Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Spartus Box Camera


David, I have a spartus box camera labeled "full-vue" on the bottom of the face. It takes size 120 film and was made in the U.S. It also has Chicago, Illinois written on the front.What year was this made? and how would I go about getting film for it?


Hello Morgan,

The Spartus Full-Vue is a simple plastic box camera, with enormous reflex viewfinder on top, made by the Spartus Corporation of Chicago from about 1948 and throughout the 1950's, for 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 inch exposures on classic #120 roll film. Very common, only worth about $20 today for a truly excellent example, but popular among people who appreciate vintage plastic cameras with that fun mid-century modern look. If the lens is clean and the shutter firing on a consistent speed, and most importantly you don't see any warps or cracks in the body, it will definitely still work. #120 roll film is readily available at any full service photographic supply store, but I doubt you'll find it at a small photo kiosk in the grocery or pharmacy. It's still used in many professional film cameras, so you probably won't see it at your local Walmart for example. Must be a true big photo supply store. Ask for basic black & white print film with an ISO rating of around 100. They'll probably recommend something like Ilford Delta Pro or possibly Kodak Plus-X at about $4-$5 per roll. Take your time, be patient while you handle the film, load the camera carefully, make sure the camera closes completely (it can be stubborn!), advance the film until you see 1 in the little red window in the back, and go shoot. After each exposure, advance the film until you see the next number in the window. It takes 12 pictures altogether. Try to take your pics in decently lit situations, ideally sunny days, preferably nothing less than overcast, and with the light coming from behind you, never directly into the camera. It really won't work for indoors or in extreme shade. When you're done, take the roll of film back to the same photo supply place and ask them for their basic develop and contact print service. They'll process the film for you, and a day or two later hand back the negatives and a couple sheets of 8x10 printing paper with all your shots assembled on them. Those are contact sheets. You can pick and choose the shots you like best (if any!) and have them enlarged from the negatives if you wish. Have fun!

Best wishes,

David F. Silver - President
International Photographic Historical Organization

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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David Silver


I'm an expert on all types of antique and classic CAMERAS, vintage PHOTOGRAPHS, and the HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. Everything from ancient box cameras to modern single-lens-reflex; from simple Kodaks to sophisticated Leica and Nikon; from glass plates and roll film to movie and 35mm; from daguerreotypes and tintypes to the black & white images by the 20th century masters. I can identify and appraise, explain techniques and processes, offer insights on restoration and preservation, and provide guidelines for buying and selling.


I've been a professional photographer and a student of the history of photography for over 30 years. During that time my collection of vintage cameras and photographic paraphernalia has grown beyond 2000 significant pieces. I've published nearly 70 articles in the field, including 16 in the popular "Buying Classic Cameras" series for PHOTO SHOPPER MAGAZINE from 1995 to 1997, I'm currently a contributing editor for CAMERA SHOPPER MAGAZINE and McKEOWN'S PRICE GUIDE TO ANTIQUE AND CLASSIC CAMERAS, and I've written numerous entries for WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA. Portions of my collection have been displayed in museums and special exhibits in the past two decades, and many of the items were photographed as illustrations for books. In 1985 I founded the International Photographic Historical Organization (InPHO), which eventually evolved into its intended purpose as the best first resource for information on the history of photography. I'm also a founding member of several e-mail forums dedicated to specialized areas of photography, and I'm the moderator of the Internet Directory of Camera Collectors (IDCC), which remains the largest and most successful such group in the world. For more information about the International Photographic Historical Organization and its many services, please visit its web pages at:

BA and MA in anthropology

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