The Beirette k is basically a version of the popular Beirette v series, adapted for quick loading cassettes of the Karat, Rapid or SL type. It is an elegant viewfinder compact camera built to a typical Beirette philosophy. It is equipped with the Albada type viewfinder and the Meyer Domiplan 45 mm 1:2.8 or E. Ludwig Meritar 45 mm 1:2.9, a coated simple triplet with front cell focusing. The Priomat everset leaf shutter offers just three speeds - 1/30 s, 1/60 s and 1/125 s - plus B setting. Aperture is controlled with a narrow metal ring around the lens base, while shutter speed with a metal ring at the front of the lens. A shutter release button is located at the side of the lens base, and - as with other Beirette models with the Priomat - needs a little bit of attention when pressed, to avoid camera shake. Cable release thread is placed at the top of the lens base.
The camera is fitted with a flash exposure calculator located at the bottom of the aperture setting ring. One just needs to set the shooting distance (values marked in red on the aperture ring) against the flash guide number (values marked in black on the lens body) to obtain the accurately set aperture. Cameras with the Domiplan lens are also equipped with distance symbols helping in correct focusing for given photographed subjects (e.g. portrait, group or landscape).
Beirette k uses a standard 35 mm perforated film loaded in a spool-less Karat or SL-System cassette and takes 12 pictures of the 24x36 mm size on the film. As there's no rewind possibility, two cassettes have always to be used.
The film is advanced with a circular metal slider placed at the back body wall and the whole film advance gear is housed inside the wall, removed for film loading. The camera body itself lacks any elements engaging the film (!), even the frame counter is activated by a lever from the back wall. This layout may, however, cause serious problems and requires a lot of attention when advancing the film, as the slider has to be always pushed all the way, until stop - it must not be moved short. The camera is equipped with both the double exposure and double advance safeties - the shutter cannot be released for the next time until the film is advanced and the film cannot be advanced for the second time until the shutter is released. Both the safeties rely, however, on the proper operation of the slider. The safeties, as well as the frame counter, are operated by an additional small tongue moving at the back wall above the film (together with the slider) and switching a small lever in the camera body when the slider is pushed until stop - this lever moves the frame counter to the next number, engages double advance safety and disengages double exposure safety. If the film advance slider is moved short (even 1 mm short!), the tongue does not reach the lever, the frame counter is not advanced and the double exposure safety remains engaged, locking the shutter release button. In this case, if the film advance slider was released and returned to its original position, the slider has to be moved for the second time, fully until stop, to disengage the safety. As the film is actually pushed from one cassette into the other by two spring loaded claws rigidly connected to the film advance slider, and thus film is advanced every time the slider is moved, such a situation results in an unexposed frame being lost. It could be recommended to carefully observe the frame counter when advancing the film and to release the film advance slider only after the counter moved to the next frame. If the counter didn't work, the slider would have to be pushed further, a little bit stronger.
Beirette k was actually made in a number of variations, all of them were marked with "Beirette k" designation on the body though:
- Beirette k (1965) - original version, externally similar to Beirette v (unsymmetrical lens base), with PC socket for flash sync, manually reset frame counter.
- Beirette kf (1966) - a version of the Beirette k with reflector and socket for AG 1 flashbulbs.
- Beirette ks (1967) - with symmetrical lens base (as the Beirette vs) and PC socket for flash sync, automatically reset frame counter.
- Beirette ka (1967) - a variation of the Beirette ks with both the PC socket and hot shoe, automatically reset frame counter.
- Beirette kfs (1967) - a version of the Beirette ks with reflector and socket for AG 1 flashbulbs.
- Film type: SL
- Frame size: 24x36 mm
- Lens: Meyer Domiplan 45 mm 1:2.8 or E. Ludwig Meritar 45 mm 1:2.9
- Angle of view: 51 degrees
- Shutter speeds: 1/30 s, 1/60 s, 1/125 s and B
- Aperture range: 1:2.8 or 1:2.9 - 1:22
- Exposure range: 8 - 16 EV
- Minimal focusing distance: 0,6 m
- Flash sync with electronic flash: full
- Flash sync with flash bulbs: 1/30 s
- Film advance: manual
- Tripod thread: 1/4"
- Dimensions: ?
- Weight: ?