Superb! 1937 Certo Dollina, 35mm coupled rangefinder camera, CLA’d
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
This is an exceptionally fine and somewhat difficult to find Certo Dollina rangefinder produced by Certo in Dresden Germany in circa 1937. 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 film now-a-days. The Certo Dollina was capable of producing excellent results and folded to a convenient size. The nice thing about this 80 year old camera is that it is still very usable and very enjoyable today because it accepts common 35mm film.
During WWII, combatants and correspondents on both sides of the conflict used the Super Dollina. As result they were used intensively and as a result many examples were lost, damaged or worn out. This example is one of the best I’ve ever seen and it’s obvious that it was used very carefully.
A nice feature is the coupled rangefinder which makes focusing quick and easy. The rangefinder focus is controlled by the focus knob place right on top of the camera. It’s easy to use 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 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 today with collectors, photographers & WWII reenactors. They’re capable of producing lovely photos and offer an interesting affordable alternative to the 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 an excellent Steinheil Cassar 2.8/50mm. This lens has three elements in three groups. It’s based on the classic Cooke triplet and it produces a lovely rendering combined with an attractive rounded background bokeh. The lens is clean and clear and looks virtually like new. No scratches, no cleaning marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color & B&W films.
All in all, a very enjoyable vintage camera. It’s the perfect camera for someone with an interest in historical photography or a WWII reenactor. Load it with your favorite film and I guarantee you’ll have fun sharing your world with this 80 year old veteran.