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Art Deco Cameras

E. Elliott Vista Colour


Vista Colour
Vista Colour
Manufacturer: E. Elliott
Produced: 1940
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Solid Body
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
ImageSize:2¼ x 2¼
No. of Images:12
Lens Type:meniscus
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:75mm
Focal Range:10ft - inf.
Aperture Type:Fixed
Shutter Type : Guillotine type
Shutter Speeds:I*1/80s
Size (w x h x d):100 x 125 x 95 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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Acceptable: Modest and restricted


This is a simple Bakelite camera produced in the early 1940s. There is another camera which is called the Vista 12 which is almost identical. However, the Vista 12 has flash contacts on the side of the camera. The Vista Colour just has protuberances in the Bakelite where these contact would go.

The shutter release is on the top of the camera which only works in instantaneous mode. Film advance is by a knob and there is a red window on the back to view the frame numbers. The viewfinder is quite large compared with its contemporaries and is of Galileo type.

How to Use

This camera takes 120 film which is easily available. Don't forget to cover the red window except when advancing the film. This should be done in low light. Modern film is sensitive to red light.

The measured shutter speed on this particular camera was 1/80s. Some people guess at 1/30s which is obviously way off in this case. As you can see, it's so important to find out the true speed if you want reasonable success in getting the best exposure.

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 1/80s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/12+2 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/12+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/12Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/12-1 Stop
Heavy OvercastNonef/12-2 Stops
Not Acceptable
Open Shade
Nonef/12-3 Stops
Not Acceptable