Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

The "Cycam" Camera

Busch Camera Company (London)

Name / Model: The "Cycam"
Manufacturer: Busch Camera Company
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Production Period: TBC


Plate / Film Size: 4 x 5 rollfilm and plates
Lens: Busch's Detectiv Aplanat No 2 Foc 6½ in 2273
Shutter: B & L Unicum (No 97128)
Movements: Horizontal and vertical shift
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1899
Serial Number: Serial 22 stamped into lower edge of hinge line. Number 114402 stamped into inside of inner back.
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 552


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The camera is marked with a round badge on the top face identifying the maker as the Busch Camera Co, London and the camera as The "Cycam". The name, according to Coe, is formed from the Cyclist's Camera and was introduced in 1899.

Having described this camera, Coe then goes on to say that "The Busch Tribees of 1900 was a simpler model, and the Pockham - Pocket Camera - of 1902 sported a frame finder so that the camera could be used at eye-level."

The Cycam camera also has a fold up frame finder, very much like that shown on the Pockham in Coe's book. More confusingly still, on the inside of the removable back, there is a round stamp impressed in the wood that shows the name "Tribees" within a double circle frame!

The camera is designed for rollfilm and plates. There was no spool remaining in the camera and it is a little difficult to be sure of the size, but it seems likely that it is intended for 4 x 5 rollfilm, such as the Kodak 103 rollfilm used in the No 4 Bulls-Eye. Certainly there are Krügener cameras that were produced for this rollfilm.

The camera has maroon bellows, which are in good condition and retain their colour.


The camera shares many common features with early Krügener cameras, such as the focusing by set screw on the front of the bed, the side catches on the supports for the lens board, the bar handle on the bottom of the lens standard and the folding frame finder. It seems plausible that the camera was made by Krügener for sale by Busch, although it is unclear whether Krügener sold the same design under their own name.

When I was sorting through a number of cameras to take photographs, I came across an early Houghtons Ensign Model C camera and quickly realised that this has a very strong resemblance to the Busch Cycam. Many early Houghtons rollfilm and plate cameras were imported from Germany, under arrangements with companies such as Krügener. The two cameras are shown side by side in the photograph below.

Image of Busch Cycam (left) and Houghtons Ensign Model C (right)