Leica ‘s reflex to the East

Leicaflex SL

Germany is considered too late in its responding to the rapid popularity of the Japanese SLR in the sixties. And the German SLR in general also did not become the long-awaited success; in fact, it became the downfall of the camera industry. Only Leica managed to survive thanks to the unequalled Rangefinder series. It’s a pity that the Leica SLR always has been overshadowed by its big M brother, because there is a lot to be said for Leica’s SLR, especially the legendary Leicaflex. It is now on the rise, finally after sixty years of oblivion.

Continue reading “Leica ‘s reflex to the East”

Pentacon 135mm F2.8, a gem from the cold war

Pentacon Auto F2.8 135 mm

Vintage lenses are more popular than ever before. No wonder, with simple adapters, the gems of the past can be mounted on modern digital cameras. And the quality of those lenses really comes to life digitally. The beauty of it is that these vintage lenses cost a fraction of a modern, new lens while showing a similar quality. Do not expect autofocus or other electronic communication between lens and body, this is real manual photography. If you are looking for vintage lenses, you can’t avoid M42 threaded lenses and you will eventually among others, end up at Pentacon. A brand hidden behind the iron curtain in East Germany. Undeservedly so, because Pentacon has a lot to offer the discerning and creative photographer, including the 135 mm F2.8 lens, an underrated lens with enormous potential.

Continue reading “Pentacon 135mm F2.8, a gem from the cold war”

Dreaming away with the Super Ikonta 6×6

Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta 532/16

Zeiss Ikon has a special place in (German) camera history. The company was formed in 1926 by the ‘Great’ merger of the Contessa-Nettel, Goerz, Ernemann and ICA companies. In general, the products were superior to those of the competition, both in design and in quality. Market leader with the Super Ikontas as medium format rangefinder cameras. The most famous and popular is undoubtedly the 6×6 series “532/16” produced between 1937 and 1955. I am the proud owner of an excellent copy dating from 1938. An impression of its use 83 years after the first picture was taken with it.

Continue reading “Dreaming away with the Super Ikonta 6×6”

The first coupled Rangefinder: Kodak No. 3A

Kodak No. 3A Autographic Special

Great things have small beginnings, but in this case an even big start. Let’s dive back to 1916, the year of the No. 3A Autographic Kodak Special. The ‘Special’ was an understatement, since it changed photography significantly. The huge medium format took 8×14 cm pictures. On a roll! We found and happily can review it, this masterpiece of 105 years old.

Continue reading “The first coupled Rangefinder: Kodak No. 3A”

When size does (not) matter: Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta D

Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta D

Zeis Ikon’s most iconic camera series: the 10 models of the Super Ikonta, made between 1934 and 1959. Superior medium format rangefinders that still deliver fantastic results and at least one should belong in every vintage collection. I was able to get my hands on the rare 530/15 or the Super Ikomat D, a very special Super Ikonta that produces 6,5×11 cm negatives on an old 116 film roll that was ended in 1984. But there is hope.

Continue reading “When size does (not) matter: Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta D”

Right out of the pocket: Rollei B35

Rollei B35 review

A number that resembles a plane, B35. But in this case for a camera so small that it even fits the pockets of your pant. It is one of the smallest 135 cameras ever made, by Rollei that became more famous with the famous Rolleiflex twin reflex series. But the little Rollei was a very popular, nifty quality camera. The one you take on holidays, to a birthday party or leave in the car just in case.

Continue reading “Right out of the pocket: Rollei B35”

Nothing like a Robot

Berning Robot junior

A German watchmaker designing a camera. Is that even possible? Agfa and Kodak did not believe in Heinz Kilfitt’s groundbreaking design, a camera with a heavy spring that could be like a watch wound up and automatically operate both the film and the shutter. Only the Otto Berning optic company saw something in the strange-looking, futuristic camera in 1934 and took the patent and called it the Robot. The beginning of a success series.

Continue reading “Nothing like a Robot”

The valor of Voigtländer Virtus

Voigtländer Virtus

Mysterious, magical and the example of modernization from the 1930s: the Voigtländer Virtus, the signature industrial design of a series of model names such as Prominent, Inos and Perkeo. All deep black with striking gearstyle knobs. A camera way ahead of its time and at the same time fitting the worrying changes in Germany. Virtus carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths.

Continue reading “The valor of Voigtländer Virtus”