Fairchild F-8

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The Fairchild F-8 is a focal plane shutter camera for oblique aerial photos, manufactured by Fairchild, fitted with a Schneider Xenar 240mm/f8. It was built during World War II under licence by Keystone and fitted with a Wollensak 375mm f/5.6 lens.

Designed in 1929 and released in 1930, the Fairchild F-8 was used by aerial photographers both military and civilian. It found its first, well publicized use at the US Army Air Show in May 1931 in New York. The mid-1930s saw a surge of civilian applications. Among the key photographers using the Fairchild were Bradford Washburn who photographed Alaskan glaciers and landforms in 1934-36, Mary Upjohn Meader (Mary Light), who photographed landforms and towns in South America and Africa in 1937-38, and Margaret Bourke-White who shot aerial images for several US airlines in 1934-35. In the lead up to World War II, when greater volumes were required, the camera was also manufactured by Keystone (fitted with a 15" f/5.6 Wollensak lens).

The camera is comprised of a rectangular camera body with a large lens cone that completely encases the lens. Lens settings can be altered by accessing the front of the lens inside the cone, while the focal distance can be altered by adjusting a ring at the rim of the cone. The camera can be loaded with 7" roll film, shooting 5" x 7" negatives, and can also be fitted with a 5" x 7" sheet film magazine. It has a rubberised focal plane curtain shutter. The fold-out Newton finder of the Fairchild F8 was fitted with a pointing device as well as cross hairs, designed to accurately reflect what the camera would be capturing in film.

Length (depth): 347mm (13 1/2 ")
Width (incl. handles): 360 mm (14 1/4")
Height: 290 mm (11 1/2")
Weight: 7.1 kg (15.7 lbs)
Film Type: 5"x7", 40 exposures

Manufacturer: Jos. Schneider & Co., Kreuznach (Germany)
Type: Xenar 240mm (12") f/4.5
Aperture stops: 4.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32, 45
Shutter: 125, 175, 225, 300, 400
Focus Settings: 8', 10', 12', 15', 20', 30', 50' 100', INF[inity]
Picture Angle: 62º