Camera Speed Dating – Ansco Shur-Flash

Those that know Meghan 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 Ansco Shur-Flash 120 box camera.


A few quick facts about the Shur-Flash; it is a ’50’s 120 box camera that shoots a 6×9 negative. Its lay out is slightly different than other box cameras as it has a raised viewfinder and not just tiny ground glass viewers. It also has an actual shutter button as opposed to a lever that clicks up and down as was popular with Kodak box cameras. The Shur-Flash has one aperture and one shutter speed, the flash (if I owned one) would fit on the top.

I really enjoy using box cameras, this one was no exception, though as usual the day was so perfect (blue skies and giant puffy white clouds – my fave) I did regret only bringing a box camera out with me. I decided to shoot some multiple exposures and some street. I find box cameras less intrusive for shooting street scenes with as it does not look high tech or need to get in anyone’s face to capture a great shot. I thought it went rather well. However upon getting my film back I realized it did not go that well at all. Almost every second shot was blurry, which means the second exposure on a double and some single street shots. At first I thought perhaps I was depressing the shutter too hard and wobbling the camera as I did, but that seemed unlikely as it was very bright out when I took the blurry ones (and I got sharp ones during cloud cover) and it’s a button shutter not a lever. A gentleman even insisted I take his photo, leaving no excuse for me to be rushed or hurriedly sneaky and it came out blurry! I was feeling extremely vexed and told Kathy, she suggested perhaps the shutter spring in the camera has lost some of its spring causing its tension to be inconsistent. That is also annoying….I don’t usually keep cameras around I can’t shoot, unless they are exceptionally cute! I will say I did get a couple double exposures I don’t mind being sharp & blurry, it has opened my eyes up to that perspective.


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One reply on “Camera Speed Dating – Ansco Shur-Flash

  • C

    I have one of these as well and had the same problem with blur. I think the blurriness is caused by a combination of slow shutter speed and the awkwardness of holding the camera while pushing the button and looking through the viewfinder. It’s a poor design for a box camera.

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