The very first time I saw an Empire Baby Camera on eBay, I thought it was the cutest little thing. Someone from Australia was auctioning it. I bid $5 and was outbid .I bought my first Empire Baby at the annual camera show in Puyallup, Washington. There, I paid my five bucks. This tiny (3 1/2″ x 2 3/4″) camera says it is made in Macau. It sports a huge red shutter lever. On the front of the lens it says, “Fitted with Optical Crystal Lens” and has a registration number from the U.K. It accepts 127mm film. The images this camera creates are 1 1/8″ wide and 1 9/16″ high. Keeping with cheezy 127 camera tradition, the back of the camera has two viewing holes. You’re supposed to put the film counter number in the first hole, take a picture, then wind the same number to the next hole. I got 14 images on my first roll though I think you’re supposed to get 16, but I was afraid of image overlap, as I’ve experienced that problem before. I love the images this camera makes! They’re distorted around the edges and focused in the center. The classic plastic lens darkening of the edges doesn’t exist here. The shape of the nearly square image has little mousy bites taken out of three of its corners. I just sort of consider the viewfinder like a scope to aim with. You get a lot more image than what’s shown in there. The back swings away from the body and can be totally removed, rather than having clips you simply pull apart. The film advance winder clicks as you turn it.
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A couple of similar cameras: