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1937 6x6 Balda folding camera, Freshly Serviced, CLA’d

Balda

1937 6x6 Balda folding camera, Freshly Serviced, CLA’d

$225.00

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, the other is the simple pleasure of controlling everything. I like the simple purity of it and the outstanding 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’re interested in an affordable classic camera that uses normal 120 roll film and produces lovely photos without breakig the bank, then you may want to look at this next camera. It’s been carefully serviced by us and everything works well.

This is a Balda Baldax, produced in Germany in 1937. It’s in exceptionally fine condition, which is unusual. This model was very popular with both civilians and military personnel and often used quite intensively during WWII. Many of them were lost of worn out and survivors generally show a lot of use. This camera is the exception to the rule and because of that we’ve spent time and effort carefully servicing it. (We’re specialized in pre-war cameras.)

This nice, solid little camera produces 12 large 6x6 exposures on normal 120 roll film. When it comes to picture quality, bigger is better... and this camera can produce a negative that’s more than four times larger than the average 35mm snap shot. The real appeal is that all of this is produced by a camera which and easily slides into an unused corner of your camera bag, your backpack or the inside pocket of your jacket. So whether you're interesting in fine grain, rich tonal values, or lovely colors, this camera can provide all that and its compact size will never give you a reason to leave it at home.

This camera was designed to work with a wide variety of roll films available in the 1930’s. (These films had the same dimensions as modern 120 film but some rolls were shorter and some had the exposure numbers located in unusual positions.) To this end, there are four counter windows on the rear of the camera. However today things are much much simpler. Just load some film, use the most centrally located window and you’ll be good to go.

By the way, this camera is fitted with a custom made accessory shoe. We’ve left it there, so that you can add an accessory rangefinder if desired. (These vintage items are easy to find on eBay and are a useful and inexpensive addition.) However if you don’t want the accessory shoe, it’s quite easy to remove. Or if desired, we can remove it for you free of charge.

One of the things that makes this camera extra desirable is the top of the line Carl Zeiss lens and Compur Rapid shutter. They are considered by many collectors to be among the best of its era. The lens a fast, sharp Carl Zeiss f2.8/7,5cm (75mm) Tessar (a superb design with four elements in three groups). The Compur-Rapid shutter has been carefully cleaned lubricated and adjusted. It fires smoothly and all speeds (B, T & 1 sec - 1/400th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy. I should mention that the self-timer doesn’t work. (The little button is missing.)

The serial number on the Zeiss lens, 2150251 indicates that it was manufactured in 1937. The lens is exceptionally clean and clear. There are no scratches. There are no separated elements, crystallization or other problems and it is capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and Black & White films.

All in all, an enjoyable classic camera. Perfect for photographers with a historical interest (or WWII reenactors.) Load it with your favorite film and keep it handy for that perfect shot you’ve been looking for. You know the one... the one with the perfect Ansel Adams light breaking through the dark storm clouds that leaves you wishing you had a classic medium format camera with you.


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