Adams Reflex - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Adams Reflex


Adams & Co.



Image of Adams Reflex

Focal-plane, speeds 1/10 - 1/1000, T. Not self-capping. Speed varied by altering the slit width.

Leather covered mahogany body.

4" x 5" plates held in double dark-slides.


Reflex viewing through taking lens. Full-size ground glass screen.
Mirror set independently to shutter. Spirit level.

Early name plaque. Without pocket to rear door.

Rising front.

Serial Number:
138 .

Address on camera: Adams & Co. 26 Charing Cross Rd. London WC.
Retailer's label: City Sale & Exchange, London. 90-94 Fleet St.

Four double dark-slides.

The Adams Reflex was advertised in the 1901 British Journal of Photography Almanac and was introduced in the summer of 1900, it was the first single-lens reflex to be made by Adams.

The camera holds two dark slides in a compartment, a further slide can be left in the exposing position. The slides themselves fit into the back of the camera in one of two positions, for landscape or portrait, and are held in place by clips. The rear of the camera has a door which covers the dark slide when in place. The door is removable on most models to allow the fitting of a changing box or roll-holder. On some examples there is a pocket in the door which holds a focusing screen. The screen is for direct focusing with the shutter set to T.

Four sizes were produced: quarter-plate, 5" x 4", half-plate and 9 x 12 cm. Standard lenses were: Adams Club, Ross Universal Symmetric, Zeiss Planar and Zeiss VIIa Protar.

The camera was replaced in 1903 by the more compact Videx.


The shutter tapes on this example have broken and have become detached from the blinds. It appears, though, that the shutter comprises two blinds linked by tapes, the upper blind has tapes fixed to its lower edge these pass through slots in the top of the lower blind and run back to the take-up roller of the upper blind. The tapes wind inside the roller, when the shutter is wound the upper blind and tapes are moved to the upper roller, the lower blind is pulled by the tapes. To adjust the slit width the tensioning knob, which connects to the upper roller, is disengaged and moved to a set speed. The speed setting is printed on one of the shutter tapes and is visible through a window in the top of the camera. Oddly, the roller for the lower blind, containing the tension spring, is placed at the front of the camera underneath the lens when the camera is closed.

Patent 21594 of 1900 covers the shutter tape being wound into the roller and the shutter speed being visible through a window.

This is a different blind arrangement to the earlier Adams' patent, 9844/1899.

References & Notes:
BP 21594/1900. BJA 1901, p. 344. BJP 4/5/00, p. 284, The Adams Reflex Hand Camera review. Regd. Design 295858, this may refer to the viewing hood.

Company Details:

Adams & Co.

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