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There is also a Russian instant camera called Foton.

The Foton is a high-specification 35mm camera launched by Bell & Howell in 1948, with a small number of interchangeable lenses and a coupled rangefinder. The standard lens is a 'Filmocoted' Taylor-Hobson 2-inch T2.2 (f/2) Cooke Amotal anastigmat (the aperture is marked in T-stops). This can be focused either by twisting the lens itself, or with the focusing wheel on the front right-hand side of the body;[1] The rangefinder is in a separate eyepiece from the viewfinder.

The lenses have a screw mount. The focusing helical thread is part of the camera body, not the lens.[2] A four-inch T4 (f/2.5) Panchrotal was available;[2] An example has been seen at Westlicht with a Cooke 216 mm (8½ inch) f/5.6 Telekinic and a shoe-mounted rangefinder unit to serve one of the telephoto lenses;[3] clearly, this suggests that the camera's own rangefinder does not couple with all the available lenses. McKeown states that a twelve-inch Cooke lens was also available.[4]

The camera has a focal-plane shutter with metal blades, travelling vertically, with speeds 1 - 1/1000 second, plus 'B'.[2] The shutter release is on the front of the body (there is a button on the top housing where a shutter release might be expected; this is the rewind release[2]). It also has both a 6 frame-per-second spring motor advance (with the winding key in the base) and a manual advance knob on the top housing. Advancing the film cocks the shutter; there is a frame counter, and an indicator window beside the film advance knob, to show when the camera is wound on and cocked.[1] There is a control by the shutter release to select single or continuous exposures.

There is a film speed reminder dial tucked under the hot shoe.

In 1949, the camera was advertised for $700 in the July issue of U.S. Camera. In just a few months, the advertised price had dropped to $498 (see the advertisements below).


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Foton at Scott's Photographica Collection.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Foton, including a picture with the four-inch Panchrotal lens and one with the film chamber open, at Stephen Gandy's Cameraquest.
  3. Foton serial no. 697076, with Amotal standard lens and Cooke 216 mm f/5.6 Telekinic, and shoe-mounted rangefinder, offered for sale at the 27th camera auction by Westlicht Photographica Auction.
  4. McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p123.