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Art Deco Cameras

Spartus "35"


Spartus 35
Spartus "35"
Manufacturer: Spartus
Produced: 1947
Body Type:Solid Body
Film Type:135
Film Width:35mm
Image Size:36mm x 24mm
No. of Images:36
Lens Type:Graf Achromat
Focal Length:50mm
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Range:6ft - Inf.
Aperture Type :Rotating Stops
Apertures :f/7.7, f/11, f/16
Shutter Type:Leaf
Shutter Speeds:T, I*(1/50s)
Size (w x h x d):135 x 75 x 65 mm
* measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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The Spartus 35 and Spartus 35 F are a series of 35mm film viewfinder cameras made by Spartus and produced from 1947 to 1954. Later models were made by Herold Mfg. Co. in Chicago, USA. The Spartus 35 was the first 35mm camera made by Spartus. It is a simple camera made of Bakelite. Obviously modelled on the Argus A, the Spartus 35 features a classic shape very common to 35mm cameras of its era. It's curvilinear design and restrained decoration give it an Art Deco Streamline Moderne character.

The 35 features a very basic 50mm lens with a minimum focus distance of about 6 feet. Aperture is controlled by rotating a metal plate behind the lens which have precut holes for f/7.7, f/11, and f/16 as well as a position labelled 'SHUT' which closes the aperture completely. The shutter is preset at about 1/50 second but can be put in 'time' mode by moving a small lever on the lens barrel opposite the shutter lever. However, time mode acts as 'bulb' with the shutter staying open only as long as button is pressed.

On the top left of the camera is the wind knob that can only be activated, when the film has been loaded, by pressing the silver button on the back. The button is pressed for half a turn and then released. The film winding is continued. The film halts at the position of the next frame. A frame counter dial indicates which frame you are exposing. The shutter release is not linked to the film advance so double exposures are possible. The rewind button is underneath to the right. In the middle of the top is a simple optical viewfinder. Like many cameras of its day, the back comes off completely (as opposed to being hinged) and comes undone by lifting the metal tab on the left.

How to Use

Find the manual here:- Spartus "35" Manual

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.

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

The table assumes that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summer's day in the UK.

If you are not sure about the light level, err on the side of overexposure - i.e. assume the smaller f number.

This camera has a choice of three aperture values - f/7.7, f/11 and f/16. The shutter speed is 1/50s

You may want to use a tripod to stop blur through shake.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/50s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/16+2 Stop
SunnyDistinctf/16+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/11Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/7.7Good
Open Shade
Nonef/7.7-1 Stop

Photographs taken with this Camera

Film - Kodak Portra 160. Developed in Tetenal.

Colourful Houses, Bideford, Devon, UK
Coach House Public House, St Mellons, Wales
St John's College, St Mellons, Wales
Church of St Mellon, Cardiff, Wales