The Ultimate Portable LF cameras . . . . . . .

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by Ian Grant, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    No not a Littleman . . . :smile: My 9x12cm Patent Etui's arrived in the UK a few days before me.

    Wow, what wonderful engineering, small, light, and they fit a pocket, well a big pocket, but they are a fraction of the size weight of their European competitors. Compared to a Orion Werks at 1245gms the Etui weighs 815 gms and is slimmer and more portable.
    [​IMG]

    The silky smooth mechanism allows the camera to fold into it's case - Etui in German -with no room to spare.
    [​IMG]

    Once open the camera is quick to set up and use.
    [​IMG]

    The 9x12cm format is only slightly smaller than 5"x4" (10.1x12.7cm) but in comparison to a Speed or Crown Graphic (2.4 kg) the Patent Etui is a third of the weight and about a 1/5th of the size when folded.

    The Tessar lens serial no indicates it was made around 1927, the Compur shutter has a 5 figure serial number which is odd, and has paper aperture blades.

    The second Etui was described as "Korpus" with no lens or back, it had obviously been opened with a can opener, however it tapped back into shape with ease and it's now hard to spot any damage. This camera is to be a user. I had hoped to fit a Eurynar but its Compur shutter is much to large, so I'm back to finding a small compact coated 135mm lens that will fit :D
    [​IMG]

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2008
  2. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Fantastic little things these, Ian! Never knew such compact LF camera's were made. Must be fun to start using them, and the baffled faces of the people surrounding you when you open your "cigar-box", only to reveal a camera! :D
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Marco, the story of the manufacturers is also very interesting. They went on to make medium format SLR's in the 30's but as Jews weren't safe in Nazi Germany. Ironically the company was swapped with a US citizen of German origin, Charles Noble, in 1938, and the new owner and his son were later imprisoned in the former Nazi camp, Buchenwald, by the Communists after the war. They regained the factory after the fall of the Berlin wall and it still makes Noblex cameras today.

    The company switched to 35mm cameras in 1939 making the highly innovative Praktina's and later the Praktisix, in the 60's they merged with the East German part of Contax to form Pentacon.

    Ian
     
  4. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    I love my 9x12 Patent Etui with the dial rim Tessar but it is hard to find the film holders; I only have three original ones. Film supply in 9x12 is limited too.

    I would like to build a 4x5 version that would open out horizontally but still be as slim as possible.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Frank, 9x12 film is readily available in Europe. Ilford, Foma and EFKE all sell 9x12 film it's a European standard, modern Universal 9x12 dark-slides (film holders) have the same outside dimensions as 5x4's.

    9x12 plate holders are very common and can easily be adapted for film. What surprised me was the Patent Etui takes the most type/

    Ian
     
  6. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Nice little snippet of history. Thanks for posting.
     
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Fantastic cameras!

    Zone focus or ground glass??
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Either. But I'm quite happy to use Zone focussing as I already do the same regularly with a 6x17 Gaoersi panoramic camera with no problems.

    Ian
     
  9. bnstein

    bnstein Member

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    Agree: I have three now. Have only used one with 6x9 roll film holder, and was so impressed with it as a travel camera that I acquired the other two. One is a beater, and I am thinking of some way to make a 4x5 holder for it, although having read the post above I may try 9x12 film in the 2 holders I have.
    Of note one comes fitted with a 150 lens of the right vintage. Havent had any time to look at it closely but it looks much the same as the others. Were there different models, or has this one just had a new lens bolted on?
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The cameras were made in two sizes, the 9x12cm, and the 6.5 x9cm. Two models of the 9x12 were sold one with a 135mm f4.5 Tessar, the other with a 150mm f4.5 Tessar, these were fitted in dial-set Compur shutters until the release of the rimset Compur's in 1931. The 6.5x9 cameras had either a 105mm or a 120mm Tessar in a Compur, however two budget triplet lenses the f4.5 & f6.3 105mm Meyer Gorlitz Anastigmatic Trioplan were also available, the f4.5 in a Compur shutter and the f6.3 in a 3 speed Vario shutter.

    Ian
     
  11. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Nice looking camera, good film size & beautiful design. Looks like something Apple would have made if they were doing cameras in the 1920s.
    I'm presuming that it can take roll film back as well as glass neg holders & cut film holders?
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes the cameras will take a Rollex 6x9 back, I have a couple, there were also film pack holders available as well. A previous owner has marked the glass for 6x9. :D

    Ian
     
  13. Anastigmatic

    Anastigmatic Member

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    I am not sure if I have ever posted before..and really I only just recently noticed this plate camera section, which was nice to find seeing how I have a few myself. So I hope you dont mind my adding to your converstaion.
    Its a lovely camera Ian .

    I am sure you also know they were also made with Red, Blue, Grey and Brown leather as well although not at all common in those colours. I do believe the 9x12 were sold with a wide variety of lens shutter combinations Helioplan, Unofocal, Trioplan, Triotar, Isconar, Xenar and the Tessar's you mentioned..and i am sure a few more other basic lens also. also they were sold with Vario, Isbor, the compur's you mention as well as the compur rapid apparently (no doubt in the late years, although i havnt noticed one).
     
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  15. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    I have the 6x9 version I bought in Prague in the late 90's. They are beautiful little cameras, though I can't remember ever using it. Maybe its about time to dust it off.
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's actually your first post, so welcome to APUG.

    Yes there were a wide variety of similar 9x12 cameras, some sharing common parts, made mostly in Germany, and it was common for manufacturers to offer models with a variety of lenses & shutters. The best shutters were the Compur's and the less common Ibsor which is self cocking and very similar to the later Press Prontors.

    One problem today is that a few 9x12's have had the lens & shutter replaced, so for instance you can find a Zeiss Ikon with a Rodenstock Eurynar lens, Zeiss never fitted competitors lenses to their cameras.

    However the Etui's are quite unique due to their size & design, maybe I'll buy a 6.5x9 like Patrick's one day. But I don't think the smaller version has the same advantages over it's competitors as it needs a bulky roll-film back compared to other roll fim 6x9 cameras of the same era.

    Ian
     
  17. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    Ian you just reminded me of why I haven't used it. With the roll film back it is double the size. It is just easier to use one of my Bessas.

    By the way, I love the Eurynar as well. I picked up an uncoated 135mm f.3.5 a couple of years ago. It is a beautiful lens
     
  18. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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    Ian,
    Am I reading you correctly in that I could use a 4x5 holder on a 9x12cm camera? If so, where do I sign up for less weight in backpack? My Gowland 4x5 monorail is about 2.1 pounds (just shy of a kilogram).
    Chris
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2008
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You can use 9x12 or 5x4 Double dar-kslides on any modern 9x12 or 5x4 camera as the outside dimensions & film plane register are identical.

    Unfortunately the pre-War 9x12's are quite different, there's not even a standard plate holder, I have at least 5 different types which aren't totally interchangeable some are but others not at all :D

    Ian
     
  20. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    True, but I don't live there. I do use EFKE since a supplier over here stocks it.

    Over here they are hard to find; I spent a year buying as many as I could. The average cost was close to $8 each, and as you know, it only holds one sheet of film.
     
  21. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    Sorry, but this won't work on these old plate cameras.

    BTW: Most of them only had front rise and shift but no other movements. If you are happy with that, you can still buy a 9x12 for a reasonable amount. Just make sure you buy one with filmholders. There were few standards back then and many were different. They really are small compared to even a Gowland or a Speed Graphic.
     
  22. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Looks like a great camera, I'd love to see the back, possibly with a holder in it. Great pictures of what appears to be a fantastic travel camera.

    Curt
     
  23. Anastigmatic

    Anastigmatic Member

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    Hi Ian, thanks for the welcome (was my first post-i didnt realise)

    Sorry, I probably should of made myself a bit clearer but I was trying to say that the Etui 9x12 (depending on its year of manufacture) was offered with all those different lenses (from a catologue). No doubt some lens/shutter combinations sold in greater numbers than others though, as a result some of those lens/shutter combo's may not be seen commonly.

    I agree as well with the 6.5x9 size, cute little cameras (all the various brands) and with a roll film adaptor quite usable (can still get sheet film for that size too of course). and if its a double extension model camera then they have an advantage or two (almost macro type pictures can be obtained). however I too find in most instances I would rather just use a pre-war 6x9 roll film camera for ease of use and size.

    On the roll film adaptor's; I have Rada roll film backs for 9x12 and 6.5x9 camera, but I find I cant fit the smaller Rada back onto metal bodied 6.5x9 pre-war folding plate camera. Timber/wood (holtz) camera's will fit the rada back, because the slot on the camera back flexes the small amount needed. Has anyone had/got both a rollex (i think thats the brand) and a Rada in the smaller size to compare the flange (?) thickness? (the thin edge of the roll film back that slides into the camera) Is the rolex thinner?
     
  24. JPD

    JPD Member

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    That makes the Patent Etuis fun to collect. I saw a 6,5x9 with a Plaubel Supracomar 3,9/10cm on german eBay recently.
     
  25. Anastigmatic

    Anastigmatic Member

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    Indeed JPD! fun to collect and use! if not just to see the difference between the lenses and what they are best suited for. The ZW Etuis are not alone with these offerings of different lenses though, many of the other makers of plate cameras had simular offerings with their cameras (i have enjoyed collecting and using my own favourite brand with a variety of lenses, but i dont want to impose them on Ian's thread), with perhaps Voigtlander and as Ian mentioned the Zeiss brand having good but more limited choices of lens selections, sticking to their own lens offerings of course.

    actually there was a very nice brown Etuis just sold in the UK for a very reasonable price with film holders and extras, albeit a 6.5x9 version with tessar. I considered bidding myself but ....lol where does it end hehe
     
  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    So far I've only ever come across one Patent Etui not fitted with a Tessar or the cheaper Meyer Trioplan on a few 6.5x9's. Can you scan the catalogue page showing the different lenses available.

    One major problem with the 9x12 Etui is the overall size of the lens is critical or the case won't close :D

    Curt, I'll take some photo's of the back later today.

    Ian