Excellent! 1938 35mm Certo Super Dollina 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 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 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 somewhat hard to find Certo Super Dollina camera produced by “Certo Camera Werk” in Dresden, Germany between 1935-39. It was a quality camera and it helped establish the popularity of the then new “miniature” 35mm format. The nice thing about this 80 year old camera is that you can still use it because it uses normal 35mm film.The lens on this camera is a six element Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 2.0/5cm (50mm) lens. It’s serial number dates this camera to circa 1938.
In the 1930’s, when the 35mm format was brand new and referred to as the “kleinbild” or miniature format, there were only a very limited number of fast 35mm lenses available to the public. The Xenon was one of these lenses. It was expensive and competed well against the Leitz Summar and the Zeiss Sonnar. (The general consensus among collectors is that the Schneider Xenon outperforms the Leitz Summar and almost equals the Zeiss Sonnar.) All of these lenses work well with modern color and B&W films.
Because of the high price, which put it out of reach of many would be owners, there weren’t a lot of Certo Super Dollina produced with this lens. Additionally the ones that were produced were often used very intensely during WWII. Many cameras were lost or simply worn out. As a result it can be difficult to find a good, clean, working example.
This camera 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 controls a distance scale near the rewind knob and if desired it can also be used to pre-focus the camera whenever you like, 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.
It’s also a nice looking cameras with real leather covering, 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. 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 fine Xenon 2.0/5cm (50mm) lens lens is clean and clear and in good shape for its age however there are unavoidable cleaning marks on the front element. As with all prewar lenses, you should keep you back to the sun for best performance.
All in all, a lovely, freshly serviced classic camera that’s ready to use. The perfect gift for people with a historic interest in photography.