Ilford cameras

Vintage Ilford cameras

Ilford are an old established firm, head-quartered in Ilford, London. They are probably most famous for their films, such as HP5 and FP4.  In 1957 they were advertising HPS film (400) as the fastest film in the world (although in 1960 films were rated as twice their 1959 speed, so we would call it an 800 film).  Vintage Ilford cameras range from the cheap and cheerful Ilford Envoy, a plastic 120/620 snapshot camera, through to the legendary Iflfold Witness.  Also sold were the Ilford Sportsman cameras, which were rebadged German Dacora cameras.

Iford Advocate

Date: c.1952
Country of origin: England
Rangefinder: None
Meter: None
Shutter: Leaf.
Speeds: B, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/150, 1/200
Lens: Dallmeyer 1:3.5 35mm (‘Bloomed’ – i.e. coated)
Stops: 3.5 4 5.6 8 11 16 22

Vintage Ilford cameras - Ilford Advocate
Ilford Advocate

A very simple instrument, thought to be the first British 35mm camera. The body is made from cast aluminium, and is white / off white / cream in colour.  The enamel can chip off if the camera is subjected to abuse.

Launched in 1949 with a 35mm, f/4.5 Dallmeyer lens, later improved (‘Series 2’) with a similar f/3.5, also by Dallmeyer.  There is a much rarer (and sought after) Series 2 version with a Wray 35mm f/3.5 Lustrar.

This example is a ‘Series 2’ model.  As well as the change to a faster lens, the Series 2 added flash bulb sync, and some versions apparently with sync for electronic flash.  The serial number (hand scratched on the bottom of the camera, inside) of this example is 1919 8163, which puts it towards the end of production.

Loading the camera isn’t as simple as it seems – once the leader has been inserted in to the ‘split tube’, the tube itself needs to be rotated until it locks in place. If in any doubt, try first with a piece of spare film.

Ilford Advocate Sample Picture
Ilford Advocate Sample Picture