Vintage and Classic Cameras
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Braun Paxette II 35mm camera, c1954

The Braun Paxette II comes from a well built family of German cameras started around 1951, all share a common casting as their starting point. Paxette series I have fixed lenses, series II have 39mm screw thread lenses and the less common series III have bayonet mount lenses. Robustly made, the Paxette is a fairly heavy camera for it's size, but exudes solidity. The main body within is a die cast unit with a beautifully pressed brass top housing, so crisp it appears as if machined from solid material, an impression enhanced by the chamfered edges. The top housing style developed during the life of the design and from the mid 1950s the top was raised as in the picture. The Paxette family tended to use many common parts as possible and this philosophy was carried over into the top housing, so that only the name "Paxette" is stamped. Two windows are fitted and a casual glance might lead you to suspect a rangefinder, indeed some family members do feature this, but in the basic models it is replaced by an extinction meter, as in the collection's example. In earlier versions the film advance was just via a knob, later ones boasted lever advance, but in reality this was just a lever cast into the normal advance knob, with the result that the lever needs to be swept twice to both advance the film and cock the shutter. To minimise changes under the top housing the original wind on knob was split in two horizontally, the top half having the lever driving the lower half and returned by a ratchet inserted between the two halves. Access to the film chamber is gained by removing the entire wrap around back, this is held in place by a captive threaded nut surrounding the tripod bush, there is no danger of accidently opening a Paxette. The back is a stamped and rolled steel part riveted to a pressed steel satin chromed base. Riveted inside the back is the pressure plate spring and film guide, the pressure plate itself is hinged to the main casting that forms the body. Light proofing is ensured by deep overlaps that do not require any felt. There is no body shutter release, instead it protrudes out of the right hand side of the shutter barrel. Pronto shutters are silky smooth and light in operation and the side release presents no problems. Caution needs to be exercised as being behind the lens, the shutter leaves are exposed inside the back of the camera and are very delicate. A delayed shutter release is fitted and will be found near the bottom, coloured red. This can only be set after the camera has been advanced and the shutter cocked, it's a slightly awkward two handed operation requiring a further small lever to be moved to unlock the red dotted lever. If the mechanism is not sticky, it will release the shutter after 9-10 seconds. A film counter is fitted and the readout is visible just in front of the accessory shoe, the counter will not self reset and the user must remember to set the counter at the start of the film, be it a 36 or 24 exposure film. The counter counts DOWN, not up. The camera has one shortfall, it will continue winding on after the end of the film as the slip clutch is quite light, so when the counter reaches 0, rewind the film and insert a new one. The lens unscrews using the knurled grip behind the depth of field scale ring, a selection of lenses were available from 35mm up to 135mm focal lengths, Braun supplied a universal viewfinder that slipped into the accessory shoe so that the view could be judged with different lenses fitted - this is a rare find these days. This example was donated to the collection in March 2006, requiring a deep clean and limited repairs.

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Braun Paxette II 35mm camera, c1954

Body No. 254224 (inside beneath pressure plate)
Shutter, Pronto, speeds B, 25, 50, 100 & 200th
Lens, Roeschlein, Pointikar 45mm f/2.8 serial 539876
Condition, 5F

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