Stereo Tropical Soho - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Stereo Tropical Soho

c.1909

Marion & Co. Ltd

London

England

Image of Stereo Tropical Soho

Lens:
Two, f6.3, 6" Ross Homocentric lenses, iris diaphragm to f22. Serial no. 99063 99062 (c.1920).

Shutter:
Kershaw focal-plane, speeds - 1/18, 1/23, 1/35, 1/70, 1/140, 1/280, 1/700, T. Spring powered, adjustment by slit variation. Not self-capping.

Construction:
Polished teak with brass binding and fittings. Red Russia leather bellows and hood.

Format:
Two 2 " x 3 " exposures on 5 " x 3 " plates held in double dark-slides.

Focusing:
Bellows to 28". Double extension.

Attributes:
Reflex viewing through taking lens. Full-size ground glass screen.
The mirror and shutter are set separately, the release trips the mirror then the shutter, mirror raised by spring.
Removable septum, image plane divider and focusing screen mask for mono use.

Movements:
Rising front. Limited cross front.

Serial Number:
M429 .

With:
Hooded focusing screen. Film pack adapter. Marked "Kodak Licence". Serial no. K3516.

During exposure a septum stretches between the underside of the mirror and the image plane. The handle is unusual on this example - usually 'D' rings are provided on each side to which a neck strap can be attached, on this model there is a single connection with the other end of the strap connecting to the handle.

The Soho was one of the most popular early single-lens reflexes and came to epitomise the English reflex of that period. It was sold by Marion and their successors up to the 1940s. The camera was manufactured by Kershaw who were later to join with Marion as part of APM in 1921. The same camera was also sold by Ross, Beck and others under their own name.

The mirror moves in a curve when being raised, this gives a backward movement as the mirror is lifted allowing lenses with shorter back focus to be used. The mirror is also connected to a dampening cylinder providing a smooth movement without jolts. When lowered the mirror forms a light-tight box in which the non-self-capping shutter can be tensioned.

The Stereo Soho, in the smaller size, is a post-card model with a septum attached to the underside of the mirror and dividers to fit in the image plane and below the focusing screen. These fittings were removable allowing the camera to be used for mono work. Usually the focal length of the stereo pair was 4" - 4 " the lenses on this example are longer.

Soho Models

Ordinary
Introduced in 1905 in three sizes - quarter-plate, 5" x 4" and half-plate (the half-plate may have been introduced after the other two). The following year the postcard size was added. Around 1913 metric sizes of 6.5 x 9 cm, 9 x 12 cm, 10 x 15 cm and 12 x 16.5 cm were added. Apart from the postcard size the camera had a revolving back. The shutter was a non-self-capping focal-plane by Kershaw with a top speed that depended on the model size. The body was made of mahogany and finished in morocco leather.

Tropical
These were introduced around 1909. They were made of teak with lacquered finish and brass fittings. The bellows and hood were of red Russia leather. They were available in all the imperial sizes and 9 x 12 cm, 10 x 15 cm and 12 x 16.5 cm. The brass lacquerer used is often a dark red/orange colour.

Dainty
When first introduced in 1908 this was a different camera to the Ordinary Soho. The internal mirror arrangement was completely different. The hood is very distinctive, it did not have a front cover and is fitted with a single magnifying lens. In 1910 a conventional hood was fitted and the camera was designated No 1. A No. 2 was introduced which was an Ordinary Soho in a smaller size. The No. 1 was discontinued before WW1. The plate size was 3 " x 2 ". A tropical version of the later model was made.

Stereo
Two sizes were made: 5 " x 3 " introduced in 1907 and 6 " x 3 " introduced c.1913. The smaller version was a postcard model with removable septum, focusing screen divider and image plane divider. In other respects it was similar to the Ordinary. The larger size was available for only a few years.

Baby
This took 4.5 x 6 cm plates. It was similar to the Ordinary model but had a simplified front standard without movements. High speed lenses could be fitted. Introduced in 1926.

Variations

These cover the Ordinary, Tropical, Stereo, Dainty No.2 and Baby.

  • Shutter setting knob - For the first year or two this may have been a small diameter round knob. By 1907 it was the familiar two pronged wheel. In c.1926 a larger diameter Bakelite knob was fitted.
  • T&I settings - At first this was a lever. In 1928 it was changed to a small conical knob.
  • Rising front - A rack and pinion rising front was fitted in c.1909 except on the postcard and stereo models which had a friction grip.
  • Focusing screen mask indicating reversing back position - Fitted in 1927. Manually operated.
  • Speed dial - This was changed in 1927, the new dial was clearer and had a plastic cover. A 'B' setting was added.
  • Swing front - This was an option fitted to all but the Baby. It gave a four-way swing movement.
  • Reversing hood - Available from the 1920s.
  • A Ross model was briefly advertised in 1906 finished in hand-sewn cowhide.

Accessories

Front Extension
Extra bellows could be attached to the front of the camera giving extra extension for copying or long-focus work. Advertised in 1911.

Viewing Mirror
A mirror could be fixed to the top of the viewing hood for eye-level use.

Plate Holders
Double dark-slides either book or block form, adapter to use single metal slides, changing box, film pack adapter and a Mackenzie-Wishart slide were all available.

References & Notes:
Kershaw shutter. BP 22698/1904. BJA 1906, p. 71. BJA 1907 p. 66. BJA 1908, p. 55. BJA 1909, p. 51. BJA 1910, p. 51. BJA 1911, p. 54. BJA 1912, p. 63. BJA 1929, p. 344. Phot. Journal 1905, p. xviii. BJP 31/3/1911, p. 258. Instruction book.

Further Information:
Holmes, Age of Cameras, p.59. Lothrop, Century, p.140.

Illustrations:
Isenberg, p.184, late model Tropical. Permutt, Collecting Old Cameras, p.186, Stereo Tropical. Vintage Cat. No 8. Christie's Cat. 23/11/2000, lot 248, leather stereo in the 6 " x 3 " size.


Company Details:

Marion

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Stereo Tropical Soho

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