I’ve a bit of a thing for German Cameras of the late 50’s and 60’s. I still miss my Boots badged Franka 125 and the German made Ilford sportsman was one of the Joys from the Poundland Challenge. I’ve always fancied a legendary Braun Paxette series camera and a viewfinder version came my way a few weeks ago
But was it Braw or Poxy ? The Braun name is more commonly linked to the maker of shavers and other small appliances, but another smaller German company used the name in making cameras in the post war period. The best known are the Paxette series a staggering range of mainly 50’s 35mm cameras that went from viewfinders to early SLR. The stars are often felt to be the rangefinders with interchangeable lens.
This is more humble stuff. I’ve tried identifying the model but the closest I’ve got is that it superficially resembles the Rangefinder Super Paxette I . An advert for this refers to a Paxette IL being the same but without rangefinder so that may be the model.
Braun Paxette (? Paxette IL) Spec
- Lens: 45mm Ennagon
- Focus : Scale
- Aperture: f/2.8-18
- Shutter: 1/300-1sec + B
- EV 100 : 9-17+
- Exposure: Manual
- Filter : ? push on
The camera has an advance lever set up which works well although requires double cranking to advance. Oddly it has a lever to rewind with a strangely placed rewind pin on the top-plate. This actually works well but sadly doesn’t seem to have been adopted by the wider world. You’ll need to manually turn the counter dial to set and it counts down not up.
The exposure settings are oddly synchronised with you first setting a EV100 based setting by depressing a black plastic button on the lens and at the same time turning the dial with both aperture (in black) and EV100 settings (red). This sets the aperture and shutter into a pairs for each given EV value. This would make sense if the camera had some form of uncoupled metering as we find on Haking’s Halina Paulette Electric (I suspect the similarities of name was no mistake on W.B. Haking’s part) or the Yashica Minister III. I do wonder if the camera perhaps had some form of extinction meter in the viewfinder. Something moves across as you crank the camera and I wonder if it was an extinction metering strip (essentially strip of increasingly opaque see through material- you would set the camera by the highest number you could see). However I can’t be certain and without a meter this just feels clunky.
That’s a shame as we’ve one fast lens to play with witha f/2.8 lens. The aperture and shutter range is better than the Ilford sportsman Mk II I have. Although the shutter speed jumps from 1/125 to 1/300 you have a range of speeds stepping down all the way to 1 sec. I had thought the camera could be set at increasing time settings as settings from 4- 60secs are shown on the other side of the bulb but you can’t access them (and really a mechnical 50’s shutter wouldn’t have been able to do- you’d need to wait until the electronic controlled shutters of the 70’s arrived). I think these are marked to give you an idea of how long you should hold the shutter open for each aperture.
Focus wise it’s all scale focus in feet baby. The lens I found pretty good for it’s time but soft compared to 70’s Japanese shooters.
Camera has PC sync for flash with both X & M settings. The IIL manual indicates you can use X at 1/30 (for electronic flash guns) and I’m guessing the same goes here. There is a cable slot and tripod mount on base. The film compartment opens by unscrewing ring around tripod mount.. The whole back panel lifts off. and there is a gate to position/secure film on the film plane. The flash switch also allows you to set a timer (V setting).
Nicely well made camera. Sadly I can’t tell what model it is and the rangefinders are more desirable but this is a well made 50’s camera that still runs today. My only grumble is the synchronised exposure setting set up making rivals such as the Ilford sportsman easier to use.
Why Buy ?
- Well made & Robust
- Retro styling
- For time fast lens and shutter
Why not ?
- Odd synchronised exposure
- There are better models in series
What I Paid
- Paid £1.70 + £3.60 P&P camera , lens cap and half case
- Ilford Sportsman – Late 50’s Rival
- Halina Super 35X – Haking’s closest camera
- Fujica 35 Automagic – 50’s too but more modern
- Yamato Pal Jr/Pax Jr – Retro Japanese shooter
- Franka 125 – 60’s Germanic simplicity
- Super Paxette IL manual (closest model) at Mike Butkus’s site
- Paxette series at ukcamera.com
- Paxette series at camera-wiki.org