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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....

Sold 1933 Voigtlander 6x6 Superb TLR, the desirable model with “big ears”, Freshly Serviced!
Sold 1938 Rolleiflex Automat, Freshly Serviced, CLA’d, Freshly Serviced!
Sold 1934 Art-Deco Nickel-plated rolleicord CLA's, Freshly Serviced!
SUPERB! 1941 Zeiss Ikon Contax II,with a Carl Zeiss 2.0/50mm lens, Freshly Serviced, Ready for immediate use!
1938 Carl-Zeiss Jena  2.0/8.5cm (85mm) Sonnar Lens for Contax II
EXCELLENT! Voigtlander Vito III, fast 2.0 Ultron lens
Rare! 1938 CERTO SS Dolly with f2.8/75mm Zeiss Tessar lens
1936 Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta, Tessar lens, Freshly Serviced!
SUPERB 1935 6x4.5 Welta Perle, Freshly Serviced!
Excellent! 1938 35mm Certo Super Dollina Rangefinder camera, Freshly Serviced!
1936 BEIER RIFAX 6x9 & 6x4.5 Coupled Rangefinder, Freshly Serviced!
SUPERB!  1938 Welta Welti, 35mm Camera, Freshly Serviced!
One brown leather camera strap for vintage cameras, light or dark  brown.
9 SUPERB Zeiss Ikon Contax I II III IIa IIIa manuals and much more, DOWNLOAD!
14 SUPERB Zeiss Ikon (Super) Ikonta manuals, DOWNLOAD!
26 Voigtlander / Voigtländer manuals + 224 phots very good quality. DOWNLOAD!
Super Ikonta B Instructions for use.
Sold Excellent 1937 Leitz Leica III, Freshly Serviced!
Sold Near Mint! 1952 Zeiss-Ikon Ikonta 6x9, Coated Tessar lens, FRESHLY SERVICED!
Sold COATED! LEITZ 1938 2.0/50mm SUMMAR LENS  Yes that is correct, a coated 1938 Leitz Summar lens!
Sold Superb! 1936 Voigtlander 6x9 Bessa Rangefinder with Skopar lens, Freshly Serviced!
Sold SUPERB! 1938 Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta 6x9, Tessar lens, Compur Rapid shutter and original mask.