ILFORD Sprite (127 roll film)

The Sprite 127 is of very simple grey plastic construction, with a single snapshot shutter speed and a single element plastic meniscus lens with 2 apertures, adjustable via a sliding lever below the lens. The apertures are probably around f16 (for faster speed monochrome film) and f11 (for slower colour film). The sliding lever is correspondingly marked 'Colour' & 'B & W'. The camera provided 12 square negatives 4x4cm on 127 roll film. The film is wound on manually, using the top mounted knob, and centred to each new picture area by aligning the appropriate number in the rear red window. It sold for £1.3s.6d (£1 .18p) (price extracted from Andy Holliman's information).

The longitudinal film path is curved, as can be seen in the right hand picture above. This both provides a pleasantly curved shape to the camera body while also providing a means of 'correcting' curvature of field from the simple lens, in one dimension at least.

A pdf file of the original Sprite instruction booklet is available by clicking on the thumbnail image  It is dated February 1963 (B63).

Below are some Sprite pictures taken on Ilford Selochrome Pan 127 film, presumably by a youngster on a school trip to France, back in the mid- to late 1960s, say 40 years ago. The Sprite they come from is the one further down the page, in its Ilford 'ever-ready' plastic case.


I've identified the two pictures above as being Chartres Cathedral and (right hand side) the Chateau de Blois, with its famous exterior winding stone staircase. They were on the exposed Selochrome Pan film found within the Sprite camera (see below) which I purchased in autumn 2007 at a local Flea Market.

I developed the film for 15mins at around 22C in Ilford Ilfotec diluted 1:9. This was much in excess of the development time the film might have required when new, but I was anxious to salvage the old latent images. The speckled effect is visible over the whole area of the film and is prominent in the above pictures because the images are feint. Effectively, the 'signal to noise ratio' is low.

The picture to the immediate left is one taken on the end of the film just a few days before it was developed. I used the 'colour' aperture setting. The much superior image (though still very grainy and low in resolution) is because the latent image had not had 40 years to fade away. The 'signal to noise ratio' is much improved. Clearly the film was still reasonably sensitive to light; it was the old latent images which had faded more than the film had lost its sensitivity.

The negatives were scanned using an Epson V700 flatbed scanner.

To read about Mike Ellis' experience of developing an old Ilford film (35mm Selochrome) click here.

Below and to the right is shown the Sprite in its original Ilford ever ready case. Made of thin and flimsy plastic, liable to tear around the press-stud fastener after frequent use.

The front sliding lever for varying the lens aperture (COL - B&W) is still accessible with the Sprite in its case. 

The Sprite 127 was manufactured in England by AGI (Agilux) of Croydon (see information on the Ilford Pixie web page). AGI sold the same camera but named it the Colt 44.

This page last modified: 4th April 2014