1937 Ansco B2 Cadet Box Camera Test

First test shots taken with the 1937 Ansco B2 Cadet Box Camera.  It's a film camera that shoots 120 roll film and creates 6x9cm negatives.  The results may not be astonishingly good but how many of our digital cameras will be around to shoot in 77 years from now ?


Last year at a flea market I had purchased this Ansco B2 Cadet Box Camera from 1937, this past weekend I took it apart, cleaned it up, loaded a roll of Ilford FP4 that expired in October of 1997 and shot the roll in the backyard while it snowed.  I had to fiddle with the frame advance until I figured out the print scheme that Ilford used on FP4 for the frame numbers.  Once I had that set and knew where to advance the film for each frame, everything else was very simple.  Essentially the camera is a hard cardboard box with a recessed meniscus type lens and a fixed shutter speed of about 1/50th and an aperture that is said to be about F8.  You load the 120 size roll film by pulling the frame advance knob outwards, unlatching the back and pulling out the cone which has sides for a take up reel and the reel for the full roll of film. Once loaded, you can shoot the camera in either portrait or landscape using its two built in viewfinders, one for each orientation.   The camera only has zone focusing which basically means you assume that everything is focus at infinity and you zoom by walking ahead or back.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were no light leaks in the camera given the simplicity of the latches that hold the door closed and the front panel on.  There is no tripod socket, cable release or facility for any sort of flash.  Photography brought down to it's most basic elements.  In short, it's fun to shoot with.   


My next test with the camera will be to load and shoot a fresh roll of Kodak Tmax 100 which will allow me to judge the true quality of the images it produces which could not be done with the expired film in this first test.  The third test will be to shoot a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 color negative film to see how the coating on the lens handles color rendition. 

Development: Self Developed in Kodak Xtol 1+2 dilution in Paterson Universal. 13 minutes @ 20 degrees Celsius. Tap water stop bath. Ilford Rapid Fixer. Photo-Flo rinse.

Scanning: Negative scanned with Epson V600.