ILFORD Electrics, 1967

In Amateur Photographer magazine for 12th April 1967, Ilford took out a two full page advert to announce their New Ilford Electrics range, which suggests the Electrics range was introduced around that time. Its probable that the range first appeared at the beginning of 1967, as the accompanying instruction booklet bears the Ilford coding for January 1967 (A67; my thanks again to Andy Holliman for this information). This is a reasonable timescale, as the 'Electrics' incorporate the first use of CdS light metering within the Ilford camera range, a feature which was becoming commonplace on 35mm cameras by that time. The automatic versions within the Sportsman 300 range, believed to have been released in 1965, were based upon the 'older technology' of selenium cells.

Note the obvious DACORA Kamerawerk name indented into the brightwork of the base plate, to the lower RHS of the above illustration. Clearly Ilford were not trying to disguise the source of the Electric range.

There were four cameras within the range, but possibly only three were sold in the UK. The electric-CR, -L and -SR were (I believe) the only ones advertised in UK magazines. However, Allard Wunderink of The Netherlands has sent me pictures of the fourth model, the electric-S.

The name 'electric' appears without the capitalised 'E' on the camera fronts, but in the Ilford adverts the name was capitalised. Also, the hyphen, which connects with the model type i.e. '-SR' on the camera front, was omitted by Ilford in their adverts, hence, Electric SR.

The electric-CR, priced at £26.10s = £26.50p, having a coupled rangefinder but no automatic exposure setting; readings from the built-in CdS exposure meter had to be manually transferred to the shutter and aperture. The lens is a 45mm Color-Isconar f2.8 and the shutter a Prontor 300, giving 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/300 & B. Fitted with a bright-line viewfinder. In a Dollonds sale in AP magazine, January 1970, the price, new, was £22.50p. Note the flash cube socket, top LHS.

The electric-L, priced at £30.2s.6d = £30.12½p, without the rangefinder but having semi-automatic exposure control via a match-needle arrangement visible in the viewfinder. Thus, shutter speeds and apertures were semi-automatically coupled to the built-in CdS light meter. The lens is a 45mm Rodenstock f2.8 Color Trinon-Lanthan in a Prontor 300-E shutter, offering the same speeds as the Electric CR. With a bright line viewfinder. In a Dollonds sale in AP magazine, January 1970, the price, new, was £26.50p.

Top of the range is the electric-SR, illustrated head of the page, priced £37.2s.6d = £37.12½p, having both the rangefinder and a 'fully cross-coupled exposure control'. The lens is the same as fiited to the 'L' version but the shutter is the Prontor 500 S-E, giving 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and B. It has a delayed action release and bright line viewfinder. In a Dollonds sale in AP magazine, January 1970, the price, new, was £33.50p.

Alongside and below is shown the electric-S, illustrated in pictures sent by Allard Wunderink. Allard says his electric-S looks like an electric-SR, except it does not have a coupled rangefinder. It has the same (Alfred Gauthier Calmbach) Prontor 500 S-E shutter and 45mm Rodenstock Color Trinon-Lanthan f2.8 lens as the electric-SR (see picture at the top of this page).

The contemporary Ilford advert requested readers to:

"Look at the new Ilford Electric SR. The light meter - built-in, is controlled by a CdS (cadmium sulphide) photo-resistor for hypersensitivity, powered by a minute electric cell giving an incredible life-span of dependable power. An on-off switch prevents battery wastage. The same cell electrically couples speed and aperture settings to the meter reading. Two gold-plated manganese alkaline batteries keep ample power on tap in the cameras and connect with the built-in flashcube socket. The miniaturized 'electrics' throughout the new Ilford Electric range are as dependable as the most tried and tested mechanical operations in 35mm photography."

All the Electrics could use flashcubes as well as conventional flashguns. The upper battery compartment is for the CdS light meter battery and the one in the base is for firing flashcubes. The instruction book gives the battery types as Mallory PX13 for the light meter and two Mallory 825's for the flashcube. The former are still available as V625PX but the latter are not (though work-arounds exist).

This page last modified: 17th October 2009