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Art Deco Cameras

Spartus Folding


Spartus Folding
Spartus Folding
Manufacturer: Spartus
Produced: 1940
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Strut
Film Type:127
Film Width:46mm
ImageSize:1⅝ x 2½ in
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Doublet
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:70mm
Focal Range:6ft - inf.
Aperture Type:Multihole
Aperture:f/16 and f/22
Shutter Type :Guillotine
Shutter Speeds:T, I*(1/30) sec
Size Closed (w x h x d):63 x 140 x 32 mm
Size Open (w x h x d):92 x 140 x 83 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

star star star star
Significant: Pronounced and self evident

I consider this camera to warrant 4 stars for the following attributes:


The Spartus Folding Camera was manufactured by the Spartus Camera Corp. of Chicago from 1940. It was designed to be an inexpensive and simple to operate camera. It is capable of capturing eight 1 5/8 x 2 1/2 inch (4.5 x 6cm) exposures on standard No. 127 roll film in colour or black-and-white. It is constructed of Bakelite with a metal folding view finder. The metal lens plate folds out on struts when the release button is pressed.

It has a simple T/I shutter for both snapshots and time exposure. It has a fold out table stand for time exposures. The f/16 doublet lens can be stopped down to f/22 by shifting a lever behind the faceplate.

How to Use

Find the User Manual for the Spartus Folding Camera here.

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'.

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 two aperture values - f/11 and f/16. The shutter speed is 1/30s

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

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/30s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/22+2 Stop
SunnyDistinctf/22+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/22Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/16Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/16-1 Stop
Open Shade
Nonef/16-2 Stops
Not Acceptable