Wester, Auto West. NKK Camera Co.
I bought this rangefinder the other day and so far the only information I can find about the Wester rangefinder is a sentence in Camerapedia - "As many such companies, Nishida failed to take the turn from medium-format folders to 35mm cameras at the end of the 1950s. It sold one 35mm model called the Auto West before going bankrupt in January 1958." under the entry for Nishida, the parent company.
I'm beginning to think this is a rare camera, which is luckily in excellent condition, and I'm keen to find out any more information about it.
It's a well made camera, the construction is better than many of the cameras of this era which have poorly pressed, thin steel, top plates, This is a heavy and strong camera.
The shutter is smooth and quiet, with speeds from B, 1 to 500 sec. Apertures on the 45mm Wescon lens go from f16 to f2.8. The closest focus on the ( very stiff ) control is 2 feet. There's an ISO dial from 800 to 10, is ISO 10 still available ? This is just a reminder dial, there's no light meter or battery.
Under the ISO dial is the film wind on lever, and this is a joy. I have never felt such a smooth mechanism on any camera. There's a tiny but clear frame counter on the back of the top plate.
The viewfinder is excellent, very clear with a good yellow patch, out of the few rangefinders I have this is by far the best.
Other than that it's as you would expect from a camera of this period, tripod mount, strap lugs, cold shoe and one nice touch, a shutter lock with a nice knurled twist button on the front.