Tag Archives: VEB Rheinmetall

Camera Talk – the last fun camera made

Hey, you know what I'm talking about? Do you know a camera that doesn't have dozens of functions and you don't need to click through layers of menus. You don't even need to wait for the autofocus to over-sharpen your image because it just can't. You know what I'm talking about? Yes, a simple point and shoot roll film camera in bakelite housing: The VEB Rheinmetall Perfekta.


The camera doesn't have much controls. It's got a fixed focus and a shutter speed of about 1/30sec and a bulb mode. The release needs be cocked by the film transport wheel on top of the camera. And last but not least, the finder are two funny frames which can be flipped in and out. Aiming the camera at anything between 5 and 10m will get you something in focus. Any object nearer will be just blurry while anything further away is just not totally sharp. You need to hold the camera steady. The about 80mm lens and the fixed shutter speed can lead to blurred images. There are no other controls on this camera. It's really up to you what kind of photography you do with it. I think it's best when you take it out to your neighborhood and see what you can find.

The body was made of bakelite and still has this funny plastic smell to it. The controls are cream colored which gives the camera a fancy look. Around 1 million pieces of this modern streamline design box cameras were made between 1953 and 1957 and it looks very much the same as the Druopta Efekta which is difficult to find already. I also found a nice Perfekta II on ebay. But about about that baby later.

I took the bakelite wonder on a trip to Salzburg. It was a sunny day but still decided to got for my favorite film: Ilford HP5+. Even though a very nwell behaving film, I like the over all look of contrast, grey tones and grain. I guessed the exposure and set 7.7 in shady spaces, 11or 16 when it was sunnier. As usual with the uncertainty of the exposure, I stand developed in highly diluted Rodinal (1+100 for 1h) leading to the effect to develop stronger in the shadows compared to the lights and making edges of higher contrast a bit sharper having the low quality of the lens in mind. 

Here are some results which are actually quite OK. Sharpness drops quickly from the center to the edge but the lens does have a beautiful and subtle darker and out of focus vignette.