Mid-week Camera Review … Week 14 / Ansco Speedex 4.5 “Special”

Ansco 6x6 special 01

The Ansco Speedex 4.5 “Special” is basically an Agfa Isolette (German camera) but with an Ansco trademark for the North American market.
Like its Agfa twin, the Speedex 4.5 “Special” was aimed to the advanced amateur. It allowed for variable focus and an extended range of exposure settings. In 1955 its advertised price was $47.50 with a leather case for $5 more.

The Ansco Speedex is considered a medium format pocket folder Ansco, (originally Anthony & Scovill) merged with Argus in the early 1938.

A manual for the Ansco 4.5 Speedex.

The Shutter speed settings on the Ansco – B, 1sec, 1/2, 1/5th, 1/10th, 1/25th, 1/50th, 1/100th, 1/300th
The aperture settings = f/4.5, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32

I have always enjoyed shooting with the medium format folding cameras. They are very portable when folded and work great. I’m a big fan of the medium format & like the finished negative in the square format. It’s not a complicated camera, which also makes it fun to use.

A cool feature on this Ansco Speedex is that it has a PC sync, so I was able to shoot in the studio with studio lights.

I’ve been asked by many how I know the correct exposure since there is no meter in many of the cameras I use. Well, I have two ways of figuring out my correct exposure …
1) use my DSLR camera, I take a similar picture and cross reference to the Ansco the shutter speed setting & aperture.
2) I bought. Light eter pro APP on my iPhone. It works great. I can dial the ISO setting & shutter speed setting and it gives me the correct aperture. Easy!

Right side view

Right side view

The rear view, also showing the window to show the film count.

The rear view, also showing the window to show the film count.

The left side view.

The left side view.

Ansco 6x6 special 05

Ansco 6x6 special 06

The rear door opened showing a a roll of exposed film in the take up tray.

The rear door opened showing a a roll of exposed film in the take up tray.

Ansco 6x6 special 08

There once was a time that one was only suppose to use Ansco film in this camera.

There once was a time that one was only suppose to use Ansco film in this camera.

I hope to process the film ASAP and show some examples …

Next up is the Nikon FE 35mm camera.

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3 responses to “Mid-week Camera Review … Week 14 / Ansco Speedex 4.5 “Special”

  1. Thanks for your post Scott. Just ran a test roll on an Agfa Captain and it worked great. I bought a Speedex this week and have been learning how to use it before I put film in it. My question for you is how does the focusing work? I tried turning what I think is the focusing wheel on the from of the lens but it doesn’t turn. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you,
    Hector

    • Hector, I’m glad you like my posts. You are right … the focusing ring on the front of the lens is what you use to focus. There is a stepdown ring with numbers from 3ft (or 3.5ft) 5, 8, 15, 25, INF (infinity). I’ve had cameras that stuck. Two thoughts, you could shoot only at the distance it’s stuck at or try to loosen the ring up. Sorry I could not be of more help.

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