one day at a time

vintage cameras (#375)

A little while ago we went to the truly fabulous technology museum here in Berlin. We saw brilliant old trains and planes, and wandered about in a nice exhibition of vintage cameras. I already showed you some pictures of flying machines and a picture of a train with particular dieselpunk appeal, but I still have more to show you. What is more fitting for a photography blog than to show pictures of nice vintage cameras?

robot © Verena Fischer 2012

vintage cameras – robot © Verena Fischer 2012

Camera: Canon EOS 450D | ISO : 1600 | Focal Length: 55.0 mm | Aperture: 5.6 | Shutter Speed : 1/50

This picture shows the first Robot model from the 1930s. The Robot is a viewfinder camera with a multispeed rotating shutter and came with Zeiss or Schneider lenses. This model didn’t have the spring motor for film advance like the Robot II (the reason for the Robot II being the preferred camera of the military), but it still looks like a lovely camera.

 

vintage cameras - TLR © Verena Fischer 2012

vintage cameras – TLR © Verena Fischer 2012

Camera: Canon EOS 450D | ISO : 1600 | Focal Length: 40.0 mm | Aperture: 5.0 | Shutter Speed : 1/100

These 3 beauties are twin lens reflex (TLR) cameras. The one on the left looks like the original model from sometime between 1929 and 1932. Since I didn’t photograph the cameras with their description, I can’t be sure about the precise model names. The one in the middle is a bit hard to tell, but to me it looks like an F series model. The one on the right is easy to identify though thanks to its finder; it’s the Ikoflex III produced between 1939 and 1940.

 

vintage cameras - lens production tool © Verena Fischer 2012

vintage cameras – lens production tool © Verena Fischer 2012

Camera: Canon EOS 450D | ISO : 1600 | Focal Length: 48.0 mm | Aperture: 5.6 | Shutter Speed : 1/8

This tool came without a description plate in general. From the context I infer that it is used in lens production. I tried to find a name for the tool online, but somehow I didn’t quite know what to look for and every search phrase connected to lens production came up with nothing remotely similar.

 

vintage cameras - military Leica © Verena Fischer 2012

vintage cameras – military Leica © Verena Fischer 2012

Camera: Canon EOS 450D | ISO : 1600 | Focal Length: 55.0 mm | Aperture: 5.6 | Shutter Speed : 1/50

If you have been following my blog then you know that I have been dreaming about owning a Leica. It is therefore understandable and quite normal that I also find old Leica cameras extremely fascinating. This model is a Leica with an M39 thread mount which was used in WW2. The latter fact probably explains the black finish.

 

vintage cameras - Leica and its copies © Verena Fischer 2012

vintage cameras – Leica and its copies © Verena Fischer 2012

Camera: Canon EOS 450D | ISO : 1600 | Focal Length: 24.0 mm | Aperture: 4.0 | Shutter Speed : 1/100

After the second World War all of the Leica and Contax patents came to be meaningless and the designs were shamelessly copied by Soviet and Japanese camera manufacturers. In fact immediately after the war the production machines of the Leica factories were de-assembled in Wetzlar as war raparations and re-assembled in the Soviet union. I myself own a Zorki 3C which is comparable to the Leica III and improved upon the Zorki 1, an exact copy of the Leica II. This display shows the original cameras compared to their copies. On the far left is always the original with the copies next to it on the right. The bottom row shows a Leica II with its soviet copies, a FED 1 and two Zorki 1 models. The middle row shows a Leica III and the Japanese copies Shanghai 58-II, Canon III and Minolta 35 E next to it. The top row is devoted to Contax and its copies, from left to right: Contax II, Kiev 4A, Nikon S, Contax III and Kiev 3.

 

vintage cameras - Contax © Verena Fischer 2012

vintage cameras – Contax © Verena Fischer 2012

Camera: Canon EOS 450D | ISO : 1600 | Focal Length: 55.0 mm | Aperture: 5.6 | Shutter Speed : 1/100

The last picture shows the Contax S, manufactured in 1949. It is a Single Lens Reflex camera and defined the M42 thread mount as an industry standard.

I hope you enjoyed this little journey into the past. I myself had lots of fun in this exhibition and there was even more to see. Maybe you noticed that I mostly took pictures of cameras after 1930. Well, these are the most interesting to me since they might still be usable today.

7 responses

  1. Very, very cool! I’ve always been captivated by TLR’s… there’s something I find so… elegant about them.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm

  2. Great post – they’re such appealing objects aren’t they – they look more like scientific instruments than their modern counterparts. I bet they make really great sounds too.

    August 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm

  3. The Robot is so cute!

    August 24, 2012 at 3:39 am

  4. They are great collections.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

  5. damien

    The tool is a hand tool for grinding and polishing lenses. I don’t know its exact name, but you can see a modern version being used at the begining of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7_wL0ZZi6k

    August 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm

  6. Soul

    Lovely link in…..black and white.
    soul.

    August 31, 2012 at 9:52 pm

  7. The Robot 1 has got a spring motor advance – the big knob on the top winds it up. They did come up with a model without the motor but that never came into production.
    Great photos by the way🙂

    June 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

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