1937 35mm Certo Dollina III Rangefinder camera, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
There’s a real charm to owning and using a vintage camera that’s difficult to put into words. Part of it has to do with a sense of history and heritage as well as the simple pleasure of manually setting the dials. Personally I like the simple purity of it and the lovely results when you get it right, results that always amaze friends and family. It’s a bit like fly fishing I suppose, where the feel of the rod, the rush of the line between your finger tips and the fresh mountain air, cool against your face, is just as important as the fish themselves. After all, if you just want fish… it’s quicker to buy them at the local super market.
If you understand what I mean and you want a vintage camera that uses normal 35mm film and provides you with a lot of fun, then you may want to look at this camera.
This is rather rare Certo Dollina III, it was a coupled rangefinder camera that was only produced for a single year in 1937 by “Certo Camera Werk” in Dresden, Germany. It was an expensive, high quality camera that that helped establish the popularity of the then then new “miniature” 35mm format. It featured a very solid die cast body, real leather covering and a coupled rangefinder. However it was released during the ‘great depression’ and the high price put it out of reach of many would be owners. As a result, production was discontinued soon after its introduction and this camera was replaced by a simpler, less expensive model. So it’s no wonder that it can be very difficult to a Dollina III, especially if you want a clean, fully functioning example.
It’s an interesting design with finely machined knobs and the intricate looking depth of field chart on the back of the camera. It also has the convenience of a built in coupled rangefinder that never leaves you guessing about the distance or the focus. In addition to this, an interesting feature of this camera is that it is focused via a knob on the top side of the camera. This knob features a distance scale and if desired it can also be used to pre-focus the camera even if the camera is closed. This means you set the focus anytime you want and if a great photo suddenly presents itself, all you’ll need to do is unfold the camera, compose and shoot.
The camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. Everything works. The bellows are light tight. The quality Compur-Rapid shutter works very well. All speeds (T, B & 1 sec.-1/500th) fire smoothly and are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along nicely and the faster ones are clean and snappy.
The lens is a top of the line f2.8/5cm (50mm) Carl Zeiss Tessar. (A classic design with four elements in three groups.) The lens is clean and clear. There are no scratches, no cleaning marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
All in all, an unusual freshly serviced prewar camera that’s ready to use. The perfect gift for people with a historic interest in photography.