Dear reader, you will later hear about the Praktica BX20 that I bought a while ago which just about satisfies the requirements for a vintage camera, ie. over 30 years old. However, today’s post is about a recently acquired true antique being over 100 years old – a 1919 Contessa Nettel Cocorette Contessa folding camera.
I saw this in an auction whilst looking for another Contessa Nettel camera model that proved too expensive for my taste! I won the auction for the opening bid of £26. It is in very good condition and came complete with a beautiful hand sewn leather case and the original instruction booklet. I couldn’t believe my luck!
I recently ran a film through it and found that it works perfectly. I have attached some of the images taken. They are nothing special and to be honest the sun was so bright that I had difficulty in composing the shots.
Now. a little about the camera. It has a very good pedigree!
The Contessa brand merged with Nettel in 1919, before joining the Zeiss Ikon group in 1926.
The Cocorette was available taking two film sizes (120 and 116) They were produced with a variety of shutters and lenses. (In excess of 64 known variations are known to exist.)
My camera is in the 120 format and shoots eight 6x9cm frames on a roll of film.
It sports a Derval shutter, offering 1/25, 1/50 and 1 / 100th speeds in addition to B and T exposures. This version has a Contessa Nettel Conastigmat f6.3 lens with 10.5 cm focal length.
The focusing distance is adjusted on a notched guide for distances of 6,10,15 feet and infinity.
The Contessa Nettel brand appears in two places on the camera. Once on a circular disk on the back of the camera and also on the plate screwed below the lens showing the aperture values. The model name, ‘Cocarette’ does not appear on the camera.
The disk on the back of the camera that I mentioned in the previous paragraph can be removed by rotating it 1/8th of a turn to gain access the rear of the lens to facilitate cleaning. This is made necessary by the design of the camera.
The three sample images attached were all shot on Fomapan 100 film, developed in Spur HRX and scanned on a V600 scanner using Silverfast software. I think that a later version of Silverfast software as well as running these images through modern sharpening software would seriously improve the images. Fomapan is not my favourite film
Overall, I think that this camera was a bargain considering its excellent condition.