Another Frustrating Futura

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by peter_naylor|1, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. My love/hate relationship with Futuras from Freiburg continues! I've now acquired a Futura-P on Fleabay Oz, all working and in very nice collectable condition. It even came with an original Futura lenshood and UV filter, which none of my other Futuras have. However, I'm a bit mystified about its F2 Evar lens being 'kosher' for the Futura-P, which was the Futura 'economy' model with a Prontor-SV shutter rather than the Compur Rapid/Synchro Compur shutters that the more upwardly mobile Futura models had. McK's suggests that the 'normal' lens for the 'P' model was either a Futar F3.5 triplet made by Futurawerk itself, or a Schneider Xenar F2.8 that was 'bought in'.
    So, how did my latest Futura acquisition get to sport an F2 Evar? Two possibilities immediately come to mind, one being that the original purchaser back in 54 or thereabouts had forked out some extra dosh to get the faster F2 Evar, or that some time later its owner had decided he wanted some faster glass and replaced the original Futar or Xenar with the Evar. The physical change-over is not any sort of rocket science, since all Futuras have interchangeable lenses via a unique thread mount.
    Being a bit of a historical perfectionist, I like to keep my cameras as original as possible. So if anybody out there has got a Futura-P IB, or sales brochure or similar, I'd dearly love to know if the only lenses mentioned are indeed the F3.5 Futar and F2.8 Xenar. However, if there's a sort of escape clause of the 'Other Lenses Can Be Fitted At Extra Cost' variety, then I guess the F2 Evar can remain in situ. Photo below of the nice-looking item in question, which is now #5 in my Futura collection.
    (Pete In Now Officially Autumnal Perth)
  2. Peter,
    Interesting camera. I have seen small B&W pictures of them but nothing in the flesh.
    I did find a listing in the 1953 Pop Photography Directory issue. The Futura P models lists the same two lenses you have mentioned. I will see if I can find some further info.
  3. I really like the look of the badge! Having seen or heard of this particular brand it is always exciting to see something new. I think you should take a walk around your neighbourhood with this camera and show us the results!
  4. Marc, many thanks for doing all that detective work and posting those advert scans from your 54 Popular Photography magazine. The advert for the Futura-P is just what I need, as it verifies what McK's says about the only two standard lenses for it being the F3.5 Futar and the F2.8 Xenar. Therefore, I have to concede that the F2 Evar on my camera wasn't a genuine fiitment option.
    However, just by coincidence I've won meself another Futura on Fleabay Oz last week. It's a Futura Standard with Compur-Rapid shutter, and guess what? It appears from the seller's pic to have an F2.8 Xenar fitted! So if that turns out to be indeed the case when it arrives (Oz Post permitting) some time next week, my plan is to swap the two lenses over giving me a Futura-P with F2.8 Xenar, and a Futura Standard with F2 Evar. If only all classic camera collecting was that simple, eh?
    Starvy, I have to be honest and admit that I haven't actually used a 35mm film camera for over two years. It's just so simple using a digital camera these days, what with computer software, emailing convenience and such. Blasphemy I know, but when you consider there are now no facilities for developing 35mm film locally any longer, meaning a 7-day wait for Kodak Perth to do the job via our local chemist's shop, it's just not practical any more. I don't think this is a unique situation to Perth, either.
    Now regarding that attractive 'Futura' badge, it's interesting that there were two variations on a theme for the Futura-P and Standard, according to McK's. The one with the lettering like mine seems to the more common variety, but there's also one with a more tradititional Germanic-type italic script, which I find quite attractive. Hard to say just why the Futura-Werk offered the two styles, because the obvious reason that the italic script version would have been on European Continental market cameras and the plainer lettered version on export market models, doesn't seem to wash. I've seen both types here in Australia, Germany, Britain and the USA. Unfortunately information on Futura history on the Net is woefully small, which come ot think of it is why I started this post. There really needs to be a Futura Owners/Users Website, and if my computer expertise were better I'd have a go myself. Ah, well, maybe I'll just have to go the Poor Man's Website route and start a Yahoo Group. (Pete In Perth)
  5. An interesting breed I know very little about...Thanks for the education, Pete!
  6. Here is a product announcement in the Aug, 1952 Modern Photography magazine.
  7. Here is an ad in the Sept. 1952 Modern Photography magazine.
  8. Here is an ad in the Dec. 1952 Modern Photography magazine.
  9. I was surprised how much information I could find on this camera.
    Here is a product announcement in the Feb. 1953 Modern Photography magazine.
  10. This is from a Lens Guide article in the Jul 1953 Modern Photography magazine.
  11. This is from the 1955 Photography Trade News product listing.
  12. I also found a listing in Kadlubek's Lens Catalog if you need any further information on the lenses.
  13. Marc, many more thanks for all those additional advert and article scans. You've posted more useful Futura data here than I've ever been able to find trolling through Google and the like. For example, I now know for certain that my F2 Evar lens wasn't correct for the Futura-P model, but I've also found out that the F2.8 Xenar option wasn't only for the Futura-P. It was also an option for the Futura Standard, which is a bit strange seeing Futura's own very similar F2.8 4-element Elor was also available at $127.95 compared to $139.45 for the Schneider Xenar. That's well over ten bucks more, but for only another five bucks you could get the F2 Evar option. You'd suspect nobody would have gone the Xenar route at that price, but clearly some did because that's the lens I reckon is on the Futura Standard that's on its way to me .....
    Thanks for the offer of the Kadlubek's Lens Guide entry for Futuras, but I've already got the book myself. Do you know, I think we've now almost got the makings for a Yahoo Futura Group. (Pete In Perth)
  14. Rick, I don't think the Australasian Futura importers were as conscientous as the US and UK importers regarding marketing, advertising and the like. My first two Futuras came via a friend in the UK and when I took No 1 along to a WA Camera Collectors Society meeting for the 'show-and-tell', most of the guys admittted they'd never seen one before.
    This is in contrast to the situation with the similar spec'd Diax 35mm range, which was marketed very capably by the Australasian importers, Salmon & Gardner of Sydney. We even got a unique model, the Diax Standard. Diax guru Peter Geisler reckons Australasia was the #1 export market for Diaxes, which is surprising when you consider our comparatively small populations compared to North America and the UK, for example. I guess this all goes to prove that it's no good just designing and manufacturing a quality product - you also have to know how to sell it!
  15. Starvy - here's a blow-up of the other type of Futura name-plate sometimes seen on the Futura-P. (Pete N)
  16. Peter,
    I did find some additional information on the Futura III S.
    The first item is a listing in the 1956 Popular Photography Directory. They say that the prices are current as of Feb 15, 1956.
  17. Here is an ad from University Camera in Modern Photography on March 1956.
  18. Here is an ad from University Camera in Modern Photography on July 1956.
    The prices have dropped a bit. Not to worry. This is normal.
  19. Here is an ad from University Camera in Modern Photography on October 1956.
    Now we can worry. The prices are in a free fall.
  20. Here is an ad from University Camera in Popular Photography on November 1956.
    The future doesn't look bright especially for a camera whose motto is:
    "Most likely to succeed"
  21. Marc - many thanks yet again for digging out those old adverts, scanning and posting. They are historically important for us Futura afficianados because they show how cheaply the company's stuff was being dumped later in 56, when the hounds were a-baying. (PN)

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