The Spartus Full-Vue Camera

This camera was acquired through my friend Lynn Taylor earlier this year. I like the looks of this camera with the art deco faceplate and bakelite construction. I even like the that it’s missing a screw on the face. It shows some character, right?

In 1941, the Spartus Corporation bought The Utility Manufacturing Company in New York and moved all operations to Chicago, IL. Then in 1951, the head of sales at Spartus bought the company and named it Harold Manufacturing Company. The new company made cameras under it’s own name as well as several brands for other companies. The cameras sold under the Spartus name were the center of Harold’s sales. The Full-Vue was made from 1948 to 1960 by Spartus and was one of the first box cameras to accept 120 or 620 roll film. The original selling price was $9.95. You can find them on eBay for $10 – $90 depending on condition. The Full-Vue is made of bakelite, but textured to have a leather appearance. The Spartus is a twin lens reflex box camera with a fixed-focus lens. It has a top down viewfinder, and creates 6×6 images. I ordered some Kodak T-Max 100 black and white 120 film from The Film Photography Project Store, and then sent it off to The Darkroom to develop and scan the images. The results were a unique blend of grain and focus I would call typical of a fixed-focus box camera. These are three of the better shots from a total of twelve on the roll. This was my first experience using roll film. Being 100 speed film, it required a lot of light for satisfactory images. When I use this camera in the future, it really needs to be loaded with Kodak T-Max 400 black and white. I like the grain, but probably need film 400 or faster. I also attempted to use some 35mm in the Spartus Full-Vue, but found that this camera seals so tightly, the film refused to twist on to the take up reel when the back was closed. I’ll be sharing my experience with shooting sprocket holes on 35mm film and a box camera in a future post.

My son, Connor, exploring Willard Basin, Utah
Spartus Full-Vue – Kodak T-Max 100 BW

Willard Basin, Utah
Spartus Full-Vue – Kodak T-Max 100 BW

Willard Basin, Utah
Spartus Full-Vue – Kodak T-Max 100 BW

2 thoughts on “The Spartus Full-Vue Camera

  1. Hey! I have one of this cameras, left by my grandfather. I’m looking forward to try it but i’m not sure how am i going to pass from one exposure to another since the camera has no measures or any thing to make it easier. Any tips? Thanks!


    1. Rodrigo, I would recommend trying a roll of ISO 100 film on a sunny day. Or ISO 400 on an overcast cloudy day. 120 and 620 film have backing paper with exposure numbers that are visible through a small red window on the back of the camera. So advancing the film from one shot to the next is simple.


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