Certo Six a 120 film folding rangefinder camera, 6x6 format, first
issued in 1953 by VEB Certo Kamerawerk, Dresden. It's a relatively
modern construction for a folding 120 film camera.
It has some uncommon features: film advance via a lever, an indicator whether there is a film in the camera, a lens opening at F 2.8 and a parallax compensation. Compensation is done by slightly tilting the optics according to the distance.
Size (mm): 146 x 103 x 54 Weight: 880 g Lens: Zeiss Tessar 2,8/80, closest focus 1.5 m (variant: Meyer 3.5 Primotar) Shutter: Tempor, B, 1 - 1/250, F 2.8 - 22 (variants: Synchro Compur, Prontor SVS) Finder: coupled rangefinder, parallax compensation Film advance: automatic via lever, double exposure prevention
Here are some photos of the camera. There is a short introduction to the use of it and how it feels at the bottom of the page.
front closed. Near the top: shutter release lever, rangefinder window,
opening button, viewfinder window. Near the bottom: focussing lever.
from the back. Near top: index for film presence, viewer, shutter lock
release, thread hole for shutter cable release. Near bottom: 2 folding
Seen from the bottom. Tripod socket, focusing lever in the camera bed, 2 folding legs (folded).
Camera front open. Speed setting ring.
from above. Shutter cocking lever near the speed setting ring, aperture
control. Shutter release lever in front of the housing. On top: film
advance lever with depth-of-the-field scale, distance indication
window, shutter lock indicator, also marks the number of the film
Left side, camera open, legs unfolded. Focusing lever sticks out of the camera bed.
Right side, camera open. The struts are very solid stainless steel.
Camera back open.
chamber. Note the tiny lever between the film plane and the roller near
the take-up spool. It detects the presence of film and shows it in the
In it's genuine leather case.
a Certo Six is not so easy at first, there are several differences to
other folding rangefinders. Loading film is quite as usual, put the
film roll into its place, there are no pegs, it's firmly held by two
springs. To put in the take-up spool, lift the film advance lever, put in
the spool in and push the lever back. Insert the film paper backing
into the spool and advance it using the lever until the start
arrow meets the index mark (in the middle of film plane). Check,
whether the tiny film presence lever has been pushed upwards by the
film. Close the camera back. (The camera back has a device to be easily
unhinged, there were sheet film accessories available.) Now turn the
film counter dial counter-clockwise until the little arrow (between 8
and 9) meets the indicator. Then move the film via the lever until it
stops at "1".
Cock the shutter, set speed and aperture. Set focus via the lever under
the camera bed. Action the
shutter release lever. That's it. Do not force the shutter release.
Never ever! If it doesn't move, it's blocked by the double exposure
prevention. There is a lever to unlock it. You will also need to unlock
if you pressed the shutter lever, but forgot to cock the shutter and
for double exposures of course. It's one of the weak points of the
camera. Some may not unlock the double exposure prevention
automatically, so you have to do it every time yourself and some don't
lock it at all.
close the camera, press the hinges in the middle of the struts as
usual, it will fold easily. But it will not fold with the shutter
cocked. This is another weak point of the camera. The shutter lever
will hit the housing if cocked. Film advance is done by two strokes of
the film advance lever, it stops automatically.
A third weak point of all Certo Six cameras is the mirror system of the rangefinder. They have all
to be replaced. If it hasn't been done yet, the rangefinder will be (at
least nearly) invisible. Replacing the mirrors isn't too complicated,
there are tutorials on the web. The rangefinder of the Certo Six is
The optics are very good. You gain one stop in
comparison to the rest of the better ones. If you can put your hands on
a good Certo Six, it's a very nice camera. Just be sure that everything
is working as it should. So buying from a trustworthy dealer is essential, or - even better - check everything before you buy one.