an inspiration for the Hassy?

A May, 1951 ad for the cube shaped Primar Reflex II camera

Toronto. Bentzin made cameras in Görlitz, Germany beginning in the late 1800s. The firm collaborated with Zeiss over in Jena to make high end cameras to use Zeiss lens designs. Sadly, both Jena and Gorlitz fell in the Soviet sector after WW2. The Bentzin operation eventually became part of the Russian VEB Feinoptisches Werk and as such, part of Zeiss.

Around 1935, Bentzin developed the “cube with a lens” idea as a roll film SLR called the Primarflex. After 18 years, only about 12,000 cameras were made. The line was dropped in 1953. During production the camera had many names depending in part on the distributor, and numerous redesigns. This ad shows about the last redesign when the marque was updated after WW2. By this time, in appearance at least, the camera looked like an early Hasselblad.

The SLR used a focal plane shutter which was its Achilles heel – shutter problems affected the camera throughout its lifetime. The American importer as shown in this ad was ERCONA on 5th Avenue in the Big Apple.

Many thanks to our resident historian and good friend, George Dunbar, who wanted to share this discovery with us. (I wonder if ERCONA ever imported top line marques?) Oh, yes. I meant to mention that the ad appears in the May, 1951 issue of Popular Photography on page 158. The link is also available in an earlier (recent) post. It is repeated here as a courtesy to our readers.


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