Beirette SL 300
The SL 300 is an elegant viewfinder compact camera built to a fairly typical Beirette philosophy. It is equipped with the Albada type viewfinder and the E. Ludwig Meritar 45 mm 1:2.9 or 1:2.8 lens, 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 convenient ribbed black plastic ring around the lens base, while shutter speed with a narrow plastic or metal ring at the front of the lens.
The camera is equipped with weather symbols helping in exposure setting. Shutter speed is to be set accordingly to the film speed (from 1/30 s for 25-30 ASA to 1/125 s for 100-125 ASA), while aperture appropriately for lighting conditions, from 1:16 (bright sun) to 1:5,6 (dark clouds).
The SL 300 uses standard 35 mm perforated film loaded in a spool-less SL-System cassette and takes 12 pictures of the 24x36 mm size on the SL film. The film is not rewound, but passed from one cassette into another. The film is advanced with a convenient slider on the camera back, coupled with double exposure safety blocking the shutter release button until the film is advanced for the next shot. The shutter release button is located on the body front, next to the lens, 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 fairly unusually - at the bottom of the shutter release button. The camera is fitted with a hot shoe for flash sync, while models with the 1:2.9 lens generally offer also a PC socket on the lens body. An electronic flash can be synchronized at any shutter speed, while an X type flashbulb at 1/30 s only.
A simpler model of the SL 300 is called the Beirette SL 200. Both cameras are nearly identical, differences are in minor details only. The SL 200 offers a narrow metal aperture setting ring without weather symbols (while the fixed lens base is usually made of black plastic, resembling the SL 300 aperture ring) and is equipped with a cheaper reversed Galilean viewfinder instead of the Albada one. Early SL 200 are also fitted with an ingenious 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 correct aperture.
Both the SL 200 and SL 300 were apparently produced in three basic versions (in chronological order):
- With bare metal body front, metal covered body sides, Meritar 45 mm 1:2.9 lens, Priomat shutter with PC socket and with manually reset frame counter - made from 1970 to 1972;
- With body front partially covered with leatherette, body sides made of plastic, Meritar 45 mm 1:2.9 lens, Priomat shutter with PC socket and with automatically reset frame counter - made in 1972 or from 1972 to mid 1970s;
- As the 2nd version but with Meritar 45 mm 1:2.8 lens and Priomat shutter without PC socket;
There are also examples differing with some other details, e.g. with depth of field scale replaced by a translucent plastic ring, with style of the shutter speed and aperture rings etc., as well as transitional variants, mixing features of two different versions.
|Late Beirette SL 300|
image by Chemnitzer (Image rights)
|Early Beirette SL 200|
image by Chemnitzer (Image rights)
- Film type: SL
- Frame size: 24x36 mm
- Lens: E. Ludwig Meritar 45 mm 1:2.9, later 1:2.8
- Angle of view: 51 degrees
- Shutter speeds: 1/30 s, 1/60 s, 1/125 s and B
- Aperture range: 1:2,9 (1:2.8) - 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: 280 g
- Most commonly encountered cameras have got 1:2.9 lens with PC socket or 1:2.8 lens without PC socket. On the other hand, an example of SL 200 with 1:2.8 lens with PC socket is known to Camera-wiki editor Grzesio, while cameras with 1:2.9 lens without PC socket were depicted in the original manual in 1972.
- According to www.beier-kamera.de this version was made already from 1972. Nevertheless, it seems that examples of the 2nd version (with leatherette and Meritar 45 mm 1:2.9 plus PC socket) are far too numerous to be transitional models made in or around 1972 only - they are still presented by an advertisement leaflet from 1975.
- Büttner G.: SL-System; VEB Fotokinoverlag, Leipzig, 1975.
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