|March 18, 2013||Posted by Photo GearHead under Cool Gear Auctions|
Manufactured in the UK, and introduced in 1953, the R. F. Hunter Gilbert is a quirky and retro-weird little camera indeed. Its unique appearance is the product of highly polished front and rear steel casings, coupled with “crocodile skin” (sometimes referred to as “lizard skin”) genuine-imitation leatherette sidings. One of the more interesting features of the R. F. Hunter Gilbert camera is that its view-finder is actually attached to the camera’s lens barrel and, as such, allows the photographer to rotate the lens barrel through a 90-degree arc in order to facilitate either landscape or portrait composing. The photographer composes shots on the Gilbert in much the same way as one would with a traditional TLR, or Hassleblad type of camera. The photographer holds the camera below eye-level and peers downward into a view-screen which projects the image upward, toward the photographer’s eye — Odd indeed for this sort of design. If you wished to take a horizontal landscape framed photo, you would hold the camera in much the same fashion, but turn the camera body over on its side, rotate the view-finder into a vertical position to point upward toward your eye, and compose your shot.
The R. F. Hunter Gilbert uses 120 film, and takes 6X9 photos. The Gilbert’s 105mm lens provides a choice of two different apertures (labeled “Sunny” and “Dull” on the camera), and the camera is capable of two different shutter-speeds (labeled “Fast” and “slow”) — each of which can be selected for by manipulating small sliders that lift out of the top, front edge of the camera body. About the only other “high-tech” feature of the R. F. Hunter Gilbert is a double-exposure prevention mechanism. If the camera hasn’t been wound since the previous exposure had been acquired, a red disc will appear inside the view-finder. If the photographer then winds the camera and resets the shutter, the warning disc transforms to green. What will they think of next, huh?
R. F. Hunter Ltd — the London based distributor of the Gilbert, and a number of other quirky cameras, billed this boxy little shutter-flapper as “The family holiday camera… British and Best!” It originally sold for a little over £3 – tax paid! What a bargain! R. F. Hunter Ltd, imported and sold a number of popular camera brands, darkroom equipment, projectors and screens, and developed a few of their own camera models, all from their offices located at 40 Doughty St., and later from 51 Gray’s Inn Road, London.
The seller of this particular R. F. Hunter Gilbert Box Camera assures that the item is in very good condition, save for a small “ding” on the rear plate. The gold leatherette “crocodile skin” covering is said to be unmarked. And, the camera appears to be in full, working condition. The auction includes a strapped, canvas carrying case, also said to be in good condition. The seller will be shipping the camera from the UK, but is accepting bids from world-wide buyers. It is advised that, for interested parties located outside the UK, the buyer will only accept payments via Paypal from international buyers.
Now, here’s the funny part. Get ready to have a chuckle at just what an idiot I am… Are you, perhaps, interested in bidding on this Gilbert camera? Well, TOO BAD! You can’t! The auction has already ended! I, being the numb-skull that I am, completely misread the closing the date for this auction when I sat down to write this article. The auction actually ended just as I was finishing up the article. So, my sincere apologies for that.
It did take a fair amount of time and effort to put this article together, however. So, I’m going to publish it here anyway. Hopefully there’s some information regarding the R. F. Hunter Gilbert camera located within this article that will prove useful to someone looking for such info. I’ll also keep my eyes and ears open for other Gilbert cameras that might come up for auction or sale in the future and post an update if and when that occurs.
The auction for this R. F. Hunter Gilbert Box Camera WAS located here.