5th Style; ILFORD Sportsman 300 & 125; believed to be 1967

In Amateur Photographer magazine for 3rd May 1967, Ilford took out a full page advert to describe their NEW ILFORD SPORTSMAN 300. "Turns a family photographer into a 35mm enthusiast....for just £14.7s.6d = £14.37.5p. This design is referred to here as the Style 5 Sportsman. For the Style 5 Sportsman 125, scroll down. In mid-1967, the only Sportsman camera available in the UK was the Sportsman 300. Other UK Ilford cameras were the Electrics range, the Monarch, the Ilfomatic Universal 50, the Sportina Rapid, the Sprite 35, the Sprite Rapid Flash and the Pixie.

The Sportsman 300 (style 5) was the successor to the earlier Style 4 cameras and, especially, the Style 4 Sportsman 125 (which was still current in Spring 1966). The main and obvious difference is that the viewfinder is located to the right hand end of the top cap (as viewed from the front) rather than being in the central position as on all the previous Sportsman styles. Also, the shutter release is now a sliding down lever to the side of the lens, rather than the previous front mounted press button.

A pdf file of the instruction booklet is available by clicking the icon  It is dated January 1967.
Be patient while the 2.3MB file downloads.

It seems Ilford always referred to their current range as the 'NEW' range, regardless of how long it had been on the market, so their advert for the 'New' Ilford Sportsman 300 may not really mean 'New' in 1967, though the above instruction booklet supports the 1967 date (unless the booklet is a reprint).

The Amateur Photographer advert reads:
"The finest Ilford Sportsman ever built - that's the new Ilford Sportsman 300. Like all high class, full frame 35mm cameras, it's precision made and has a rugged metal body. Its Color-Isconar lens (f2.8 - 45mm) has professional performance. You can focus it sharply on anything from about arm's length to infinity. The Prontor 300 shutter has speeds from 1/30 to 1/300 and you can take time exposures or use flash (with 'hot-shoe' centre contact). With this range of controls, apertures, speeds and focus, you'll certainly have nothing to cramp your creative style. In fact the new Sportsman 300 is so well equipped, we'd better remind you that it costs only £14.7s.6d. Anyone who buys the new Ilford Sportsman 300 'just for family photography' will soon become a fully fledged 35mm enthusiast."

The Dacora version of the Sportsman 300, the Dignette 300, was still being advertised in Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine for 19th November 1969.

With its non-optional case, it cost £15.10s (£15.50p).


 An ILFORD Sportsman S, probably never sold in the UK. Apart from the lens surround, where the lens make (still an Color Isconar f2.8/45mm) is more clearly marked than on the UK version (top of page) the shutter is named as an X 300 (rather than a Prontor 300). The only obvious difference between this 'S' version and the Sportsman 300 is that the 'hot-shoe' accessory flashgun shoe is alongside the rewind knob, above the viewfinder. Also, the ILFORD name is now part of the nameplate on the top cap rather than being in smaller print below the viewfinder.

The styling is more square cornered, as the Dignette 300 in the AP advert above, which also has its accessory shoe in the same position.

This interesting variation of the Sportsman 300 appeared on e-bay during June 2005. It appears to be a hybrid between the Style 4 1963 Sportsman 125 and a Style 5 Sportsman 300 (top of page). Still with the Color-Isconar lens (f2.8 - 45mm) as in the '300' model, it presumably has the Prontor 125 shutter, giving 1/30, 1/60, 1/125 and B, same as the 1963 Sportsman Prontor 125.

This page last updated: 30th August 2009