The Certo Super Sport Dolly is a 120 film folding camera, a part of the series has a coupled rangefinder, 6x6
and 4,5x6 format, built from about 1934 to 1944 by Certo Kamera-Werk in Gro▀zschachwitz near
Certo Super Sport Dolly first shown has a coupled rangfinder, most probably
built in 1937 and it's a C series model
as it has a rewind knob. It is the most full featured camera I have.
Apart from the rangefinder and the rewind, it has semi-automatic film
advance, an interchangeable lens, a sheet film device and a notepad
bought several others, one with a 4.5 x 6 film mask, A, B or C models, you will
find some pictures towards the bottom of the page.
Size (mm): 148 x 101 x 46 Weight: 775 g Lens: Schneider Xenar 2.8/75, closest focus 1,2 m Shutter: Compur, B T 1 - 1/250, F 2.8 - 16 Finder: coupled rangefinder, separate viewfinder Film advance: semi-automatic, first frame via red window
Here are some photos of the camera. There is a short introduction to the use of it and how it feels further down the page.
front closed. Top: viewfinder window, rangefinder window, rangefinder viewing window. Bottom: film advance knob, opening button and film rewind knob.
from the back. On top: rangefinder viewer and viewfinder viewer. In the middle: depth-of-the-field table on flap.
open: 2 red windows for 4,5x6 format (in the old days film only had
numbers for 6x9 and 6x6, so you had to advance the number for 6x9 to
the first and then to the second) and one for 6x6. White plastic sheet
to take notes with a pencil, erasable.
front open, it opens sideways. Speed setting
ring above around the lens, aperture setting below. to the left: up:
shutter cocking lever, down: shutter release lever. under the lens:
setting lever for film and single sheet. Setting is "F" for film. It has a luminous Schneider Xenar lens F2.8 75mm.
from above (rangefinder housing), camera open.
side, camera open. From front (lens): shutter cocking lever, self
timer, focusing lever, lens/shutter unit release lever. Top: film
Seen from the bottom, camera open.
Around lens: cable release socket, flash socket. Camera body, from top:
film advance, opening button, tripod socket film rewind knob.
Lens/shutter unit released. There was a Plaubel tele lens available and an extension tube for macro photography.
Lens/shutter unit rear view.
Camera back open.
chamber. The film plane is changed as a whole unit, including the little rollers, for changing the format.
Sheet film accessories in their original box: 3 sheet film holders, numbered 1 to 3, ground glass with hood.
Back flap unit deposed.
Ground glass installed, hood closed.
Focusing hood open.
Magnifying glass for ground glass swiveled. As you can see, it helps a lot.
Single sheet holder installed.
Lever under the lens in "P" position, for single sheet (=Planfilm), to compensate film plane position.
Viewfilder has markings for 4,5x6 format.
advance, simple, but efficient. Having advanced the film via the red
window to "1", you lift the advance knob and put the number "1" at the
index mark. After each photo you make one full term plus the way to the
next number (except 11 and 12, where it's less than a full term, the
roll being thicker). Works like a charm.
a Certo Super Sport Dolly is easy, it's like
other folding rangefinders. Loading film is as usual. The upper pegs are held by springs, so you can push them easily. Open
camera back, retract the winding knob and put the
take-up spool into
place. Same procedure for the film spool. Check whether the rewinding mecanism isn't engaged, lift and turn a bit clockwise to disengage. Insert the film paper
into the take-up spool and advance it using the knob until it's
well engaged. Close the camera back. Open the red window and
the film via the advance knob
until the red window shows "1". Lift the advance knob and put the number "1" at the index mark. After
each photo you make one full term plus the way to the next number
(except 11 and 12, where it's less than a full term, the roll being
thicker). It's that simple. I don't know why other camera makers didn't use the same system.
the camera. Cock
the shutter, set speed and aperture. Set focus via the focusing lever.
Turning the lever to closer distance moves the lens out. Action the
shutter release lever. That's it. To
close the camera, set focus back to infinity, press the hinges of the
usual, it will fold easily. Turn the film advance to the next number.
camera even has a device to rewind film if you change mind in the
middle of the roll. Lift the film advance knob and turn it a small
amount counter-clockwise. It will stay disengaged. Turn the rewind knob
in the direction of the arrow to respool the film. The notepad in the
back flap is handy to note the number to which th film has to be
advanced again, when reinserted.
For single sheet photographs
take off the usual back flap, there is little spring-held lever
which releases it. Put the grond glass instead. Open the camera, set
the lens unit to "P". Focus on the ground glass. Swap the ground glass
against the single sheet holder. Don't forget to retract the dark
slide. Take your Photo. Put back the dark slide.
lens/shutter unit can be retracted from the camera via a lever. There
was a Plaubel tele lens with shutter for the camera. There was also an
extension tube for makro photography on sheet film (ground glass
The Certo Super Sport Dolly is a very nice and very sturdy camera, easy to use with roll film, with a good lens and shutter. Its
capability to use sheet film without a different back and to change the
lens is quite unique for such a small camera (look at the Makinas, how
big and heavy they are). It has well-thought details like the notepad
and the lever to change focus between roll film and single sheets.
Later models even had an extinction meter in the rangefinder housing.
The camera must have been a photographer's dream in those days. To my
opinion it is well under-estimated from a collector's point of view. I
simply love it.
Ground glass repair:
ground glass unit comes as a kit with 3 sheet film holders in a little
box. The glass can easily break if you make a mistake when folding the
hood, the space is very tight. So my camera came without ground glass.
The ground glass is very thin, you may fit 1.5mm if you pay
attention to the slit being well redressed. A ground glass of a
bit less than 1.5mm would be better. The size is 49 x 64mm on my
camera. It was difficult to find someone to make it, but finally, on
apug.org, today photrio.com, I found Ian Grant, who has a small stock of old ground glass.
He was so kind to make a new one for me, slightly thinner than 1.5mm,
so it slid into its place easily. Thank you, Ian Grant.
holder with its new ground glass. Nothing to unscrew, you only have to
slide the little lever to open the frame. You can see the tight space:
the hood and the magnifying glass are squeezed against the glass.
End of the first camera. In total I may have bought about 10 models,
but I sent some back as they were broken. Up to now I kept 6 of them.
So now some photos of other models. The second is a B model, it has a sheet film unit, but no rewind:
This B model has a folding viewfinder...
no rewind device. The wind knob lacks the film advance numbers, a very
handy device (see further above). It has however the nice back flap
which can be replaced by the single sheet device.
rest is nearly identical, same lens, same shutter. The focusing lever
is a simle one, the shutter lever goes aroud the lens. You can press
from both sides. It has a luminous Schneider Xenar lens F2.8 75mm.
4.5 x 6 cm film mask.
The fourth is another C model, in less good state:
This one has a luminous Meyer Trioplan lens, F2.8 75mm and a foldable viewfinder.
The rewind makes it a C model.
There is some corrosion on the housing. Shutter and aperture still work.
The typical flap with the 3 red windows and the notepad.
Ready to take plate holders.
It came with a nice leather case...
...with access to the wind and the rewind...
...and on the back...
---access to the back flap.
Case and camera open.
The fifth is a very late A model with the much desired Tessar lens:
Camera closed. It lacks the little foldable stand. The opening button
and the shutter release button are both in front of the rangefinder.
Flap open. The list shows the exposure times according to the extiction meter.
Camera back open.
open. There is a mechanism to release the shutter from the body. At
first sight this would interfere with the mechanism to set the sheet
film, but obviously they found a solution. So there
are even late "C" models.
The most desirable Tessar lens. It seems to have a coating. The lens is
from 1938, the camera might be a little bit later. Above the lens:
speed setting, under the lens: aperture setting.
Seen from the top. The wheel on the housing sets the frames, 6x6 or 4.5x5.
Seen from the bottom. Cable socket on the shutter. Although this is a newer shutter with 1/400s, there is no flash cable socket.
Seen from the left side. On the barrel: scale and lever to set distance, shutter cocking lever and self timer setting.
Extinction meter. The lowest number you can just read is to be taken to
the table on the flap. It's "5" on the picture. Simple, but works quite
The 6th is an A model:
It has a rangefinder and an extinction meter...
...and a Meyer Trioplan 1:2.8 lens.
No sheet film device.
No rewind. It came with a nice leather case.
At last a custom made camera without bellows, my third purchase, based on an A model:
Based on a late rangefilnder A model, it has a luminous Schneider Xenar lens F2.8 75mm.
No rewind. It has kept the front with it's helico´d, the bellows were replaced by a cone.
The late rangefinder with
addition of an extiction light meter.