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The Seagull 203 is a 120 film folding rangefinder camera, 6x6 and 4.5x6 format, built by the so-called Shanghai Camera Factory, which in fact are several factories in the Shanghai region. It was first issued in 1963 under the name Shanghai 203 and rebaptized Seagull 203 a year later. There is a later version, the 203-I, with a hot-shoe instead of the film speed reminder/exposure calculator. It was produced until 1977.

The Seagull 203 was inspired by the Agfa Super Isolette, it looks like a cheaper version of the professional Iskra, a Russian version of the Super Isolette. By the 1960s the 120 film cameras diappeared from the western consumer market, so this was a very late 120 film camera launch. It's nevertheless a serious rangefinder. The camera shown is next to new.

Size (mm): 140 x 105 x 43
Weight: 710 g
Lens: S-111-2 3.5/75, closest focus 1 m
Shutter: B 1 - 1/300, F 3.5 - 22, light value system
Finder: coupled rangefinder
Film advance: lever, non automatic, via red window

Here are some photos of the camera. There is a short introduction to the use of it and how it feels at the bottom of the page.

Camera front closed. Top: film advance,  rangefinder window, viewfinder window,
reminder/calculator dial.

Seen from the back. On top: reminder/calculator dial, viewer, film advance lever. Two red windows for either format.

Seen from above. Reminder/calculator dial, opening button, shutter release button, indicator for double exposure prevention and film advance lever. With the dial you can calculate the exposure if you lack a meter. Set the film speed. Look at the sun, there are 5 settings from sunny to rainy. Put your setting in front of the indicator of one of 5 scenes, from sea/snow to bright indoor. The red arrow will give the appropriate light value. On b&w film you should get an exploitable result.

Seen from the bottom. Tripod socket.

Camera front open. Around the lens: depth-of-the-field scale, light value settings. Little lever: shutter cocking.

Seen from above, camera open. Distance scale, shutter cocking lever, speed and aperture scales. Tiny lever fot self timer. Dented focusing ring next to the bellows.
 The camera was built for the light value system, so aperture and speed are connected (LV scale on the previous photo). Once set to the appropriate light value, there is a choice different shutter speed/aperture combinations, you change the speed and the appropriate aperture is set at the same time.

Left side, camera open.

Right side, camera open.

Camera back open.

Film chamber.

Film chamber with 4.5x6 format masks in place. They are hinged and fold into the spool chamber when not in use. There are corresponding lines in the viewer.

Original leather case.

Leather case open.

Handling a Seagull 203 is easy, it's like other folding rangefinders. Loading film is as usual. Open the camera back, retract the peg via the knob on the bottom and put the take-up spool into place. Same procedure for the film spool. Insert the film paper backing into the take-up spool and advance it using the lever until it's well engaged. Close the camera back. Open the red window and advance the film via the advance lever until the red window shows "1".

Open the camera.
Cock the shutter, set light value (or speed and aperture). Set focus by the dented focusing ring next to the bellows, focusing moves the lens out. Press the shutter release button. That's it. The double exposure warning will be visible and the release is blocked until you action the film advance lever. To close the camera, press the hinges of the struts as usual, it will fold easily whatever distance is set. Open the red window and action the film advance lever until the next number is shown.

The Seagull 203 is a very nice and quite sturdy camera, easy to use, with good lenses and shutters.
It lacks automatic film advance, but it's a nice camera nevertheless. It's a good choice if you want to start with a 120 film folder and not spend much money.

Seagull 203710140 x 105 x 43CLever RW, DEPS-111-2 3.5/75 | 1B 1 - 1/300 | 22, LV4,5x6 Mask, VF Index