Camera Lenses Manufacturers
- (Camera lens) A camera lens (also known as photographic lens, objective lens or photographic objective) is an optical lens or assembly of lenses used in conjunction with a camera body and mechanism to make images of objects either on photographic film or on other media capable of storing an
- (manufacture) industry: the organized action of making of goods and services for sale; "American industry is making increased use of computers to control production"
- (manufacture) create or produce in a mechanical way; "This novelist has been manufacturing his books following his initial success"
- A person or company that makes goods for sale
- (manufacture) put together out of artificial or natural components or parts; "the company fabricates plastic chairs"; "They manufacture small toys"; He manufactured a popular cereal"
Perfex 55 (circa 1941)
The Candid Camera Corporation was probably a bit over ambitious with the Perfex line of cameras. Their specifications (at least on paper) rivaled those of the Leicas and Contaxes of the time.
The cloth focal plane shutter had speeds from 1 sec up to 1/1250th of a second - lenses were interchangeable, and it had a long base rangefinder (over 3" between the mirrors).
Because the Perfex was designed before WWII, its design had to step around Leica and Contax patents. Perfex wasn't allowed the easy way out of just making a carbon copy of those cameras like so many other manufacturers did after the war.
The Perfex can be remembered for two revolutionary things though - it was the first American made 35mm camera with a focal plane shutter - and also the first (35mm camera from any country) with a hot-shoe! (Univex actually invented the hot shoe, but their cameras took a special proprietary film size) They also built in an exposure meter, though it is of the extinction type - and the film speed ratings are in Weston... so it's unusable today.
The weak link was the shutter. Originally designed for a top speed of 1/500th, Perfex magically raised the top speed to 1/1250 after the initial year of production. The shutters were never entirely reliable or accurate, to the point that after WWII Perfex dropped the focal plane shutter in favor of leaf shutters.
An interesting technical note about the Perfex shutter: Unlike most focal plane shutters used in 35mm cameras, the Perfex shutter releases both curtains at the same time. The exposure time is determined by the amount of space between the leading and following curtain, instead of the amount of time between the release of the leading curtain and the release of the following curtain. At the top speed the shutter curtains have only a slit of space between them, the lower the speed the wider the slit.
Other interesting quirks? The film plane is made of pressed steel... the shutter button is located in the center of the rotating shutter speed dial - which unlike most rotating shutter dials, rotates as the shutter is wound up instead of released (actually far better in this respect than most FP shutters of the time, since it means you can't ruin the exposure by accidentally touching the shutter dial while the shutter is firing)... the lenses are not truly interchangeable because the focusing helical is built into the camera body, and is made to work with 50mm lens.
The early models came with Graf lenses of indifferent quality. Within a few years they changed suppliers to Wollensak, who supplied them with their Velostigmat (tessar) lens of decent quality.
The model 55 was made from 1940 through 1947. Post war models do not feature the extinction meter. All of Perfex went under in 1949/50.
Of historical interest, it was a Perfex that took the only color photograph of the Trinity atom bomb test.
Camera Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515/2
One of a long line of folding cameras made by the famous German company Zeiss Ikon. This one, a Nettar 515/2, was made in 1938, and I call it my Hitler Cam. It takes 120 film and still works fine. It was a popular middle range folding camera with a surprisingly good lens for the intended market, a Nettar 110mm f/4.5. This was for the middle classes to take their holiday snaps. It is still a working camera and produces passable results, although the uncoated lens is subject to flares in bright light, and the ruby window allows in enough light to fog fast films. Wind on in the shade and keep the little trapdoor shut. This camera was made when films were not very sensitive to red light, (orthochromatic) and the usual speed rating would have been around 100 ASA.
Zeiss Ikon was formed in 1926 by the merger of Germany's largest photo manufacturers; Contessa-Nettel of Stuttgart, Ernemann Werke of Dresden, Goerz of Berlin, and Ica of Dresden. It was connected to its parent company, Carl Zeiss, and used its highly regarded lenses. The Zeiss Ikon factory was based in Dresden, and during World War II the city was flattened by RAF bombing, destroying the factory completely. After the war, Germany was split into east and west sections, and two competing Carl Zeiss concerns arose. The Russian based eastern arm at a new factory in Dresden became Pentacon and later Praktica whilst the genuine Zeiss Ikon factory in Stuttgart, West Germany, commenced production of newly designed cameras. It continued until closure in 1972, forced out by the cheaper and innovative Japanese products that flooded its market.
This camera sold in Britain when new for just a little over ?5. I estimate that in 2008 terms that would be ?230, €329, or $460
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