March 24, 2012 by darl0153
The Agilux Colt 44 is a simple grey plastic bodied camera made by Agilux (AGI) in 1961. AGI (Aeronautical and General Instruments) was founded in Croyden in 1915 and was set up to manufacture military aerial cameras. After the war AGI set up a subsidiary company, Agilux, to manufacture cameras for the general public, making all the components themselves. As well as manufacturing their own cameras, they also sold designs to other companies, but more about that later. In the late 1960’s they stoped producing cameras altogether. Now based in Dorset, they still continue to trade under the AGI name, but have returned to their roots, and manufacture instruments and systems for both the military and civil markets.
The Colt 44 takes 127 film – still available with a quick google search – producing 12 4×4 negatives, it has a single shutter speed and a simple single element plastic meniscus lens. It comes with two apertures which is changed by a small slider on the front under the lens, marked ‘Colour’ and ‘B&W’. The ‘colour’ setting is probably f11 due to colour film being less sensitive back then, and the ‘B&W’ setting is around f16. (some sources claim the apertures are f8 and f11 respectively)
It was sold in 1961 for £1.3s.6d (£1.18)
It came in a cheep and flimsy plastic case, which tended to tear after a few uses, but it did have a slot in it to give access to the aperture/film selection switch.
Agilux sold their cameras to other companies. Ilford bought the Colt 44 design off them in 1962 and issued it as the Ilford Sprite, with the only difference being the metal name plate on the front
The Colt 44 has a nicely curved back which helps to compensate for the distortion of the simple lens, and a basic film advance and shutter button. Metal clasps keep the camera back on and also house the strap.
I bought my Colt 44 off eBay, and it came complete with a rather battered box and the instructions booklet, printed on lovely textured almost plastic effect paper.
I really like the Colt 44, a manly camera by name, it sounds like a gun – “Yeah, I’m gonna go and shoot stuff with my Colt 44” – but it isn’t, not really, it’s quite small and dainty, being 127 film, and fits in your hand quite nicely. I didn’t have any 127 film left when I came to use it, so decided to wrap up some 35mm black and white film in some used 127 backing paper and spool. This would give an image across all the negative, including the sprocket holes. This is not too difficult to do, although has to be done in the dark. It can also be done with 120 spools and backing paper. I used this in London over the Christmas holidays, here’s some of the results:
Overall, very pleased with this little camera, simple to use, and small enough to slip in your coat pocket. The film advance knob was a bit stiff and the viewfinder is a bit on the small side, but as I was shooting with 35mm rolled into 127 paper, I wasn’t too bothered about that, as I had no idea where the image would stop on the film. I would used this camera again , this time with 127 film, to see how it looked full frame. One for the shelf!