ILFORDSprite Rapid Flash

The views above show the IlfordSprite Rapid with its flashgun raised and lowered.

The IlfordSprite Rapid Flash used the Agfa Rapid film system, as described for the Sportina Rapid range. Fitted with a 33mm f11 Color Agilux lens, the camera was manufactured by AGI (Agilux) of Croydon (see information alongside the Pixie). The shutter was capable of providing two speeds, selected by a small rotation of the serrated lens surround. It moved between two marked positions. The faster shutter speed, for bright conditions, was obtained by having the sun symbol at the 12 o'clock position, while the slower speed, advised for flash use and dull conditions, was obtained by having the lightening symbol at 12 o'clock. The mechanism by which this works is explained below.


The flashgun on the Rapid Flash is built in. The reflector is raised by simply pulling up the plastic outer casing at the right hand end of the top plate, viewed from the front (see picture, LHS). It folds back when not in use.

Power for the flashgun is provided by two AAA cells fitted into the base of the camera by sliding back the bright metal cover (see picture, RHS).

The back of the camera curved away from the user at each end. This is a legitimate method, with simple lenses, to correct for curvature of field, in the horizontal plane at least.

The black plastic rectangular shutter release button is to the front of the automatic self-zeroing frame counter, both being in front of the serrated thumb wind-on wheel. The black button to the LHS of the rear viewfinder sight is the spent flash bulb release.

View beneath the top cap. The frame counter is to the left (S=start and counting up to 16) and the flash contacts are to the right.
The arrangement that provides for two shutter speeds by a small rotation of the lens surround, is quite ingenious. The views above, RHS, show the rear of the lens surround. The projecting peg engages with a small metal fork that is free to move up and down, depending upon the lens surround movement, but all this does is to provide some resistance to the lens rotation by virtue of part of the metal fork rubbing inside the plastic shutter housing. The speeds variation is obtained from the fact that the conical lens support is not concentric. This is best seen on the picture at the extreme right. Depending upon which position the lens surround is at, the conical support applies a small degree of pre-tension to the shutter return spring. With the sun symbol uppermost, the tension is a little greater, and so the shutter movement is a little faster. What variation in shutter speed is obtained is hard to judge, but one assumes it was meant to change the speed from, say, 1/25th sec to 1/50th sec.

This page last modified: 21st January 2008