Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Altissa Altix

German 35mm camera, with intercangeable lenses, central shutter.
This model is a refinement of the pre-war model continued in production after WW2,
in or near the east german camera production capital, Jena.

We here sees the general layout and details of handling the camera.
Simple viewfinder, knob-wind, the lens and other details.
The camera is very compact and moderately heavy, and quite easy to use.

This camera came with a Meyer Trioplan 50mm f:2.9 lens - a simple triplet.
A nice clean and sharp lens, the shutter and ultimately the film wind and shutter interconnector was a different story, film would wind but not allow the shutter to disengage, even if it was tripped from outside,

Some TLC was needed. Trond stepped up to the plate, and on short notice had  the entire camera stripped, shutter serviced and long times back in shape, film wind and shutter tension adjusted back in operation.
A few days later pictures in ine in-box verified that everything was A-Okay.

The camera backside show uncluttered operation, but reveals a mysterious "door".

Topside view revealing operating the camera, film advance is now back in operation and is coupled to the double-exposure prevention device, film has to be wound to be able to take a new picture, the shutter button remains locked.  Film counter is set with the little ring around the shutter button. 
Normal distance and diaphragm operation on the lens, no rangefinder, so distance is manual only. 
However in order to take a picture the shutter has to be tensioned manually with the little lever innermost on the lens tube, slightly to the right.  Flash coupler to the left here, and a little delay-timer release to the right.

This lens is intercangeable, a major selling point in the early 1950's and since the camera has a central shutter BEHIND the lens, this limits how short wideangle lenses can be used, also much like west-german cameras of the same time, the diameter of the shutter throat limits how big lens opening the lenses can have.

I gather this is why no normal lens bigger than f:2,8 was offered.  The shutter incorporates a bajonet mount, often confused with other east-german bayonets, like Pentina SLR or Praktina SLR or even Werra bajonet. Much like the confusion among west-german manufacturers, neither the east-germans managed to make ONE standard lens mount for central shutters! 

And that is a pity - and a boon, it makes collecting them ever so much more interesting!

From this angle we see the next-innermost ring used to release the lens and the camera back-lock on the underside, pretty standard for east-german 35mm cameras of the day.

Taking off the bottom reveals a loose take-up spool, this seems to make loading film easier.
Film goes from chamber to chamber seen here, this begins to look a little like a Leica......

Turning the camera over reveals what the little "door" was for, it IS like a M-series Leica!
One attaches film to the take-up spool, drops it and the film casette in their chambers and makes sure the film is wound and interconnect with the little sprocket wheels, closes the door and put the bottom back on. Simple, but one needs longer, Leica-type film leaders than what is used these days!

Original Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan triplet 50mm f.2,9

But this is when it becomes interesting : a few days ago arrived an extra lens!
I nice, like new Carl Zeiss Jena  Tessar 4-lens anastigmat, 50mm f:2.8
Now the job at hand is to really compare these two jevels, we already know the Trioplan is a peach,
 and from what we have seen from Tessars before, the new one should be excellent.

A detail study of the lens bayonet, it looks exactly like the Werra, but has a narrower throat, due to a smaller shutter, the lock ring for the lenses can be clearly seen, also the excellent central shutter.

Here we have the whole kit, now we only need to find the 35mm wide-angle and 75mm and maybe a little longer tele lenses that where sold with these little cameras.

Camera body and two lenses.

Camera with Zeiss Tessar, spare Meyer Trioplan, excellent!

But what did the camera technician have to say about the innards? Well the connector between film advance and shutter-tensioning gear was made from a simple, wobbly plate of sheet metal, with grades that was hard on the other gears, a little filing and cleaning would have made everything better, so quality control apparently was not top notch back in DDR!  Looking forward to use this a little and find a couple of lenses for it too.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Erik,

    found this article while searching for help with servicing mit Altissa. I have some problems with a stuck shutter release... can you or Trond guide me to servicing this little beast? Thanks, Michael