears catalog for $27.95, this camera was touted as being easy to use and inexpensive.

It’s front lens cover slides up to create the viewfinder hood and reveal it’s fixed f/11 lens. Shutter speed is also fixed at 1/60th. This cameras unique film advance features a racheted side winder knob, that only sometimes allows the frame number to line up properly in the red viewing window. As the roll goes on, the numbers slowly slip out of view and no longer line up in the window. This doesn’t seem to really affect the photos though, aside from slowly spacing the frames further and further apart. Mine came in it’s original box, with a flash and matching refrigerator coloured case. It is in excellent condition and it certainly doesn’t look like any other camera in my collection, so it’s a really fun shelf piece. That being said, it’s also pretty fun to shoot with too! It has a incredibly large and bright, though not particularly accurate, view finder and it’s so streamlined it really is point and shoot. It’s red shutter button is quite satisfying to use, and once you wind the knob on the side to advance the film, the shutter button pops back out indicating you are ready to take another photo. I don’t get to shoot it very frequently, as it takes 620 film, but now that we have re-spooled Kodak TMAX 100 film 620 film in store I decided to give it another shot. Here are a few shots from what is my second roll through this camera and as it turns out, it is not a particularly sharp camera. There are points of focus in most of the images, but it seems to be very selective. It’s slow shutter speed does not really lend itself well to street photography unfortunately.

 

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