Rare! Near Mint 1937 CERTO Super Sport Dolly with Coupled rangefinder, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
This is a very rare Certo Super Sport Dolly produced in circa 1937 by the Certo Camera Works which was located in Dresden Germany. Prior to its destruction in during WWII, Dresden the was called the Florence of the north. It was considered one of Europe’s most beautiful and elegant cities. This camera had the elegance to match Dresden. It was an expensive, high spec camera that made common folding cameras of its era pale in comparison. It’s highly sought after by collectors in the know and clean working examples are few and far between.
This is a medium format camera equipped with a coupled rangefinder. It uses 120 roll film. They were designed as a dual format camera. This one is currently set up for 6x6 (It can also shoot 6x4.5 images if you have the correct reduction mask in your collection.)
This rangefinder camera was the best and final iteration of the SS Dolly line and such it features a very solid die cast alloy body wrapped in very lovely, fine quality leather. (The earlier versions had a folded sheet metal construction.) It also featured a lens and shutter that move together as a unit when focusing. This provides better optical performance, especially up close, than the more common “front cell focus” in which only the front element is turned in or out. I should also mention that this camera came from the factory fitted with an archaic optical exposure meter. (The long narrow “window” visible on the top of the camera.)
In addition to all of the above, because the camera on this listing was also the best and most expensive model, it also featured two wind knobs, which allowed you to rewind the film mid roll and exchange it for a different film type. It also featured a special back that accepted glass plate holders if desired for critical photography. (Glass plates have excellent film flatness and are still in use today for astrophotography.) Because of the elaborate build quality and cost of manufacture, this camera was only produced in limited numbers. It was not produced after the war due to widespread material shortages and lack of skilled labor.
This Super Sport Dolly rangefinder camera in superb condition has been carefully serviced. The coupled rangefinder makes focusing quick and easy. The quality Compur shutter has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The shutter works smoothly and all speeds (B, T & 1 sec - 1/250th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along nicely and the fast speeds are clean and snappy. That said, the self-timer doesn’t work, so if you’re interested in selfies you’ll have to look elsewhere.
The lens is a sharp, fast Carl Zeiss f2.8/7,5cm (75mm) Tessar. This was the top-of-the-line lens for both this camera and its era. Many collectors and users consider it as the very best lens available for this format in the 1930’s. The serial number on this lens, indicates that it was manufactured in 1937. The lens is exceptionally clean and clear and looks virtually new. There are no scratches or cleaning marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable classic camera. Perfect for photographers with a historical interest. Load it with your favorite film and keep it handy for that perfect shot you’ve been looking for. You know the one... the one with the perfect Ansel Adams light breaking through the dark storm clouds that leaves you wishing you had a classic medium format camera with you.