Ami (WZFO)

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History

The Ami, Ami 2 and Ami 66 are toy viewfinder cameras made of plastic by the Polish firm Warszawskie Zakłady Fotooptyczne (WZFO).

Made around 1960, the Ami takes 6×6 cm exposures on 120 film. It has a 75/8 simple, fixed-focus meniscus lens, and only one shutter speed of 1/50 sec (with flash synchronization for flash bulbs only). Aperture is f/16 for sunny and f/8 for cloudy. According to Michał R. Adamczyk, "[its body] was made of 'styropol' - Polish high impact polystyrene, which bettered aesthetics and reduced weight" compared with the Druh. The camera was intended for use with 40-50 ASA (17-18 DIN) films on clear days, with aperture 16 in the sunlight and 8 in the shadow or under light clouds. On cloudy days, 100-200 ASA (21-24 DIN) films and aperture 8 were recomended.

The Ami 2 is a revised version of the Ami; it offers adjustable shutter speed of 1/30, 1/60 and 1/125 sec plus B. The lens is now built of two glass elements and can be focused in two settings: for 2,5-4 meters and 4 meters to infinity. The camera has a built-in double exposure safety, and a standard cable release socket. Contrary to the Ami and Ami 66 it can be used with electronic flashes at all shutter speeds, while with flash bulbs at 1/30 sec only.

The Ami 66 looks more dramatic, the front of its lens assembly containing a fat circle of fake photocells, as if in tribute to the Lord Martian. Again according to Adamczyk, its shutter is simpler (and worse) than that of the original Ami. The shutter speeds are 1/50 sec and B, while flash synchronization is for flash bulbs only. The lens is a single element, fixed focus one again; the camera is generally a modernized and simplified original Ami, offering the same performance (just the shutter setting B was added). The Ami 66 was apparently being built from early 1970s to around 1980.

The example examined[1] was, surprisingly, accompanied by an all-leather case: a slightly tight fit, but thanks to its convex back very obviously made for a camera without a film plane and almost certainly designed for this camera: the inside of the snout of the case was marked either "1972" or "10/72" and the inside of the strap "15 Czerw 1973" (15 June 1973); all combining to suggest camera manufacture in the early 1970s.

There is no word ami in Polish. French was a widely studied foreign language in Poland during the Communist period, and the name of this camera was probably intended to evoke the French word ami ("friend").

Specifications

Ami

  • Frame size: 56x56 mm (120 film type)
  • Film adwance: manual, with red window
  • Lens: fixed, meniscus, 75 mm 1:8
  • Focusing: fix focus, from 2 m to infinity
  • Aperture: 1:8, 1:16
  • Shutter: two leaf everset shutter, one 1/50 s shutter speed
  • Cold shoe and standard PC socket
  • Flash sync: flashbulbs only
  • Tripod thread: 3/8"
  • Dimensions: 143x82x100 mm


Ami 2

  • Frame size: 56x56 mm (120 film type)
  • Film adwance: manual, with red window
  • Lens: fixed, achromatic (two elements in one group), 75 mm 1:8
  • Focusing: two zone focusing from 2.5 m to infinity
  • Aperture: 1:8, 1:16
  • Shutter: two leaf everset shutter, 1/30 s, 1/60 s, 1/125 s and B shutter speeds
  • Cable release socket
  • Double exposure safety
  • Cold shoe and standard PC socket
  • Flash sync: flashbulbs - 1/30 s, electronic flash - full
  • Tripod thread: 3/8"
  • Dimensions: 143x83x101 mm


Ami 66

  • Frame size: 56x56 mm (120 film type)
  • Film adwance: manual, with red window
  • Lens: fixed, meniscus, 75 mm 1:8
  • Focusing: fix focus, from 2 m to infinity
  • Aperture: 1:8, 1:16
  • Shutter: guillotine everset shutter, 1/50 s and B shutter speeds
  • Cold shoe and standard PC socket
  • Flash sync: flashbulbs only
  • Tripod thread: 3/8"
  • Dimensions: 143x82x100 mm


Notes

  1. By Camerapedia editor Hoary.

Links

In English:

In Polish :

Sources

  • Ami camera instruction manual
  • Ami 2 camera instruction manual (actually an addition to the Ami manual)
  • Ami 66 camera instruction manual
  • Ami, Ami 2 and Ami 66 cameras.
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