SUPERB! 1937 Certo Dollina II, 35mm coupled rangefinder camera, CLA’d
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
In this auction we have the somewhat difficult to find Certo Dollina II produced by Certo in Dresden Germany in 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 II was capable of producing excellent results and folded to a convenient size. The nice thing about this 78 year old camera is that it is still usable 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 and the ones that survived often look a bit worse for wear and tear. It appears that this particular example was safely hidden away from the conflicts or possibly used with a considerable amount of care.
A nice feature is the 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 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 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 - 1/500th) 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 Schneider 2.8/50mm Xenar, a four element lens very similar in design and performance as a Zeiss Tessar. The serial number of the lens dates it to 1937. This lens is well respected for its excellent performance and lovely rendition. (I enjoy using classic cameras and I’ve found that the Xenar produces photos that are nearly identical to the 50mm Leitz Elmar on my Leica II.) The lens is clean and clear. No scratches, just the usual cleaning marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color & B&W films. (As with all prewar lenses, we recommend keeping the sun behind you for best performance)
All in all, a very enjoyable classic camera. It’s the perfect camera for someone with an interest in historical photography or a WWII reenactor. Load it with your favorite film, take it outside and have some fun with it.