Viewfinders

Agfa Paramat

Half-frame, auto-exposure, and made largely of plastic, the Paramat is a fine example of a mid-1960s consumer camera. In all honesty, it’s not the sort of thing that normally attracts Your Humble Filmosaur, but it was the first camera my parents owned, and now it’s mine.

King Regula IIb

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The product of an early Cold War marriage of convenience, this Regula IIb combines a West German body and shutter with a Yugoslav lens assembly. A surprisingly modern design when compared with contemporaries, but the rendering of the Ghenar lens is distinctly old-fashioned.

Kodak Retina I

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An early post-war 35mm folder, the Retina is a solid and simple camera. Very well-built and durable, but a bit heavy, it requires a little more from users than later designs with more automated control arrangements. The folding design makes it very easily portable.

Olympus Pen D3

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One of the high points of half-frame camera design and capability, the D3 is the only fully manual Pen with a CdS meter and a fast 6-element 32mm f/1.7 lens. A fairly rare camera, this one lived a bit of a tough life but has been refurbished and is now doing just fine.

Olympus XA4 Macro

An odd little divergence that existed only briefly at the end of the run of Olympus’ XA range, the XA4 Macro features a 28mm f/3.5 lens that focuses down to a foot. Quite a capable little camera, though it is auto-exposure. The size, or lack thereof, is the real beauty of it.

Rollei 35

A tiny full-frame, fixed-lens camera from the 1960s, the Rollei is an unorthodox design in many ways, but manages to incorporate fully manual controls, a CdS meter, and a high-quality collapsible 40mm f/3.5 Tessar lens into a very small package.

Voigtländer Perkeo II

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It’s not the Vito, but it is the Vito’s larger medium-format cousin. Well-built and capable, with a great Color Skopar 80/3.5 lens, the Perkeo II offers the opportunity to shoot big 6×6 negatives with a camera that fits in a pocket.

Voigtländer Vito

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Another 35mm folder made in mid-century Germany, the Vito has few unusual design elements but a very high-quality feel about it. The body and controls are lighter than those of the Retina shown above, but operation is very similar. The 50mm f/3.5 Skopar lens has an excellent reputation.

Yashica J-Mini

Another of my father’s old cameras, the J-Mini is very simple, with a fixed-focus 32/3.5 lens and completely automatic operation. For what it is, though, the photos really aren’t bad – one of them helped me win the contest that got me my first Leica.


Gone but not forgotten

Olympus PEN EES-2

The PEN is a tiny half-frame camera aimed at the consumer market in the 1960s. It offers minimal manual control and scale focusing through a D.Zuiko 30mm (46mm equivalent) f/2.8 lens. It relies on a selenium cell for metering.

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