Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Field Camera

Sands & Hunter

Name: Field Camera (Unnamed)
Type: Field Camera
Manufacturer: Sands & Hunter
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Standard field camera construction as commonly used in the period.
Production Period: Unknown


Plate / Film Size: ½ plate
Lens: Missing, but possibly a Dallmeyer (see text)
Shutter: Thornton Pickard Time & Instantaneous roller blind shutter
Movements: Rising front (sliding panel), tilting front and tilting back
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1885
Serial Number: None
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 535

Sands & Hunter field Camera


This unnamed field camera is a very well made mahogany and brass camera that bears a name plate for Sands & Hunter on the rear panel. The S & H name format means that it dates to no later than 1892 and the design of the camera suggests a date between 1880 and 1890.

I am assuming that this camera was made for sale by Sands & Hunter, rather than being just a re-badged makers camera, but it is impossible to tell with any certainty unless an S & H advert turns up that identifies the camera explicitly. Channing & Dunn [2] identify a number of early field cameras by name, but so far it has not been possible to match any to this camera.

Having discussed this with other knowledgeable collectors of British cameras, the common view is that this may have been made by one of the Manchester makers such as Bilcliffe.

The camera is in good condition, with the only obvious sign of wear being circular rub marks around the tripod bush in the solid base.

The camera has double extension, square format tapered maroon bellows in very good order - no obvious flaws or faults.

A spirit level is fitted to the top face and two pendulum style levelling plates are fitted on the side - one on the back and the other, much smaller, on the side of the lens standard. It has a rising front (sliding panel), tilt and tilting back.

The lens is incomplete. The rear fixing ring was still fixed into the main mounting ring on the camera. The front flange was still pushed into the rear face of the T-P shutter. The lens barrel was missing, but might yet be found by the seller who remembered a "telescope" lens.

The T-P shutter was still in its original box, which is in good (but far from mint) condition. The shutter is fitted with an original extension and retains its original cord and tassel. However the curtain appears to be damaged and stuck. The box also contained a set of waterhouse stops in a small leather pouch, marked Dallmeyer. So is the missing lens a Dallmeyer too?

The camera came in a contemporary hide case with two numbered but otherwise unmarked DDS, one of which is in an original cardboard slip case.

The camera was bought as a job lot (collection only) along with the Junior Sanderson, an Ashford Giraffe tripod (broken), some glass plates used as templates for cutting prints and a set of various sized printing frames. There was also a rather moth eaten black focussing cloth.


The seller gave the following background information about the camera:

"We believe the cameras were bought new by my father-in-laws grandfather. He was quite a 'modern' man and liked to try new contraptions. Incidentally, my father in law was HG Wells great nephew. The original owner liked to travel and took them around Europe."