Taron Unique 35mm rangefinder-camera

This is the second Taron rangefinder camera I have recently bought and is similar to the Taron Vr  I posted about a couple of weeks ago. Because of some interesting accessories, this is a more extensive system that the Vr however.

My Camera

As I described in my other post on the Taron Vr, I’d not heard of the Taron make before I saw this camera in an eBay auction a couple of weeks ago. It was in a complete rangefinder set with the camera, a couple of Taron flash units, a pair of add on adapter lenses offering wide angle and telephoto options and an external viewfinder which slides into the accessory socket. The whole set cost me about £15 and arrived a few days after the auction.

In the original advert the camera was described a faulty because the shutter wasn’t working, and sure enough when I first received it the shutter was completely locked shut. Also the frame advance lever was very stiff, particularly on the return stroke. Initially I didn’t have a lot of time to look at the camera and put it to one side, and by the time I got to look at it I had already fixed the shutter on the Taron Vr, so I guessed this camera would be fixed in the same way and that proved to be the case. After I’d removed the front of the lens and applied a small amount of lighter fuel to the aperture blades they sprang into life and have been fine since I’ve given them a clean. The frame advance lever is a little stiff still, but has loosened up a lot over the last couple of weeks by being used a few times every day.

Cosmetically the camera is pretty clean, and all the other controls seem to work as expected. I can’t find any dings or dents, so I suspect the camera was looked after while in use, and then probably just stored in a cupboard for the last few years.

I was interested to look at the add on lenses which came with this kit. They were packaged in a cylindrical leather case with the external viewfinder fitted between them. Both lenses screw onto the thread on the end of the camera’s lens and have focus scales marked on them to show how they effect the focus. In fact, setting focus with one of the add on lenses must have been a quite complex procedure. You first need to find the distance from the camera to the subject, then you need to look at the calibration scale on the lens and find what the camera needs to be focused to to be correct for that distance, and set that on the distance scale. We are so used to seeing the image ‘through the lens’ these days (either optically or electronically) that we forget how complex some of this stuff must have been.

Taron Unique 35mm rangefinder.

The camera is very similar in specification to the Taron Vr I got at about the same time, and probably similar in performance. The only real difference is that this camera has a minimum shutter speed of 1/300th sec whereas the Vr was 1/500th, and there is no X/FP sync switch on this camera.

I think the black trim on the top gives the camera a smarter appearance, but that’s just a matter of personal opinion.

  • Taron Unique 35mm rangefinder camera
  • Shutter speed 1/300 to 1sec + B
  • Citizen P shutter
  • Non reset frame counter on top of camera
  • Viewfinder with composition framing lines
  • X flash sync socket on lens
  • 45mm f/2.8 Taronar FC coated lens
  • Cold accessory shoe
  • Mechanical self timer approx. 10 sec
  • Film speed reminder
  • 8 blade aperture
  • Two add on lenses – wide angle and telephoto
  • External viewer for wide angle lens
  • Ser No: 18138


Categories: Photography, Reviews, Taron, Vintage

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. I can remember that there was a lot of prejudice against these cameras because they came out of the USSR. During the Cold War a lot of people didn’t want to believe that anything worthwhile could be made by the Communists. I think the main problem they had was quality control. Mostly they didn’t have any. They sold pretty much everything that came out of the factory. My experience has been that their designs were pretty good. And some of the stuff they made like lenses are excellent when you get a good copy.

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