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  1. #1
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    Ilford Witness 35mm camera

    Saw mention of this over at the online photographer blog. Wow what a beauty of a camera! To bad Ilford couldn't find a way to bring this baby back into production using modern materials and manufacture.

    http://www.photomemorabilia.co.uk/Ilford/Witness.html
    Last edited by Eric Rose; 12-03-2010 at 03:33 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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  2. #2
    Chazzy's Avatar
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    It looks like a pretty camera. It's a pity that we hear so little about British cameras these days.
    Charles Hohenstein

  3. #3

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    Beauty! Thanks for the heads-up.

    By modern materials I hope you don't mean non-metallic!

  4. #4
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazzy View Post
    It looks like a pretty camera. It's a pity that we hear so little about British cameras these days.
    Unfortunately Chazzy I'm old enough to remember the Ilford Witness and remember seeing one for sale second hand in a camera store window about twenty years ago that I wish now I had bought, this was a very high quality camera that in it's day was very expensive, and certainly beyond my pocket as a teenager to buy new in the late 1940s, I'm not a collector but this is a beautiful camera.
    The British camera industry except for a few companys who make large format cameras has largely disappeared but in the fortys and fiftys when the Witness was made there were many British companys manufacturing high quality cameras and lenses until competition from the Far East lead to their demise.
    Ben

  5. #5

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    A really beautiful camera. I wonder why they didn't try to market this outside of the U.K. Perhaps, they might have run into import/export restrictions.

  6. #6
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    I notice this camera cost in the days it was sold new for £121, in those days I remember the weekly wage for a skilled engineer after a five year apprenticeship was about £15, I think this puts how expensive this camera was into perspective.
    One of the reasons British camera manufacturers flourished in the immediate post- war period was that there were severe import restrictions on foreign made goods because the country was broke because of the war and had little foreign exchange to pay for them, so obtaining Leicas or Rollei cameras was impossible and British companys like Reid , M.P.P, Ilford, AGI, Haughton and Kershaw made high quality cameras to fill the gap in the market.
    Last edited by benjiboy; 12-04-2010 at 08:35 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Ben

  7. #7

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    I had never heard of this camera - thanks for posting!! :-)

  8. #8
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Eat your heart out guys they sell at auction for almost $8,000 USD http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/l...jectID=4028228
    Ben

  9. #9
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    These cameras fetch high prices, the Dallmeyer Super Six was one of the best lenses of it's day and can fetch high prices in Leica mount.

    To add to Ben's comments on prices when the Witness was launched an MPP Micro Technical MkVI (5x4) was around £75 , the Reid with f2 5cm Taylor Hobson lens was £90 + £30 Purchase Tax, taxes were substantially higher before VAT.

    Ian

  10. #10
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    These cameras fetch high prices, the Dallmeyer Super Six was one of the best lenses of it's day and can fetch high prices in Leica mount.

    To add to Ben's comments on prices when the Witness was launched an MPP Micro Technical MkVI (5x4) was around £75 , the Reid with f2 5cm Taylor Hobson lens was £90 + £30 Purchase Tax, taxes were substantially higher before VAT.

    Ian
    I saw one in Jessops window Ian about twenty years ago it was £90 I wish I'd have bought it.
    In addition to what I've already written on the subject, in the post war period there was severe import restrictions and in order to get foreign cameras ( Germany wasn't flavour of the month in those days, neither was Japan) you had to have a good reason to, and be a professional to obtain an import licence. from the government which was very difficult to do so we didn't export many precision cameras because we could hardly fulfil domestic demand although in those days we were desperate to export to obtain foreign currency, and the government motto on posters etc. was " Export or Die".
    Last edited by benjiboy; 12-04-2010 at 10:03 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Ben

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