Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Cornex Camera

R. J. Beck Ltd

Name: Cornex
Manufacturer: R. J. Beck Ltd
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Mahogany body, covered in black leather. Front door is hinged with hidden button release, and reveals a polished mahogany interior. Rear door provides access to load and unload sheaths (12). Plate changer is on top of camera body, in common with many other designs.
Production Period: TBD


Model / Variant: Model D
Plate / Film Size: ½ plate (up to 12 in sheaths)
Lens: Beck Symmetrical f8
Shutter: Bausch & Lomb Unicum (1/2, 1/5, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 & T)
Movements: None
Dimensions (h x l x w):  
Date of this Example: c1905
Serial Number: No obvious serial marking.
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 621


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The Beck Cornex is a traditional pattern falling plate camera for 12 ½ plates in sheaths. It has a mahogany body, covered in black leather. The front door is hinged and has a hidden button release, and reveals a polished mahogany interior. Access through the front door is needed to allow the aperture to be adjusted, although the speed can be set from the front of the camera via a dial that engages with the speed dial on the B&L shutter.

The focusing is controlled from a knob on the underside of the camera that acts on the film carrier, rather than the more normal arrangement of moving the lens that I have seen on other cameras of this form. From limited information available detailing the range, it appears likely that this example is a Model D, as it has the Beck lens and the focusing facility not found on the cheaper models. More expensive models were available with superior lenses.

Two viewfinders are provided for portrait and landscape use. A dust cover is built into the front door to protect the lens and shutter, similar to that seen on the FOP Frena.

The camera bears a retailers name plate on the front face for the London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, 54 Cheapside, EC. The camera name is only shown on the focus scale on the side of camera, which incorporates a depth of field indicator.

A rear door provides access to load and unload the plate sheaths. The plate changer is on top of camera body, in common with many other falling plate (or magazine) camera designs, where the changer interlocks with tabs on the top of each sheath. These tabs are slightly offset but alternate sheaths have the tabs in different positions; the plate changer slides from side to side and releases the exposed plate to fall into the base of the camera, but catches the next sheath as the offset tabs then hit the projections on the underside of the plate changer. The process can then be repeated until all the sheaths have been exposed.


"Cornex" was a name used by Beck for a number of camera designs, and was not just limited to a range of falling plate or magazine cameras. The name was also used for other camera styles including a twin lens reflex, and a rollfilm camera.