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Welcome to the Petrakla Classic Camera Site.

The site for people who enjoy using prewar cameras.

There are times when camera collecting and photography is incredibly difficult. It comes as moments when you’re asked simple questions like “What’s the best camera…?” or “What is the most significant photo of all time?” The brain starts working, the heart beats nicely and the mouth moves but if an answer appears at all… it’s a long and complicated one, full of design details, historical moments and personal rationalizations.

Fortunately answers come quicker when we are asked to feel more and think less…. Matters of the heart are easier to answer and to agree on. The eye and the heart have a directness and honesty that the brain lacks as it struggles to retain, comprehend and balance all the many details.  

So here’s a simple question for your heart. What’s your most enjoyable camera? I don’t know about you, but I see the answer almost immediately. I can also feel it between my hands. It’s a prewar camera. It’s honest, it’s significant and above all it’s great fun to be with. It’s like the perfect partner that some of us search our entire lives for. It has that unique mix of something for the heart, something for the eye and something for the head. It’s that perplexing mix that insures we never tire of being close.

More importantly I enjoy the images my prewar camera produces. The images from vintage lenses have a distinct look and feel to them that has nothing to do with modern clinical sharpness, MTF charts and static testing. The vintage lenses I use have a “lived in” feel to them and an emotional impact that I find lacking in some modern optics. The photos have an odd intimacy in their imperfections, and they often look at the world and see the light in the same way we do.

If you know what I’m talking about, then this site is intended for you and your prewar camera. An aid to your own search for that perfect picture, that perfect moment, when you discover that perfection isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being comfortable about yourself, your choices and following your heart…   
This website is dedicated to the use of vintage 120 roll film cameras from the beginning of the 20th century and 35mm cameras and lenses from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s.

Although our site is primarily geared towards artists and photographers who love cameras with uncoated lenses, many early lens formulas were of course later produced in a simple coated version. Our articles also cover these early coated lenses and the cameras that supported them.  However we maintain a general cut off point of the mid 1950’s which was a transitional period in which many folding cameras, prewar designs and many prewar optics were finally phased out of production.

Just some of our cameras waiting for adoption....

1933 Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta 6x9, with unusual coated Zeiss Tessar lens, CLA'd, FRESHLY SERVICED!
Excellent! 1938 Rolleiflex Automat, Freshly Serviced, CLA’d
Superb! 1948 Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
1934 Art-Deco Nickel-plated Rolleicord CLA’d Freshly Serviced!
Sold Superb! 1935 Art-deco 6x4.5 Duo camera, with Zeiss Tessar lens, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
SUPERB! 1936 Zeiss Ikon Contax I, 35mm rangefinder, CLA’d, FRESHLY SERVICED
Near Mint! 1955 Zeiss-Ikon 6x6 Folder, CLA’d FRESHLY SERVICED!
Excellent! 1937 6x9 Super Ikonta with Tessar Lens, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
1938 Leitz Leica body, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Excellent! 1900 Large Format 5x7 camera with 180mm HELIAR lens! CLA'd, Freshly Serviced
Excellent! 1955 6x9 Zeiss-Ikon Nettar, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
SUPERB! 1951 Voigtlander Vito III, Rangefinder w/ 2.0 Ultron lens, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Superb! 1939 Zeiss Ikon Contax II, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
SUPERB!  1938 Welta Welti, 35mm Camera, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Excellent! 1938 35mm Certo Super Dollina Rangefinder camera, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
1936 Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta, Tessar lens, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
One brown leather camera strap for vintage cameras, light or dark  brown.
Instructions for the use of Roll-op II, PDF DOWNLOAD!
Super Ikonta B Instructions for use. PDF DOWNLOAD!
Contax IIa Manual (English) PDF DOWNLOAD!
14 SUPERB Zeiss Ikon (Super) Ikonta manuals, PDFs DOWNLOAD!
Instruction book Contax IIIa (English) PDF DOWNLOAD!
26 Voigtlander / Voigtländer manuals + 224 photos very good quality. PFDs DOWNLOAD!
9 SUPERB Zeiss Ikon Contax I II III IIa IIIa manuals and much more, PDFs DOWNLOAD!