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Identifying an old camera

Ro Irving , Jun 24, 2004; 05:57 a.m.

Hi, I have recently aquired my grandfather's old camera. Unfortunately I have no idea what it is! If some kind soul could help me identify it I would be most grateful.

The camera is a basic folding camera (horizontal format) that takes 6x6 format photos.

The only identifying marks on it are the lens (which is a Carl Zeiss Jena No 224451 Triotar 1:6.3 with a focal length of 75 cm) and the shutter (which says D.R.P COMPOUND DGRM, has speeds from 1 sec to 1/300 sec and has "No 371939" stamped on the shutter speed dial.

The camera body has D53013 stamped inside (on the bit that the bellows attach to).

It looks like it takes 120 film (I am hoping it does as I want to use it :)

The lens/shutter and bellows are in great condition (no fungus of light leaks) but the body is rusty, the letherette is peeling and the bellows have seperated from the body.

I would like to renovate it myself but don't want to mess it up if it might be valuable (I doubt it is but just in case...).

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Hopefully this camera will start me collecting classic cameras (I already have a Lubitel and a Canon AE-1 which I use to take B&W photos) as I seem to have caught the bug from reading this forum.




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Patric Dahlén , Jun 24, 2004; 08:59 a.m.

I believe it's from the late 1910's, but it's difficult to say who manufactured the camera. Can you take pics of the camera and post them here?

Pablo Coronel , Jun 24, 2004; 09:03 a.m.

Probably a couple of pictures would help in this task, do you have any?

This is one of the folding Zeiss Ikons, probably from the 40s.

Look in the pacificrim camera website http://www.pacificrimcamera.com/pp/zeiss/zeiss.htm

Ro Irving , Jun 24, 2004; 09:40 a.m.

Sorry, no pics. Can't take any until I get some more developer next week.

While cleaning it i found a small brass plate with all the lettering work off. However underneath the plate is says "Watch CARBINE Pocket". Does anyone know anything about these?

Donald Qualls , Jun 24, 2004; 10:52 a.m.

Aha! Butcher's made a couple models of Watch Pocket Carbine, including a 2 1/4" square format model starting about 1912 (and yes, it's 120 film). It seems to me that Butcher's and Houghton merged somehow into Ensign, who also produced a Watch Pocket Carbine for a time. The Triotar and Compound shutter suggest you have a 1920s or later model, and D.R.P. is the tween-wars version of the abbreviation for Germany -- I see the same designation on the Compur shutter of my pre-1926 Ica Ideal. The f/6.3 lens suggests 1920s or early 1930s; by 1935 or so most smaller cameras like this had f/4.5 or faster lenses available, though they were often also sold in less expensive models with slower lenses and usually less versatile or reliable shutters. The Compound was a competitor of the Compur, and a good one, and the Triotar wasn't a cheap lens (CZJ didn't put their name on cheap lenses, generally), so yours is probably too old to have had f/4.5 on a consumer level camera.

So, most likely you have a late 1920s to early 1930s version of the Watch Pocket Carbine, which would have been made under the Butcher's name. If you can get it back in shape, it should be a decent shooter; the Triotar is similar to a lot of the other triplets of the day, and quite adequate when stopped down a bit. You may be able to narrow the dates a bit more by tracing the serial number of the Triotar; Schneider lenses have an online database for this, but I'm not certain about Carl Zeiss Jena.

Mike Kovacs , Jun 24, 2004; 10:54 a.m.

D.R.P. means Deutsche Reich Patent and I believe it was in use between WWI until the end of WWII. The 40's Zeiss Ikon cameras with triplet lenses I have seen always have the Novar (made for Zeiss), not the Triotar (made by Ziess) but I'm no expert in this field.

Mike Kovacs , Jun 24, 2004; 10:56 a.m.

Bad German grammer - that's "Deutsches". Was there another used during Nazi Germany?

Mike Connealy , Jun 24, 2004; 10:57 a.m.

The 7.5cm focal length suggests that the camera may have been meant to produce 6x4.5 format images, possibly with the aid of a removable mask.

Donald Qualls , Jun 24, 2004; 02:08 p.m.

Not very likely, Mike -- 6x4.5 was an "off label" format prior to about 1938, since none of the film sizes that eventually merged to become modern multi-format 120 had 4.5 cm spaced frame markings until about that date; 6x4.5 cameras made before WWII almost all had dual windows on the 6x9 framing track. The Certo Dolly models had this dual format, and had three windows to support it.

However, 75 mm isn't uncommon on Zeiss 6x6 cameras, either from the 1930s or even the 1950s; I've seen a couple different Ikonta B models with that focal length that had only a single central framing window for 6x6. There's really little difference between 75 mm and 80 mm anyway; like the difference between a 50 mm and 55 mm lens on a 35 mm camera, it's more a matter of personal taste than one being "normal" and the other "wide" or "long". And with Butcher's buying the lenses from CZJ, they might well have gotten whatever was going onto the Zeiss B model at the time. In any case, most -- if not all -- dual format cameras of this type (including both my Moskva-5 and my Wirgin Auta 6.3) have a lens sized for the larger format, and just accept a slight tele effect on the smaller.

peter 4711 , Jun 24, 2004; 05:24 p.m.

Hello, is difficult identified the camera without picture. The lens nr. from ZEISS tell its round about 1926 years. Well, any 6x6 rollfilmfolder have an 75mm lens. The best example is the Rolleiflex, but is not a folder camera. A 6x6 and 4,5x6 rollfilmfolder have two ruby windows, and only the 75mm lens.

I think is not a german camera. Zeiss sell the lenses for other plants taked with ZEISS lenses.

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