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Art Deco Cameras

Ansco Shur-Shot Jr.


Ansco Shur-Shot Jr.
Ansco Shur-Shot Jr.
Manufacturer: Ansco
Produced: 1948
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Box
Construction:Cardboard, Wood, Metal
Film Type:120
Film width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 3¼ in
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:95mm
Focus Range:8ft to inf.
Aperture Type :Fixed
Aperture :f/16
Shutter Type:Rotary
Shutter Speeds:B,I*(1/40 sec)
Size (w x h x d):90 x 107 x 128 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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Acceptable: Modest and restricted


Although the Ansco Shur-Shot Jr. is a simple camera made from cardboard, wood and metal, it is particularly well made. It is capable of capturing eight 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inch exposures on standard no. 120 roll film. This basic box construction hadn't changed much from when box cameras first appeared half a century earlier. The camera is made of a water resistant fiber body covered in black imitation leather, with a decorative metal faceplate. The back is also made of metal. The shutter assembly is supported with a wooded block. There is a diagonal handle on the top.

The camera was fitted with a fixed focus lens for taking photos from about 8 feet to infinity. There is only one aperture and one shutter speed available. The glass single meniscus lens is located behind the shutter and aperture to obtain the optimal performance from a simple lens design. The shutter provides a snapshot speed of about 1/40 of a second. Film advance is by the use of a ruby window on the back door. This ruby window is only half the size you would expect on such a camera. It has a Bakelite winding knob. The two brilliant viewfinders for landscape and portrait orientation give a nice preview of the image. They are much better than the earlier ground glass type found on early box cameras. There is no cable release socket and no tripod mount.

For maintenance, the metal faceplate of the camera can be taken off by lifting tabs away from two small pegs which gives access to the shutter and viewfinders. By carefully manipulating the shutter mechanism, access to the lens allows cleaning with cotton buds. As in many box cameras, highly polished steel plates were used for the interior reflective surfaces of the viewfinders instead of mirrors. These seem to stand the test of time better than mirrored glass surfaces.

How to Use

Find the User Manual for a similar camera here:- https://www.cameramanuals.org/agfa_ansco/ansco_shur-shot_20.pdf.

This camera takes 120 film which is easily available.

As the shutter speed is only 1/40s, it is advisable to use a tripod to get clear shake free images. However, holding it against a wall or other solid object would work as well. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summers day (May - August) in the UK.

Remember that the exposure guide in the manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/40s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/16+2 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/16+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/16-1 Stop
Heavy OvercastNonef/16-2 Stops
Not Acceptable
Open Shade
Nonef/16-3 Stops
Not Acceptable