The Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation, founded in 1920 by the inventor and entrepreneur Sherman Mills Fairchild (April 7, 1896 - March 28, 1971)[1] was the manufacturer of a range of aerial cameras.

Background[edit | edit source]

Sherman M. Fairchild was born in Oneonta, New York, in April 1896 as the only child of congressman and a founder of International Business Machines (IBM), George W Fairchild. Sherman attended college at Harvard, the University of Arizona, and Columbia, studying engineering and aerial photography (graduating from none of them). In 1917 Fairchild was rejected from the US military because of poor health. Determined to help with the war effort, he and his father went to Washington to see if his experience with cameras might be helpful. At the time, the aerial cameras available to the US Army produced poor quality images because the camera's slow shutter speed could not keep up with the motion created by the airplane. Fairchild developed a camera with an between-the-lens shutter which produced much clearer images. Even though the Army did not accept his camera until World War I had ended, it acquired two units for training. Fairchild started the Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation in February 1920 as a vehicle to built and distribute his aerial cameras. Soon after the US Army placed orders for the and made the Fairchild the standard military camera.[2]

Cameras produced by Fairchild[edit | edit source]

Cameras produced by Fairchild:

F-1[edit | edit source]

Hand-held camera for aerial obliques, 57 x 7 format; black finish with wooden hand grips, with Carl Zeiss Tessar 250mm/f4.5 lens [3]

F-8[edit | edit source]

The F-8 was focal plane shutter camera for oblique aerial photos, manufactured by Fairchild (fitted with a Schneider Xenar 240mm/f4.5) and under licence by Keystone (fitted with a Wollensak-Tele 15"/f5.6).

F-14[edit | edit source]

Hand-held camera for aerial obliques, 7 x 7 format; black wrinkle finish with wooden hand grips, with Bausch and Lomb lens-astigmat 8 1/4in. f:4,[4]

F-17[edit | edit source]



                                                                                   

F-56[edit | edit source]

A Reconnaissance Camera, primarily operated by the US Navy, fitted with a range of lens cone options:

  • 5.25-inch / f6.3
  • 8.25-inch / f4
  • 20-inch / f5
  • 40-inch / f8

K-3A[edit | edit source]

Aerial mapping camera with automatic data imprint. With aerostigmat lens 12-inch/f5[5]

K-6[edit | edit source]

A large camera for oblique aerials, produced before 1929 and used by Bradford Washburn for many of his images of mountains and glaciers in Alaska.[6]

K-14[edit | edit source]

Spotting camera. A hand-held camera, with a Kodak 95 mm lens and a focal plane shutter, was used by the pilot for recording points of interest while on general reconnaissance missions. With Kodak 95/ f3.5 lens.[7]

K-17[edit | edit source]

The K-17 was a Reconnaissance and Mapping Camera with between-the-lens shutter camera for vertical and oblique aerial photos, using 9 1/2" wide roll film for 9" x 9" images, with exchangeable cones with Bausch and Lomb Metrogon lens of 6", 12" and 24" focal length [8]

  • 6-inch / f6.3
  • 12-inch / f5
  • 24-inch / f6

K-18[edit | edit source]

The K-18 was a Medium to High Altitude Reconnaissance Camera for 9 1/2" wide roll film for 9" x 18" negatives. The camera was comprised of a single-unit housing and 24-inch / f6 focal length [8]

K-19B[edit | edit source]

The K-19B Night Reconnaissance Camera for 9" x 9" format with a 12-inch / f2.5 lens cone [8]

K-20[edit | edit source]

The K-20 was a low altitude aerial camera for oblique photos, with a 6.375-inch / f4.5 lens, designed by Fairchild and manufactured under licence by Graflex

K-22[edit | edit source]

An focal plane shutter camera for 9" x 9" format with a range of lens cone options for [8]

  • 6-inch / f6.3
  • 12-inch / f5
  • 24-inch / f6
  • 40-inch / f5
  • 40-inch / f5.6
  • 40-inch / f8

K-25[edit | edit source]

An aerial camera for oblique photos, designed by Fairchild and manufactured under licence by Graflex

K-37[edit | edit source]

Camera designed for medium- to high-altitude night reconnaissance. Fitted with Kodak Aero-Ektar 305/f2.5.

K-37[edit | edit source]

Kamera für mittel-bis hoch gelegenen Nachtaufklärung konzipiert. Fitted with Kodak Aero-Ektar 305/f2.5.

KA-1[edit | edit source]

Aerial Reconnaissance Still Picture Camera; manufactured by Fairchild; used in Martin RB-57E, RF-4, and RF-101A/C photo reconnaissance aircraft

KA-2[edit | edit source]

Aerial Reconnaissance Still Picture Camera; manufactured by Fairchild; used in A-26A, RF-84F, and RF-101A/C photo reconnaissance aircraft

KA-54[edit | edit source]

Aerial Reconnaissance Still Picture Camera; manufactured by Fairchild

KA-56[edit | edit source]

Low-Altitude Panoramic Camera; manufactured by Fairchild; used in RF-4, RF-5E, RF-8A/G, RF-101, RB-57E, F-111C (Australia), and the Mirage III-O (Australia)

Notes specific to the use of the KA-56 in the Mirage III-O aircraft ..... The KA-56 was mounted inside a replacement nose cone that was fitted to the front of the aircraft in lieu of the normal Radar equipped nose cone. For additional Photo Recon capability, a pair of RAF sourced Vinten F-95 oblique recon cameras fitted into a module that replaced the normal DEFA 30mm Canon in the "Gun Bay".

photo reconnaissance aircraft

KA-60[edit | edit source]

Panoramic High-Speed Aerial Still Picture Camera; manufactured by Fairchild; used in OV-1, RF-8A/G, AQM-34 photo reconnaissance aircraft

KA-66[edit | edit source]

Panoramic High-Speed Aerial Still Picture Camera (modified KA-60); manufactured by Fairchild; used in RF-8A photo reconnaissance aircraft

KA-71[edit | edit source]

Panoramic High-Speed Aerial Still Picture Camera (modified KA-60); manufactured by Fairchild; used in F-105G photo reconnaissance aircraft

KA-72[edit | edit source]

70mm Framing Camera; manufactured by Fairchild

KA-82[edit | edit source]

Medium-Altitude Panoramic Camera; manufactured by Fairchild; used in RB-57E, RF-4B photo reconnaissance aircraft

KA-89[edit | edit source]

Panoramic Camera; manufactured by Fairchild; used in AQM-34 photo reconnaissance aircraft

KA-92[edit | edit source]

Panoramic Camera; manufactured by Fairchild

KB-18[edit | edit source]

70mm Panoramic Strike Recording Camera; manufactured by Fairchild; used in A-7D, F-4E, F-100F, O-2A, OV-10C, RF-111C (Australia), P-3C (Australia) photo reconnaissance aircraft

KC-1[edit | edit source]

Still Picture High-Altitude Mapping Camera; manufactured by Fairchild; used in RC-130A, RF-4 photo reconnaissance aircraft

KS-25[edit | edit source]

High-Acuity Aerial Reconnaissance Camera System; manufactured by Fairchild; used with ES-25 photo reconnaissance aircraft

KS-120[edit | edit source]

Panoramic High-Speed Aerial Still Picture Camera (KA-60C modified with larger 6000 ft. capacity magazine); manufactured by Fairchild; used in AQM-34 photo reconnaissance aircraft

Sources and links[edit | edit source]

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