Classic Camera Question: Years of manufacture for the Mess-Baldix and the Hapo 66-E?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by bueh, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. I'm writing a little article on these two cameras. I can't find
    reliable, non-contradictory information about when the Balda
    Mess-Baldix (a Baldix with an uncoupled rangefinder) and it's
    rebranded version, the Photo-Porst Hapo 66-E (also with an uncoupled
    rangefinder) were manufactured.<br>
    On various websites I found that the Mess-Baldix was manufactured only
    in 1954 or from 1952-1955, and that the Hapo 66E was manufactured at
    least from 1953-1961. A little bit contradictory, as I said. Please
    help me out of my confusion.
  2. Hi, Bueh Funny thing, we were just commenting on another post about the complexities of Balda identification! Anyway, for what it's worth, my 2001 McK's has the Mess-Baldix as c. 1954, and my Kadlubek's has it (ie, all 5 lens/shutter variants) also as 1954. The first reference I can find to it in my British BJP Almanacs is in the 1955 edition, which also suggests 1954 when you consider these Almanacs were prepared for printing in October of the previous year.

    QED, I think we can assume that 1954 must be correct.

    The 1952-55 dating that you've seen on the Net, may be due to confusion with the earlier non-RF Baldix which McK's has as c. 1952 and KK's as 1953.

    Regarding the Porst Hapo 66E variant of the Mess-Baldix, McK's has it as c. 1955, whereas KK's has it from 1953. Although I generally go with KK's when it comes to disputes with McK's on dating, etc, of German cameras, in this case I don't. It hardly seems feasable that a variant like the Hapo 66E could be produced 2 years before the original Mess-Baldix model, does it? The McK's date of 1955 seems much more logical, reflecting a year's passing and plenty of time for price haggling, contracts to be signed between Balda and Porst and the ink to dry.

    So, "Dr Watson", it would appear that 1954 is the date for the M-B and 1955 for its Porst clone, the Hapo 66E. LOL From Sherlock Naylor ..... !!!
  3. Great, Sherlock! Say, have you any idea how long the Hapo 66-E was in production? I found an online copy a Photo-Ports mail-order catalogue from 1961 (in German) where this camera "long-seller" was still offered.
  4. Hi, Bueh Sorry, can't help you regarding any production/sales data for the Hapo 66-E variant of the Mess-Baldix. I suspect Photo-Porst's mandate with Balda would have restricted sales to the then W. Germany only, leaving Balda the rest of the world as their sales oyster. This sort of situation is not unusual, as I believe Sears in the US and Dixon's in the UK had the same sort of deal with the various manufacturers that made rebadged Tower and Prinz cameras for them.

    However, I have dug up a couple more possibly interesting snippets for you regarding the Mess-Baldix.

    Firstly, it seems that because of the language interpretation of just what "Mess" means in English, compared to "auf deutsch" - ie, an untidy pile, it was sold in English-speaking countries as just the "Rangefinder Baldix".

    Secondly, I have found a British "Amateur Photographer" magazine sales supplement dated 30th June 1954, titled the "1954 Summer Camera Guide". It's a very comprehensive listing , including small pix, of all the cameras available then in the UK, with prices. You'll be glad to hear the "Rangefinder Baldix" is included! So that confirms it was available in early rather than late 1954, wouldn't you think, allowing for printing lead-times, etc? There are 4 separate models listed at prices ranging from f4.5 Baltar with Pronto shutter at GBP19-12-6d, to GBP28-14-0d for the f2.9 Baltar with Prontor-SV. However, I noticed that the fifth version listed for sale in Germany in KK's, ie the f4.5 Rigonar with Vario shutter, is not included. Only my intuition, but I suspect it was not imported because it was the "Bargain Basement" version of the Mess-Baldix and would have competed against local products such as the Rangefinder Agifold. Hope this is of some help! LOL - PN
  5. And I thought that today were fast times! How can a camera model only be manufactured for one year and then replaced by the next?<p>I have the Mess-Baldix with the, as they say, "surprisingly good" three-element Enna Ennagon -- a common combination. Which lens for that camera had four elements? The Hapo 66-E only had the three-element Haponar and no other lens, right? [Oh no, I just bent the small erecting thingie on the outer front on my Hapo!...]

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