Made by Agfa Ansco for the Bear Photo Co. of California between 1928-30, the Bear Photo Special has many of the same features as the Agfa Ansco B2 Shur-Shot. Except that it looks even more fantastic - and if you're lucky, you'll even find one with the small brass Bear Photo Co. badge on the side or back of the camera.
More often, you'll find that the screen-printed faceplate has faded. However, like most boxes of this type, you get "The Agfa Ansco Advantage.".
The Bear Photo Special is a fairly simple box with just a Bulb mode and, typically, the simpler "Always On" shutter, which takes a little bit of time to get used to - although we have seen models with the newer shutter.
These cameras have a removable film holder. Pull out the winding knob, then open the latch to open the back. Winding film onto this type of holder can be tricky, and we recommend you pick up one of our Winder Keys to ease the process.
The faceplate of this camera is what really sets it apart, and if you can find a rare one in good condition, count yourself lucky.
APERTURE: f/11 (?)
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/40 (?)
MIN. FOCUS: 2.5m/8ft
BEST FILM: 50-100 ASA
BUILD: Cardboard body, metal parts, plastic parts, vinyl covering
MFBOXCO RATING: 9.25
A rare gem with amazing style, but a minimal feature set.
Do you have experience this camera? Any helpful tips? Have you seen one at your local flea market? Do you know some trivia about the history the company or other knowledge you'd like to pass on? Add your stories below. We will periodically select the best tips and other bits to include on this page.