Mackenstein jumelle cameras

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The Paris firm of Établissements Mackenstein made both mono and stereo jumelle cameras in several plate sizes, from shortly before the turn of the 20th century. They are typical jumelle cameras, of good quality. They are wooden-bodied, with leather covering. They were supplied with good quality lenses (see the examples cited below). They have guillotine shutters, behind the lens, with several (typically five) instantaneous speeds, plus 'B' ('Pose'), with the speed control and shutter-cocking knob on the lens board. In some models, the variation of the shutter speed is achieved by a friction brake,[1] and in others by a pneumatic escapement.[2] Focusing is by rack and pinion, with a focusing knob on the right of the body, which winds the lens board out from the body. There is a metal focus scale attached to the top of the lens board.

There is a folding Newton finder on top of the camera. The exact style of this varies in the examples seen, to serve the particular capabilities of the different models. Some of the cameras also have a spirit level. They have tripod bushes for horizontal and vertical orientation.

The plates are held in an interchangeable magazine back, typically for a twelve or eighteen plate load, with an exposure counter. A catalogue listing shown at Collection Appareils states that the stereo cameras could be loaded with (for example) twelve 6x13 cm plates or twenty-four 6x6 cm plates.[3]

Some of the cameras are not identified other than as jumelles photographiques; the generic term for this style of camera.

The Jumelle Réduite (French: 'reduced' jumelle; presumably in the sense 'compact') was made from about 1895, in sizes for 6.5x9 cm, 8x9 cm and 9x12 cm plates.[4] The lens board allows front rise (and shift, according to the advertisement shown here, though this cannot easily be seen in the example linked).

A curious mono 6.5x9 cm camera was seen at auction; it has the width of a stereo model.[5] What appears to be the right-hand lens on the board is in fact a brilliant finder, shown mounted sideways. The auction listing supposes this to be intended for surreptitious photographs of subjects to the side of the photographer, but it seems more likely that it is simply a waist-level finder for vertically-oriented photographs (it is not clear if the finder can also be rotated for use in horizontal orientation, but this seems probable). McKeown lists the model simply as a jumelle photographique, with a picture, and dates it to about 1895.[6] The taking lens is a 110 mm f/8 CZJ Anastigmat, and it has the same type of guillotine shutter as the other mono jumelles. The camera also has a tubular Newton finder on the top, which folds away into the body.

The Jumelle Stéreo-panoramique, of the same date, was made for 6x13 cm or 8x18 cm plates. There is an external rod linkage on the lens board, connecting the aperture controls of the two lenses. In addition to front rise, the lens board also slides sideways, not for perspective control, but to allow one of the lenses to be placed centrally, for panoramic photographs using the whole stereo plate. For such use, the septum dividing the camera inside would be removed (shown in the advertisement illustrated). It is also possible, simply by capping one of the lenses, to make separate mono exposures on each half of the plate. An example seen at Westlicht has a very large viewfinder lens, to serve the panoramic use, with a folding cover to mask it for the smaller stereo view. It also has two viewfinder pointers (in front of the finder glass, as illustrated in the advertisement); one for stereo and the other for panoramic use.[7]

In another stereo camera in the larger plate size, the finder, with the pointer behind the glass, is mounted on a track on the body and can slide sideways, presumably to position it for separate mono exposures as described above.[8] It is not clear that this camera can be used for panoramic photographs; certainly the viewfinder is not suited for them.

Mackenstein made both mono and stereo jumelle cameras named La Francia, each in two plate sizes. At least some of the stereo ones can be used for panoramic photography.[3][9][10] The La Francia name was also used by Mackenstein for strut-folding mono and stereo cameras.[6]

Later models (from the early years of the 20th century) include the stereo Kallista, which is masked inside to give circular stereo pairs (perhaps for portraits), and has a circular Newton finder.[11][12]


  1. 6.5x9 cm mono jumelle camera, about 1900, with friction-regulated shutter, at Sylvain Halgand's Collection Appareils.
  2. 9x12 cm mono jumelle camera, about 1900, with pneumatic shutter regulation, at Collection Appareils.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Catalogue page showing Mackenstein and other makers' cameras, including the Francia 6.5x9 cm and 9x12 cm mono jumelles, and the 6x13 cm and 9x18 cm stereo-panoramic models, with Goerz, Krauss-Zeiss or Mackenstein anastigmat lenses, at Collection Appareils.
  4. 9x12 cm mono jumelle camera with 150 mm f/6.8 Goerz Dagor Series III lens, sold at the fifteenth Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 23 May 2009.
  5. 6.5x9 cm mono jumelle camera with right-angled finder and 110 mm f/8 Carl Zeiss Jena Anastigmat, sold in September 2006 by Auction Team Breker in Cologne.
  6. 6.0 6.1 McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p641.
  7. 6x13 cm stereo-panoramic jumelle camera with 90 mm Goerz Anastigmat Series III, no. 0 lenses and panoramic Newton finder, sold at the eighth Westlicht auction, on 27 November 2005.
  8. 9x18 cm stereo jumelle camera with 110 mm f/8 Krauss-Zeiss Protar lenses, sold at the nineteenth Westlicht auction, on 28 May 2011.
  9. 9x18 cm Francia stereo-panoramic jumelle camera, serial no. 8667, with 120 mm f/6.3 Krauss-Zeiss Tessar lenses and panoramic Newton finder, sold at the fourth Westlicht auction on 22 November 2003.
  10. 6x13 cm Francia stereo (apparently not panoramic) camera, serial no. 8006, with lenses by Balbreck of Paris, two-speed 'I' and 'B' shutter and normal (i.e. not panoramic) Newton finder, sold in September 2006 by Auction Team Breker in Cologne.
  11. Kallista, serial no. 8873, at (Archived at in November 2017; several excellent pictures of the camera).
  12. 6x13 cm Kallista, serial no. 9071, with Berthiot Perigraphe lenses, sold at the fourth Westlicht auction.