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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Two eyes see more than one: Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex 1c

Ikoflex

Zeiss Ikon does not have the most popular name in the TLR segment. This is unjustified, as the range of models has been great since 1935 with the introduction of the Contaflex TLR. More famous are the 14 successors, all of which appeared under the name Ikoflex. Solid cameras up to the final model, the Ikoflex Favorit in the late 1950s. Before that there was the famous Ikoflex 1c which was the first to have an advanced LVS exposure meter. A complete working model is however hard to find. Something seems always broken.

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The imaginative Agfa Super Isolette

Agfa Super Isolette

There is always much debate as to what makes a camera the best in its class. In the case of the Agfa Super Isolette, made in Berlin, the unanimous opinion is that it is the best medium format folder ever made. A camera that has aroused much envy from Leica and Zeiss Ikon. Yet the success of the camera came decades after its first production in 1954. The rapid decline in sales of 120 film in favor of the many times more popular 135 film and growing market for 35mm cameras was to blame. Not many Super Isolettes have come on the market, which complicates the search for this top Agfa model.

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Praktica FX2: the underdog from Dresden

Praktica FX2 review

There is no German camera brand as undervalued as the East German Praktica. Now, strictly speaking, it is not a brand, but a long-running model name of KW (Kamera-Werkstaetten) and later Pentacon. Once started as Praktiflex in 1939 and ended as Praktica BX20S in 2001. More than 40 models and versions have never brought the brand what it actually deserves: recognition for high quality at affordable prices.

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