Autoload 342

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The Bell&Howell Autoload 342 is a quite sophisticated viewfinder camera for type No. 126 film cassettes. It was manufactured by Canon and marketed in 1962. It comprises a unique kind of focus-matic rangefinder and motorized film advance. It has a Bell&Howell f/40mm 1:2.8 4-element lens, and a shutter with speeds 1/30 to 1/800 sec.

Its triangulation rangefinder is activated by focusing the subject's feet while pressing the focusing lever. Then a ball bearing rolls in a track to measure the angle. When the lever is released the lens is locked in a position based on the ball bearing position, and the scale in the window at the lens barrel shows the distance.

The camera has a selenium cell as metering sensor built around the lens opening. The meter controls exposure and flash. The camera uses flashcubes. It needs 2 AAA batteries.