Lovely! 1934 CERTO DOLLY (model B), German folding camera. Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
This little camera is a Certo Dolly and it features a very attractive vintage design. It was produced in by Certo Camera Werk in circa 1934, which was was located in Dresden Germany. Prior to WWII Dresden was reputed to rival Paris for its beauty and elegance. Certo also enjoyed a golden reputation and they were well regarded for the quality of their designs, as well as the fit and finish of their finished products. They were especially respected for their medium format and 35mm rangefinder cameras. In its prime, these cameras were high end products and competed well with Voigtlander, Zeiss-Ikon and Welta.
The Certo Dolly was initially introduced in 1932 as a high quality compact camera. A couple of years later it was redesigned and improved to include radial arm focus. This was a nice touch, because in a period when most folding cameras focused the image by using “front cell focusing” (in which the first lens element is screwed in and out) the improved Dolly focused by moving its lens and shutter back and forth as a unit. Focus is controlled by a moving a lever over an ivory colored distance scale. This feature improved optical performance quite a bit, especially when working up close. As a result, when many folding cameras of the period could only close focus to 2 or 1 ½ meters, the Certo Dolly focused all the way down to 0.6 meter. This is pretty impressive and it’s very useful when shooting portraits. That improved version was called the model B, which is what we have on sale here.
The Certo Dolly produces 3x4 cm exposures on 127 roll film. By the way in case you’re wondering, 127 film is still available from specialty film firms on the internet. The 127 format is still quite popular among collectors who actually use their vintage cameras because of the very compact size of the cameras and the generous negative size of the film. In fact many photographers of the 1930’s preferred these cameras above early 35mm cameras for precisely this reason. The larger 3x4 cm negatives produced a superior image when enlarged.
This camera is in fine condition. It’s been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted and it works as it should. The bellows are supple and completely light tight. The quality Compur shutter works smoothly and all speeds (B & 1 sec - 1/300th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the faster ones are clean and snappy. and all speeds are appropriate.
The lens is a fast, sharp 2.8 50mm Schneider Xenar. (A four element lens very similar in design and performance as the Zeiss Tessar.) The glass is very clean, however there are numerous fine cleaning marks. It’s capable of producing nice photos but we recommend keeping the sun behind you for best folderperformance. (We always recommend this technique with prewar lenses.)
All in all an attractive, unusual vintage camera and fun to use, if you’re so inclined.