Ansco Shur Shot

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Note: The Ansco Shur Shot has no connection to the post-1979 Sure Shot point & shoot cameras from Canon


A brand of basic box cameras manufactured in Binghamton, New York by Ansco, which went though several minor variations.

The series began in about 1935, and Shur Shot cameras originally carried the name Agfa-Ansco in use at that time. Post-1943 models were branded as Ansco alone. The cameras were made in sizes for 120 and 116 film; but because of the Agfa connection these were specified using the German designations B2 and D6 respectively.

A Shur Shot is a simple cardboard box covered with leatherette. A structural panel of wood behind the metal faceplate holds the shutter mechanism, and a fixed aperture of approximately f/13. The image is formed by a single backwards-facing meniscus lens behind this.

Early models had two pebbled-glass viewfinders, and later models two brilliant viewfinders, which allowed either horizontal or vertical composition. Most models permitted long (bulb) exposures by pulling a small tab outwards. The more advanced models also included a slider which positioned either a smaller aperture (approximately f/22) or a yellow filter in front of the main lens. (The filter was intended for black & white photography, e.g. to deepen the tone of blue skies.)

To load film it is necessary to pull out the wind knob and open the back door, which then permits the entire film carriage (and lens) to slide out of the body. The metal faceplate of the camera can also be taken off by lifting tabs away from two small pegs, giving access to the shutter and viewfinders (e.g. if cleaning or lubrication is required). In many models, instead of mirrors, highly polished steel plates were used for the interior reflective surfaces of the viewfinders.

The very simple, reliable, and maintainable design of the Shur Shot has preserved large numbers of them in perfectly usable condition right up to the present day.

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