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Hunter 35, (Steiner Steinette), 35mm viewfinder camera, c1958

Hunter 35, a "re-badged" German Steiner Steinette 35mm camera imported by the English company of R.F. Hunter. Steiner made the camera available to several companies, changing little except the name stamped into the boxy pressed steel shutter cover. They will be found under the names Brelland, Hunter 35, Reporter, Steinette and Tanette. In Hunter 35 and Steinette forms the cameras are identical except for the name stamping, both crop up in the UK but only the Steinette went to the USA, both these cameras have focus scales calibrated in feet. The other versions destined for Europe are calibrated in Metres. Simple construction centred upon a "Bakelite" thermosetting plastic core, around which is bonded the aluminium shell with pressed steel front, top housing and base plate, serving to protect the otherwise brittle core. The steel parts are matt chrome plated but Steiner cut corners and didn't use an intermediate copper layer which results in the chrome wearing away quite readily. The covering is a faux leather consisting of a rubberized coating on linen base. The shutter is a basic unit, convincingly disguised as a leaf shutter. In fact it's a self energized thwacker, a single blade being thwacked out of the way briefly as the body mounted plunger is pressed. Speed control is correspondingly rather poor. Wind on is via a simple but effective turret with each frame being advanced with half a rotation, the film being wound onto a wide removable spool. These cameras are often found with these spools missing, rendering the camera all but useless. There is no metering of the film passing the film gate and there are no sprocket wheels to complicate the bottom loading this camera employs. As a result the frame spacing increases as the film is used. A frame counter is fitted that counts up and can be reset with a cocktail stick on the serrated edge to wind it around. The winding on action also disengages the shutter lock, preventing double exposures. On the back is a plate that serves as an exposure guide and also holds the sprung pressure plate in position. The plate is often found blank on European versions. The Steinette has been reported as metal bodied as opposed to plastic, this does not appear to be true - of the five Steinettes we inspected, all used an identical plastic main body to this Hunter 35 and a Brelland. Although no serial is stamped on the body, this Hunter 35 has the identity number Z959 scratched into the paint inside the film chamber. The lens serials appear to be sequential though and may serve as a rough age ordering guide. Around lens serial 20,000 the design changed slightly to include a rewind lever, protruding through the back of the top housing. This camera was donated to the collection in 2012 with several issues, including the missing film spool, finally being overhauled in February 2022. You can see that process in Project 14 of the workshop pages.

R. F. Hunter are better known for the Purma Special.

R.F. Hunter, Hunter 35, 35mm viewfinder camera, c1958

Body No. Z959
Shutter, Steiner self energized, speeds B, 25, 50 & 100th
Lens, Steiner Bayreuth, 45mm f/3.5, No. 21784
Condition, 6F

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