R.F. Hunter Gilbert
In the middle of the 20th century, RF Hunter was a photo equipment distributor in London, selling German-made cameras before the war and both East and West German models after. Names that come to mind are Steiner and Purma et al.
The Gilbert is the one camera that Hunter made, proudly designed and made in the UK. A box camera, yet distinct in appearance and operation. Technically it does not offer much. If you may open the back without resorting to gardening hardware, it takes a 120 format roll. Being brits, the designers locked the back with a spring-mounted catch that takes three hands to operate – one to hold the front, one to pull the back, and one to overcome the said catch. I think the original owner had used a cold chisel to open it.
There are two speeds, fast and slow, and two aperture openings. I do not have a user manual, so values are anybody’s guess. Settings change via two pull-up tabs on top of the camera, unmarked. In the unit I have, the speed selector tab is stuck. I do not intend to shoot with it, so will leave it as is. The film winder cocks the shutter as well, more to eliminate double-taking. The viewfinder swivels between portrait and landscape modes, a neat feature, nicely made. The viewer is bright, with crop marks. The trigger is of generous size, front-mounted, and falls well under the thumb. Flashgun contacts protrude at the front bottom. A nice touch is the base, holding study the camera on three rounded points. The body is covered with a kind of snakeskin, apparently artificial.
I got this camera as a tag-along, in a lot with another model I was after. I never paid attention to it, but I am glad to have it on the shelf. It is an outstanding model, with the same halo as the Bantam Special, the Pen F, and Werra lines.
|Weight||650 gr, Body with lens|
|Class average weight||gr, Body with lens|
|Lens mount||Fixed lens|
|Aperture||5.6 / 11 (?)|
|Speeds||30, 50 (?)|