Ansco View Cameras

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The Ansco View cameras are wooden-bodied folding field cameras made from about 1925-39. They were made by Ansco in Binghampton, New York. They are often referred to in periodicals as Agfa View cameras; their maker was indeed Agfa Ansco for most of their period of production, and examples are seen with the Agfa rhombus;[1] however, they are properly Ansco cameras not similar to anything made by Agfa in Europe.

The Universal View Camera was originally made in 3¼x4¼, 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 inch sizes, but by 1938 only in 5x7 and 8x10 inch.[2] The camera is made from cherry wood, stained a mahogany brown ('Adam brown') and has brass fittings and black leather bellows with a thin rubber lining. The 1938 Ansco catalogue offers a 'de luxe' finish of 'steel-grey' stained wood, nickel-plated fittings and red leather bellows.[2]

The camera is rear-focusing by rack and pinion, and allows a large bellows extension: it has a built-in extension bed. The front standard has rise, shift and tilt, the rear tilt and swing. The rear has a pendulum level. The camera was supplied with a half-blind allowing a single plate to be used for two half-size images.

The Universal View is one of a range of similar view cameras:

  • The Commercial View camera was made in 8x10 inch only. It is rear-focusing like the Universal, but also has the front movable by rack-and-pinion.
  • The Standard View camera is a single-extension camera of similar construction; rear-focusing, and made in 5x7 inch only.
  • The Universal Junior View camera is a single-extension quarter-plate camera, and front-focusing. It has front rise, and rear tilt and swing.


  1. 5x7 Agfa View; the camera (without bellows), case and a 4x5-inch reducing back all badged with the Agfa rhombus; at John Gately's Flickr site.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Notes on the Agfa/Ansco Universal View at Pierce Vaubel shows pages from contemporary American catalogues offering the camera in these sizes and over this period.