my life in the land down under

Friday Focus: Empire Scout


Everyone needs a camera for good photography, so who could resist this one?

Great advertising!

Let me introduce the Empire Scout.

I acquired this model a few years ago and so far have run two or three films though it; I’ve posted a few examples from the first film below.

Interestingly, while I was searching online for info on this camera, I found that the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa in Wellington) have one in their collection. It must be good! 🙂

The Camera:

The Empire Scout boasts a fine polished optical lens

The back of the camera has a red window that shows the frame number when a film is loaded

The top of the camera, showing flash / rangefinder shoe (?) and film advance lever

Exposure can be adjusted for Cloudy, Hazy, or Bright conditions, and the shutter speed set to Bulb or Instant

The Stats:

Camera Name: Empire Scout – model 316
Where Made: Hong Kong
Year of Production: 1960’s
Serial Number: unknown
Film Type / Neg Size: Takes twelve 6×6 cm frames on 120 (medium format) film
Lens: f8 ‘Fine Polished Optical Lens’ (plastic)
Shutter: unmarked
Shutter Speeds: B (bulb), I (instant) – possibly 1/60 sec.
Apertures: Bright / Hazy/ Cloudy settings (may equate to f22, f16, f8)
Exposure Meter: none
Focusing: Zone focusing with settings of 5-8ft, 20-25ft, infinity.

The Photos:




Palm tree

I was pleasantly surprised by the results. What do you think – does the Empire Scout live up to its claim as a camera for good photography?

Click on the links below for my previous posts on vintage cameras:

Friday Focus: Introduction


Author: Janice

Married to a very lucky man (he sometimes agrees), I'm learning to be a better wife, homemaker, & step-mum to two adult children and their other halves. I enjoy thinking, writing, nature, travelling, reading, photography and other creative pursuits, and spending time with friends & family (not necessarily in that order). I work part-time with children & their families. I have too much stuff (working on that) and am not a morning person... that about covers it for now.

10 thoughts on “Friday Focus: Empire Scout

  1. hola tengo una de estas cámaras, era de mi padre, como se habre… para poner las películas…
    cualquier información le agradezco… gracias
    y si alguien esta interesado en adquirirla tambien.

    • Hi Paulo, I don’t speak Spanish so had to translate your comment.
      “Hi, I have one of these cameras, it belonged to my father, as I will have… to put the movies…
      I am grateful for any information… thank you
      and if someone is interested in acquiring (buying) it also.
      I’m not sure what you meant by movies, so it may have been an incorrect translation. You might find more information on the camera by searching the internet. If you’re wanting to sell your one it’s probably best for you to advertise it in your own country. Thanks for visiting my blog.
      Happy New Year!

      • Hola tengo una camara de estas. Sólo como antigüedad. Sin funcionar.
        Quiero saber el valor de esta y existen interesados en comprarla.

      • Hi Roris, sorry this camera is not for sale. I can’t tell you what yours might be worth, you might be able to find out by searching online auction websites. I think it’s worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it! 🙂

  2. Hola. quisiera saber: el lente de cuanto es? 50 mm.?

    • I’m sorry for the late reply. I can’t find any more information on the lens and haven’t tested it to see how it compares with other 50mm lenses I have. Maybe someone else can help?

  3. whoa janice what a nice description of my old camera. it was my first camera not counting the use of my dad’s old zeis ikon nettar. I started shooting with it in the sixties, about 1963-64. Still got the negatives and the pictures I took in that period. Great camera for starters! Now I’m in my sixties myself and many cameras later, still look back with fond memories of my first camera. Thanks Janice for an excellent article about a long forgotten GOOD camera!

    • Hi jaap, sorry for the late reply. Thanks for commenting, glad you enjoyed the article. Don’t throw away those old negs & photos, they may be valuable some day!

  4. Hey I recently found one of these camera in the back of a drawer in my grandmothers house. I really wanna get using it, (I’ve been using my dad’s old olympus OM 10 up until now and wanna start branching out) but its lost its instructions? I was wondering if you knew how to lode the film into the camera or could point me in the direction of the manual so I can find out?

    • Hi Grace, I don’t have a manual for the Empire Scout but you may be able to find one online, or something similar. This website has lots of manuals so you could start there: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/other_manuals.htm . It’s been a while since I used any of these old cameras so you have encouraged me to pull it out and have another look. Good luck with yours, I will be interested to see any photos you make with it! 🙂

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