German Robot camera

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by john_p|12, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. I acquired this 1940's Robot Luftwaffen-Eigentum rangefinder camera and I have a question on how do I adjust the focus on the rangefinder with this camera? I can't seem to find any knobs or dials to bring the view finder into focus. There is a small knurled wheel just about where your right thumb rests on the camera. But turning the wheel doesn't seem to do anything with the focus. It's not that I am going to use the camera but I'm curious if any one knows the answer to adjusting the rangefinder.
  2. I don't see a rangefinder on that camera, only a viewfinder??
  3. Niels, I didn't find a rangefinder either. I'm wondering how this camera was focused. This particular model I believe was used by the German Air Force during combat missions and wonder how the heck they were able to get good results.
  4. Either scale focusing, using a separate rangefinder, or if the photos were taken from the air, everything was probably at, or near infinity.
  5. The viewfinder on this one should always be in focus. So right off the bat, something is wrong.
    You have to figure out what the distance is and set it, as said. At f/3.8 even a 7.5cm lens should have a decent DoF, and more stopped down. The mask on the exterior of the VF is interesting. I don't recall seeing that before.
  6. A very interesting looking Robot. They can have a boxiness about them and this feels like it was using scale focusing. Could you take a close up image of the small wheel that you thought was focus?
  7. JDM Von Weinberg,
    That chrome mask on the VF is something I've never seen before. Looking through the VF with the mask on is like looking through a pinhole but when the mask is removed it is much wider like an old Leica's. The camera is in pretty good shape and my daughter and son-in-law were cleaning out my son-in-laws dads house after his death and came across the camera. He was an officer in the US Army during the second world war and apparently picked the camera up when in Germany at the end of the war. The lens seems very clean and clear with no fungus and the aperture blades are in great shape. The shutter seems to be working on all settings but no way of knowing how accurate they are.
  8. Starvey Goodfellows,
    Here is the best shot I can get of the wheel with my sigma 50mm macro.
  9. Butkus to the rescue--
    That knob seems to be for resetting the film counter, if I read it right at a quick glance.
    The same manual also has depth of field information for the 7.5cm lens.
  10. Since the wheel is located by what looks like the film counter, I'm guessing it's there to enable you to reset the counter, like a Balda. Not sure it would work w/o film, but maybe. I have no idea why the viewfinder has that small silver mask over it, unless that is a tele lens in place of the usual wide angle lens. As others have said, it has no rangefinder, it's a scale focus camera, assuming there are distance markings. If there are no distance markings it must be fixed focus.
  11. If this was used as a handheld camera for photo-reconnaisance sorties, the subject (ie the ground) would effectively be at infinity. There would be no need for a RF to help focus - just set the lens at infinity (indeed it might even be pre-set there in order to ensure that the images were in focus, when the plane returned).
  12. Yes. The mask is to bring the finder down from the normal view to the 75mm tele dimension. I'd bet on that.
  13. I am everything but a Robot expert (but I am not a Robot dummy since I know very well that the Robot is the only german camera with male gender - usually you say "die Leica" or "die Contax" - "die" is the german female article - but "der Robot" - "der" is the male form).
    The lens does not seem to be one of the "consumer grade" lenses for the Robot. It has a focal length of 7,5cm which roughly compares to 100mm for a full 24x36 image, hence the viewfinder mask - the viewfinder originally was designed for a standard lens of 4 cm (40mm). I agree with previous posters, on an "airborne" camera a focussing feature would just be disturbing and so it was probably omitted. All you can do with this camera is to shoot at oo or as close as DOF for a given aperture allows.
  14. Thanks to all who contributed some input on this camera. JDM von Weinberg thanks for the Butkus on line manual. Lots of info. there. And it does make sense that there wouldn't be a focusing ring or rangefinder since this particular camera was made for taking aerial shots and it would be focusing on infinity. I'm strictly a rank amateur when it comes to cameras and photography but it's nice to post a question on this site and learn something. I'm not a collector so I will see if any collectors might be interested in the camera. Thanks again for every ones input.
    John Pender
  15. The Germans used a Robot for the same gun camera use that the US used 16mm Kodak movie cameras and this may be one of them. My guess is that they were fixed focus at what ever distance the wing mounted guns were boresighted at. Probably infinity for the camera. See - .
  16. Hi,
    Interesting camera and a good instructions manual indicated by JDM. It gives you all the indications you're looking for: the metal thing over the viewfinder is a mask for use with longer focal lenses and focusing is done turning the distance ring (if it still has the color marks, you just have to work with the distance and aperture color combinations to evaluate DOF or the hyperfocal distance).
    This way of focusing was quite usual in large consumption market not that long ago and well after integrated rangefinders and reflex cameras were common stuff, and not so sophisticated as this one.
  17. I have Robot II, Robot Vollautomat, Robot Star 50 and Robot Royal model III, but not
    Robot Luftwaffen-Eigentum

    For the outlook, it resembles a Robot II
    Robot II, spring loaded viewfinder camera

    No rangefinder
  18. Only Robot Royal Model II and Robot Royal model III has rangefinder


    Any rangefinder camera must have two windows, in this case one small window at left, one large window at right
  19. Robot Luftwaffen-Eigentum is only a viewfinder camera, not a rangefinder camera, what is special about it is its
    supersized main spring, once wound up, the camera can take up to 48 pictures in quick succession without the
    need to tension the spring.

    For comparision, Robot Royal model III can shoot at most 6 photos on one winding
  20. My other Robot cameras

    1-Rbot Star  II Vollautomat.JPG
    Robot Star Vollautomat

    1-Rbot Star  II Vollautomat.JPG 1-P1030621.JPG
    Robot Star 50

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