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Art Deco Cameras

Whitehouse Beacon


Whitehouse Beacon
Whitehouse Beacon
Manufacturer: Whitehouse Products Inc.
Produced: 1946
Body Type:Extending Body
Film Type:127
Film Width:46mm
ImageSize:1⅝ x 1¼ in
No. of Images:16
Lens Type:Whitar, colour-corrected
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:46mm
Focal Range:3ft - inf.
Aperture Type:Fixed
Shutter Type :Rotary
Shutter Speeds:B, I(1/50s)
Size (w x h x d):123 x 68 x 67 mm

Art Deco Credentials

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Acceptable: Modest and restricted


Advert 1946

The Beacon Camera was manufactured in circa 1946 by Whitehouse Products Inc., of Brooklyn New York. This snap-shot camera was constructed of plastic with a built-in optical view finder. The Art Deco contours and the use of chrome and shiney black pebble finish plastic make this a very attractive camera. This small camera has an extending body which telescopes out for taking pictures. The winding knob is plastic with fake chrome covering.

It is capable of capturing sixteen half-frame exposures on number 127 roll film. It is fitted with an optically ground, polished, fluoride coated and color corrected plastic lens. The simple instantaneous shutter provides a single speed of 1/50s or Bulb(time) setting. The 'B' shutter setting was removed on later examples. It features a safety lock shutter to prevent accidental exposures when the camera is closed. There are two red windows to view exposure count. A tripod socket is provided.

How to Use

This camera takes 127 film which is still available from select outlets - search for 'Rera Pan 100-127' which is a black & white film. For those photographers in the UK, try Nick & Trick photographic services. If you want to use a particular type of film which is not available commercially, then you can cut your own 127 film from any 120 film. See my page on 'How to cut 127 film from 120 film'.

The two red windows are used to get 16 exposures from 127 film. The film is advanced until a number appears in the first window and an image is taken. Then the film is advanced until the same number appears in the second window. Then it's back to the first window for the next number. Don't forget to cover the windows with black tape except when advancing the film in low light. Modern film is sensitive to red light.

The aperture is f/16. The measured speed on this camera is 1/50s.

The table shows how this camera will perform using ISO 100 film. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Modern film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

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

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

So, on a nice sunny day, it's simplicity itself. Just load film and snap away.

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

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/16+2 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/16+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/16-1 Stop
Heavy OvercastNonef/16-2 Stops
Not Acceptable
Open Shade
Nonef/16-3 Stops
Not Acceptable