Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

The Standard Camera

Manufacturer Unknown

Name: The Standard Camera
Type: Field Camera
Manufacturer: Unconfirmed but possibly George Mason & Co. (Glasgow)
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: The camera is constructed of Spanish mahogany, with dovetail joints. It is fitted with tapered square section double extension bellows.
Production Period: Unknown
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Plate / Film Size: 6½" x 8½" plates (Whole plate)
Lens: Missing
Shutter: None
Movements: Rising and cross front, tilting back. Reversible back
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1897
Serial Number: None
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [x]
Inventory Number: 592


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The Standard Camera is a whole plate mahogany and brass field camera from the late 1890s. This example is in poor condition, as the bellows have suffered from insect damage at some time in their past.

The camera carries a name plaque on the back identifying it as "The Standard Camera". I have not been able to identify a maker with any certainty. However George Mason & Co., Glasgow used the Standard name. An advert in the 1899 BJPA describes and pictures a half-plate field camera that is very similar in form, with the exception that it has conventional focussing with rack and pinion acting on the inner frame. So my best guess at date based on this evidence and the general finish of the camera is c1897.

It is made of Spanish mahogany, using has dovetail joints on the rear standard. The front standard slides in brass rails fixed to the inner frame and is fixed in place by bolts passing through the lens standard uprights.

The camera is of an interesting design, which is what persuaded me to buy it. The inner frame is not connected to a rack and pinion, rather it is clamped by a thumbscrew on one side and simply pulls forward and is then clamped in position. Fine focus is then achieved by adjusting the rear section, which is moved by a straight-cut rack and pinion. The rack is mounted on the top face of the outer frame and extends for most of its length. The back is held in position by brass clamps on either side that run in slots in the side of the outer frame.

The camera has a tilting and reversing back and is equipped with a rising and cross front. It has a solid base board with a single tripod bush.

The square section tapered double extension bellows, or what remains of them, are of maroon leather lined with cloth. There is significant damage at many of the corners with holes and splits. The rear of the bellows is also separating from the inside of the rear frame.


If you are able to identify this camera or offer any information about it, then please contact me.