The latest addition to my vintage camera collection is this 35mm, interchangeable lens, rangefinder camera made by Braun in Germany in about 1956.
The pictures in this gallery can also be viewed full sized here
I found this camera looking pretty lonely on eBay and, feeling sorry for it, I made a bid and bought it for about £8. It was sold without any guarantee that it would work and I found when I received it that it was in a fairly dirty condition with quite a bit of staining on the lens mount and around the lens focus and aperture rings. I also found that the actual rangefinder is very dim, so it’s really hard to focus because in anything other than really bright light the second image is invisible.
I managed to get quite a bit of the dirt off the body and lens with a few cotton buds and a bit of moisture and found that the removable lens is in reasonable condition with the aperture and focus rings quite smooth. The shutter works on the fastest speeds but intermittently stays open sometimes on the slower speeds.
Most of the shutter speed transfers have been rubbed off over the course of time, so the only speeds I can see on the shutter ring are 1/300, 1/125 and B but it is possible to remove the band with the shutter speed markings on, so I may be able to replace the transfers.
Super Paxette II description.
This is a 35mm rangefinder camera made by Braun in Germany in the mid 1950’s. The lens is removable and has an M39 screw thread, but isn’t compatible with the lenses used on the Leica or Leica copy rangefinders because the registration distance is different. I confirmed this by trying the lens on my Ricoh GXR M Mount camera with an adapter and the lens won’t achieve focus at any setting.
The camera body is remarkably small and compact, measuring about 4 inches wide by 3 inches high and about 3 inches deep but quite heavy for such a small unit. It has the feel of a well engineered camera with a nice shutter sound and a precise feel to the film advance mechanism.
For exposure control it’s a fully manual camera without any aids such as exposure meter built into the camera. In use the photographer would need to have used an external light meter or the sunny 16 rule to judge the correct exposure, setting the shutter speed and aperture before taking the picture. For focus there is a coupled rangefinder which is great for getting precise focus, although on my particular example as I said above the second image is so dull that it can’t be seen in anything other than very good light.
In common with my other Paxette camera, the bottom of the camera is removed completely to load a film and the pressure plate is a combination of a hinged plate and a spring fitted to the camera bottom which pushes the plate as the camera is re-assembled with the film loaded. Once the film is loaded there is a count down frame counter which is visible at the top of the camera in front of the accessory shoe and displays the number of frames remaining on the film.
Because the shutter is a leaf shutter, the flash sync will fire the flash at all shutter speeds, and provides settings for both flash bulbs and electronic flash.
All in all this is a typical 35mm rangefinder camera from the mid 1950’s, but nicely engineered and it seems to be well made. If I get the shutter to reliably fire I may put a film through it to see how it performs.
Super Paxette specs
- Braun Super Paxette II 35mm rangefinder camera
- Prontor SVS Leaf shutter
- Shutter speeds 1 sec to 1/300th sec + B
- Coupled rangefinder
- Count down frame counter
- Removable M39 thread lens (not Leica mount)
- Steinheil Munchen Cassarit 45mm f/2.8 lens
- Flash sync at all speeds
- Self timer
- Cold shoe
- Film type reminder on rewind crank
- Double throw film advance
- Cable release above shutter release
- Shutter release on lens barrel
- Body Ser No: 256609
- Lens Ser No: 1573668