Tell me about this camera...

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by andy_collins|1, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. On the back of the camera it says "Thowe" and the front of the camera says "F. Deckel-Munchen, Compur", and the lens says "Meyer Gorlitz Anastigmat Trioplan 1:4.5. Let me be the first to say that I'm completely and utterly ignorant when it comes to folding cameras, aside from the smaller, pocket types like the Retinas and Vitos. I have a number of folding cameras that look nice to display, but most seem to be in relatively poor shape, specifically with regard to leaky bellows. This one looks to be in poor cosmetic condition, although the shutter works pretty well aside from being slow on the lower speeds, and the bellows seems to actually be free of light leaks. It looks like it would've taken film plates, but again, I'm not sure. Has anyone used a camera like this that can tell me a little about it? Would it have been a nice camera in its day? When would 'its day' have been? I would love to know more about this camera and others comparable to it.
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  2. It's a plate camera, probably 6.5x9.5cm (to judge from the 13.5cm focal length), almost certainly made in Germany, and dates from the late '30s (I believe the rim-set Compur shutter arrived around 1936 or so.) I have a somewhat similar Voigtlander Vag, which I use every now and then with a 120 rollfilm back. It was a quite decent camera in the day, with a fast lens in a good shutter and the usual movements for this format. Like the Vag, the Avus, and similar plate cameras, it would have been pretty outdated once WWII ended, and it's not at all uncommon to find the lenses and shutters from these 1930s cameras on 1950s-era 2-1/4x3-1/4 press cameras. While there were sheet-film backs compatible with most of the old plate cameras, few if any had spring backs, which are vastly more convenient than the older remove-the-ground-glass-entirely method...
     
  3. It's a 9x12 cm camera, which would take plates or cut film (depending on the back). These were almost a generic design, produced by dozens of different manufacturers, from Agfa to Zeiss, differing only in details and precision of construction. They were the pre-WW2 European press camera answer to American Speed Graphics.<P>Can you provide more pictures, and isn't that a Logo on the front door, just under the front standard?
     
  4. 9x12. The 6x9s had 105mm lenses. Could take roll film or sheet film or plates.

    Yours also has adjustments for the front -- rise and shift. "Rise" elevates the lens, "shift" moves it side to side. Those are the knobs at the top and bottom-side of the front piece that supports the lens.

    If you use the adjustments, just be sure to "zero" them out before closing the camera; there should be some guide marks for that purpose.

    Roll film for that size camera would be hard, if not impossible, to find these days. But sometimes you can come across an old 6x9 slide-in back that will do the job. But some of those are in decrepit condition, and take some work to get serviceable.

    Nice camera!
     
  5. Hi Andy! Congratulations! This camera is a very rare model from the small company 'Thowe Camerawerk' in Freital, Saxony in Germany. The camera works were founded in 1914 an closed down in 1932. It seems that yours is one of the last produced models due to the new Compur shutter (produced from 1930) and the quite fast lens. I think it was (and is) a fine 'upper middle-class' plate camera taking pictures on film plates 9x12 cm. The lens is knows as a quite good triplet, some say one of the best. In the small town Freital other famous companies like Welta and Woldemar Beier were located. Hope I could help. Regards, Peter.
     
  6. Wow, I had no idea this camera would be this interesting! Here's a shot of it from the back...
     
  7. And another, different angle...
     
  8. And finally, one from the side...sorry, I don't know how to put them all together in one post. I think it's a nice looking camera, a bit worse for the wear, but still good looking. Aside from the difficulty in getting film (or plates), could this one be made to work? It would be a great experience to learn how to use it, but if not, then I'll just enjoy having it and learning more about it.
     
  9. Congrats on a great looking camera.
     
  10. I've salvaged a 135mm Rodenstock in one of these old compurs from an old 9x12 Zeca, and now use it with my 4x5. The movements are limited somewhat, but it is a fine lens and performs very well.
     
  11. Nice camera. I wish my Zeiss Maximar had that back on it.
     
  12. Andy- there should be a logo on the handle, unless it's been rubbed off.
     
  13. Sorry, Ralf. No logo, just some stitching.
     

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