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Art Deco Cameras

Ansco Panda


Ansco Panda
Ansco Panda
Manufacturer: Ansco
Produced: 1950
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Pseudo Twin Lens Reflex
Film Type:620
Film Width:62mm
ImageSize:2¼ x 2¼ in
No. of Images:12
Lens Type:meniscus
Focal Length:60mm
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Range:6ft - inf.
Aperture Type:Fixed
Shutter Type :Rotary
Shutter Speeds:T, I*(1/50sec)
Size (w x h x d):100 x 81 x 70 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

star star
Noteworthy: Worth giving special attention

I consider this camera to warrant 2 stars for the following attributes:


The Ansco Panda is a simple child's box camera made by the Ansco camera corporation of Binghamton, New York in the 1950s. The camera can be described as a pseudo twin lens reflex camera. It isn't a true TLR because the top lens is just part of the viewfinder and does not aid focussing. The camera produces 12 square photographs on a roll of 620 format film. It features a black plastic body with creamy/white accents around the lenses and a creamy/white coloured wind knob. I suspect it was called 'Panda' because of the black and white colour scheme.

This is a twin lens reflex style camera with the waist level viewfinder lens above the taking lens.The shutter release has a traditional Ansco red shutter trigger knob. Focal length of the camera is 60 mm and it has an f/16 lens. Focus is fixed and objects from about 6' to infinity are in focus. Film is advanced by a creamy/white knob and it uses a red window to control the image spacing. There are no tripod mounts.

For those wishing buy one of these cameras to take pictures, please be aware that the Bakelite has become very brittle and many specimens of this camera have broken seals. So look carefully at the seals before purchasing.

How to Use

Find the manual here:- Agfa Panda Manual

Before using this camera, check out the seals carefully. The carry cord tends to get trapped in the camera when the camera is closed. These plastic seals are very delicate and if forced they will snap off.

This camera takes 620 film which is still available from selected photographic outlets. Although the actual film is the same as 120 film, the spools are different. The 620 spools are slightly shorter and have a smaller diameter. Do not use 120 film in this camera because it will jam and may snap. It is possible to cut down the spool of 120 film to fit or to re-spool some 120 film onto 620 spools in a darkroom or changing bag.

Don't forget to ask for your 620 spool back when getting the film developed.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

Remember that the exposure guide in the camera user manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

The table assumes that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summer's day in the UK.

This camera has an aperture of f/16 and a shutter speed is 1/50s.

As the shutter speed is only 1/50s, it is advisable to try to hold the camera against a wall or other solid object. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your face.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/50s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/16+2 Stop
SunnyDistinctf/16+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/16-1 Stop
Heavy OvercastNonef/16-2 Stop
Open Shade
Nonef/16-3 Stop