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Art Deco Cameras

Bilora Bella 44


Bilora Bella 44
Bilora Bella 44
Manufacturer: Bilora
Produced: 1958
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Solid Body
Construction:Moulded Aluminium
Film Type:127
Film Width:46mm
ImageSize:1⅝ x 1⅝ in
No. of Images:12
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focal Length:55mm
Focus Type:Variable
Focal Range:1m - inf.
Aperture Type:Multihole
Aperture:f/8 and f/11
Shutter Type :leaf
Shutter Speeds:B, I(1/50s, 1/100s)
Size (w x h x d):118 x 80 x 72 mm

Art Deco Credentials

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Noteworthy: Worth giving special attention


The camera is the first of a range of cameras having similar design built between 1958 and 1962. The heavily ribbed nature of the aluminium body makes it very attractive. The cast aluminium body is partly covered with leathette covering in various colour combinations. The horizontal nature of the ribbing and the curved nature of the body gives it features that are indicative of the Streamline Moderne style of the late 30's and early 40's


The back is removable for film loading with each model having a different and rather large back catch. The back catch is released by pressing a small button and twisting anti-clockwise. This large catch also contains the red window with a sliding metal cover.

The Bella 44 has an Achromat f/8 lens which is front focussed by rotating the ring immediately surrounding the front element. Focussing goes from 1m to infinity. Only two aperture settings are available (f/8 and f/16) are chosen using a switch. Shutter speeds (1/100, 1/50, and Bulb) are selected by a lever. There is a flash sync post and a threaded shutter button on the lens mount. The film advance wheel is just beneath the top plate and is rotated using your thumb and forefinger. A cold shoe for the flash and accessories is found on the top plate. The only thing on the camera's bottom plate is a tripod socket.

The Bella 44-1 was also rebadged by Ansco and sold as the Ansco Lancer.

How to Use

This camera takes 127 film which is still available from select outlets - search for 'Rera Pan 100-127' which is a black & white film. For those photographers in the UK, try Nick & Trick photographic services. If you want to use a particular type of film which is not available commercially, then you can cut your own 127 film from any 120 film. See my page on 'How to cut 127 film from 120 film'.

The apertures available are is f/8 and f/11. The speeds available are 1/100s and 1/50s.

The table shows how this camera will perform using ISO 100/125 film. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Modern 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 to 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

Key: Green - Good exposure; Amber - acceptable exposure; Red - unacceptable exposure. Number of stops over or under shown.

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailShutter Speed (s)
with sharp edges
+3 over
+2 over
+2 over
+1 over
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/11
+1 over
OvercastBarely visiblef/11f/8
Heavy OvercastNonef/8f/8
-1 under
Open Shade
-1 under
-2 under