1938 Certo Super Dollina, 35mm coupled rangefinder camera with case, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
In this auction we have the somewhat hard to find Certo Super Dollina introduced by Certo in Germany in 1938. It was an expensive, 35mm camera and it was one of several cameras that helped increase the popularity of the then new “miniature” or “Kine” format. We of course refer to this as 35mm now-a-days. The Super Dollina featured a coupled rangefinder and folded to a convenient size. During WWII, many combatants and correspondents used the Super Dollina. Naturally the cameras that managed to survive the war, saw even more use in the decades that followed it. As a result, clean fully functional prewar Super Dollinas can be hard to find.
As I mentioned previously, this camera features a coupled rangefinder which makes focusing quick and easy. The rangefinder focus is controlled by the oddly placed focus knob on top of the cameras. It’s easy to use with your right hand and it moves the lens and shutter together as a unit when focusing. This provides better lens performance (especially up close) than the more common “front cell focus” in which only the front element is turned in or out. Additionally there is a focus scale on top of the camera (next to the rewind knob) which indicates the selected distance. It can also be used to preselect a desired distance, so that when you open the camera it the lens automatically moves to that setting.
Popular with people who’re familiar with them (collectors, photographers & WWII reenactors) they’re capable of excellent performance and offer an interesting alternative to the usual Leica and Contax cameras of that era. Personally I like the unusual design of the Super Dollina as well as the finely machined knobs and the intricate looking depth of field chart on the back of the camera.
The camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The quality Compur shutter works smoothly and all speeds (B, T & 1 sec - 1/300th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along nicely and the fast speeds are clean and snappy. The rangefinder works and the bellows are supple and completely light tight.
The lens is a relatively fast 2.9/50mm Steinheil Cassar, a classic design based on the Cooke triplet with three lens elements in three groups. The glass is clean and clear. There are no scratches, just a few light cleaning wisps. (But you’ll need a magnifier to see them.) There are no separated elements, crystallization or other problems and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
All in all, an interesting and enjoyable vintage camera. Load it with your favorite 35mm film and take it out and about for a good time.