Altix IV

  • Type: version 2 type B
  • Serial No: 130546
  • Manufactured: 1952
  • Manufacturer: Eho-Altissa, later VEB-Altissa Kamera Werk, Dresden, Germany
  • Shutter: Vebur
  • Shutter speeds: 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/250
  • Lens: Meyer-Optik - Trioplan 1:2.9/50
  • Apertures: between 2.9 and 16
  • Lens No:1681093
  • Lens mount: fixed
  • Last CLA: 06/2011

I had bought this camera to have something which I could take with me on my motorbike and I didn’t mind to wreck. It was cheap. It was ugly on the pictures. I didn’t care about the look just wanted something simple and functioning. It cost less than 15 EUR.

Altix IV

As for the functionality, it provides with the bare minimum: small aperture and speed range, separate film winding and shutter cocking, no metering at all, you have to use a separate light meter for the exposition settings and a good guess-o-meter for the distances. Sounds not too handy, right?

Altix IV

The first thing I noticed when I finally got it was how small it was. And how seriously good looking. Far better than on the pictures. It was a real surprise for me.

Altix IV

I took it to the International Seiberer Bergpreis oldtimer race to have an old camera with me. It was sunny so I didn’t have to use my light meter just set f/16 and 1/100. I used range focusing to forecast the distance. Winded the film, cocked the shutter and shot. Modified the distance and shot again. And again and again. I fell in love with it for the first roll.

Altix IV

The rings and knobs are ergonomically designed so the handling feels absolutely natural. The viewfinder is surprisingly bright and useful. The lack of metering gives you speed. You have to calculate and set everything in advance so you won’t miss the right moment of exposition. It turned to be the ideal camera for the oldtimer race. I could shoot 2 or more pictures of a car or a motorcycle taking the curve. Here are some pictures of the first two rolls:



Oldtimer race

Oldtimer bus race

And now some words on the Trioplan lens. It has 3 elements. It was designed to be an affordable alternative of the more sophisticated 5 elements lenses. Well, its designer made a terrific job. It renders sharp and clear images. I simply love it.

The small Altix quickly became one of my favorite cameras. It’s so ergonomic that it feels almost like a part of my body. It’s a great performer if you can prepare for the light conditions with the appropriate film speed. However, the absence of a rangefinder makes it very difficult to use if it comes to wider aperture settings.

Super Dollina II

  • Serial No.: 51385
  • Manufacturer: Certo, Dresden, Germany
  • Shipping date: 19.6.1957.
  • Shutter: Synchro Compur
  • Shutter speeds: 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and B
  • Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena - Tessar 2.8/50
  • Apertures: 2.8 to 22 in half stops
  • Lens No.: 5026 936
  • Lens mount: fixed
  • Last CLA: 06/2010


    "Dear CERTO-friend
    Hearty welcome to the occasion of choosing the Super Dollina II, after thorough consideration, therefore becoming a part of the large group of photographers who like the Certo cameras for half a century – and have always been satisfied with them." starts the manual (in my humble translation) and continues "We would like you to enjoy your new camera so we kindly ask your attention for a few minutes before you go and take photographs with your Super Dollina II. This few minutes will contribute to the formulation of a long lasting friendship between you and your camera. With right handling, the Super Dollina II will always be your faithful friend."

    This small piece of beauty was manufactured in Dresden, DDR, after the WWII until the early 1970's. It has a Synchro-Compur shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/500 and B. The lens is a Zeiss Tessar 2.8/50mm rendering crystal clear pictures. It has all the technology built in to be a great camera. The main design aspect, however, had to be the look and not the ease of use; the handling needs strong dedication.

    The film winding knob, for example, doesn't cock the shutter: it has to be done separately. You have to set the aperture with that ugly peg in the bottom of the lens front which is not only difficult to handle but the scale is almost impossible to read. Focusing is a heroic fight with the coupled rangefinder which is a little dark hole as close to be unusable as possible. Finally, you have to use the viewfinder which is separate from the rangefinder and can be best described as a really bad joke. I haven't mentioned the speed setting which is simply not convenient and has to be re-checked after setting the aperture because aperture setting can easily modify it. All in all, the whole procedure of preparation takes a lot of time, concentration and patience before each shot.

    Which has its undeniable charm. Look at it this way: you have to slow down and think your shot over with an impressive old camera in your hand.

    Some notes on the positive side before you think I'm against the Super Dollina II. No, I'm not, in fact I love it. This is an eye catching machinery with a very unique, characteristic feeling. Unfolding and folding the lens, for example, is a piece of true joy, it moves so precisely. The folder design makes it compact and easy to carry. It can produce really sharp pictures - thanks to the Zeiss Tessar lens.

    The Super Dollina II was an obsolete design in its age, using new technology. Therefore it can give you the feeling of an archaic camera without the rust, stuck parts, low quality and restrictions in aperture sizes and shutter speeds typical of the cameras of the 30's and the 40's. It's a true classic beauty which fits into your pocket and won't let you down even in darker light conditions. A must have for today's individual and ascetic vintage camera user.

    Here are some test pictures taken with it just to prove that I'm ascetic enough. No, I'm joking, it was a real pleasure to take these photos.

    Trpanj port

    Traces of the war

    This Tessar lens is sharp like hell as you see. And the colors are living.
    All in all, it's a lovely little camera.