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 Großzschachwitz near
Certo Super Sport Dolly shown has a coupled rangfinder, most probably
built in 1937 and it's a C series model as it has a rewind knob. I
bought a second one with a 4.5 x 6 film mask. It's an A model, you will
find some pictures at the very 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 at the bottom of 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.
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, 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.
And finally, some photos of a A model:
The A 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 fucusing lever
is a simle one, the shutter lever goes aroud the lens. You can press
from both sides.