Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Miral Reflex Hand Camera

Talbot & Eamer

Name: Miral Reflex Hand Camera
Manufacturer: Talbot & Eamer
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Leather covered wooden body of box format with a roller-blind shutter built in behind the lens and in front of the mirror and a changing box at the rear of the camera
Production Period: c1898 - ?


Plate / Film Size: ¼ plate
Lens: Watson Rapid Rectilinear 5IN, iris diaphragm f/8, serial number 4404
Shutter: Built in roller blind shutter behind lens
Movements: Rising front
Dimensions (h x l x w): 13.5 x 21 x 12.5 cm
Date of this Example: c1900
Serial Number: 1459 stamped into inside of rear panel and repeated on inside of lens cover flap
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 672


The Miral name was used for a range of similar reflex box cameras, although later the name was used for a more standard Soho style reflex camera. The name is shown on a round maker's badge on the top face just in front of the viewing hood.

The camera has a built in changing box, with the changing bag accessed via a door on the top face at the back of the camera. The rear panel of the camera is removed to access the plates when the set of 12 plateholders needs to be changed (none with this camera), and incorprates a lift mechanism to assist with changing the plate holders, which also operates the counter.

A viewing hood folds up from the top face allowing the view to be seen through the taking lens when the sprung mirror is pulled down. This is achieved by a string that passes through the base of the camera.

The camera incorporates a rising front operated by the second brass knob located on the side of the camera behind the focusing knob. Tripod bushes are fitted to two faces.

The controls for the shutter are on the right side of the camera (viewed from the back). There is a brass strip over the button that would release the shutter. In front of this is what looks like a shutter lever. Initially I thought they may be something added to the camera by a past user but the diagram of the R B Miral in the 1902 BJPA shows a very similar arrangement. This may relate to offering time as well as instantaeous shutter (TBC).

A strong leather handle is located on the same side of the body as the shutter controls. The focusing and rising front controls are on the opposite side.

<Photographs to be added>


The camera is first shown in the 1899 BJPA (pg 1497), although the advert offers two forms of the camera, one for dark slides and the second with a built-in changing box (as this example). The line drawing on the advert shows the dark slide pattern, and the controls are also of a different layout. The in the 1902 BJPA (pg 1300) shows the more common format of the camera and is similar to this example. No mention is made of the dark slide pattern of the camera and interestingly the rising front is offered as an optional extra.

The standard Miral only allows the user to operate the camera in one orientation if the viewing mirror is to be used, leading to photographs in landscape format due to the way the plateholders are loaded. A Reversing Back (R B) Miral was introduced in 1901 where dark slides were loaded externally. An example of the R B Miral can be seen on the Early Photography web site (last accessed July 2020). The R B Miral is shown in a full page adverton an adjacent page in the 1902 BJPA.