Fotobras SA was a camera-maker in Curitiba, Brazil. The company is known only for box cameras for 2¼x3¼-inch exposures on 120 film, probably made in the 1960s. Most of the cameras are styled rather closely after Kodak Brownie cameras. They are metal-bodied, with black leatherette covering, and with the film loaded on a removable insert (also strikingly like the Brownie's). The front plate of the camera in particular is decorated to resemble that of a Brownie, printed with narrow horizontal stripes; this also bears Fotobras' crest between the two finders; a yellow tree on a red shield, and the Fotobras name, below a crown. The camera model name and company name are printed at the bottom of the front plate. The lens is mounted in a shallow stepped recess in the front plate, that serves as a hood. It has brilliant finders for horizontal and vertical orientation.
The Brasilmatic is fairly well-specified. It has a pull-out tab to give 'B' shutter ('pose'), a socket for a cable release, and a sliding shutter lock. Some examples also have a pull-out tab with two apertures, f/12 and f/22, also marked with 'sun' and 'cloud' symbols.
The Optomatic has a focusing lens, with symbols for a portrait, a group, etc. It has similar exposure controls to the Brasilmatic. It has black stripes on the front.
The Unicamatic has only a simple shutter release with no other exposure controls. There is also a Unicamatic II which appears identical, other than having blue-green stripes on the front instead of grey.
A Brazilian collector's site, Cameras Antigas shows cameras of the Arrow brand, which are said to have been made by Fotobras. The Arrow Jr is a simple box camera, very like the Unicamatic. It has brownish vertical stripes on the front plate, which does not carry the Fotobras name or crest, only 'ARROW JR' in large italic capitals. The controls of the camera resemble those of Fotobras cameras. There is also a better box camera, the Arrow 50, with similar text but other styling quite unlike the Fotobras cameras, and not attributed to Fotobras by Cameras Antigas. The Arrow-flex Modelo 1 has similar styling, but is a pseudo-TLR. It has no exposure controls. It seems odd that Fotobras would make a pseudo-TLR for another brand and not release one under their own name, but none has been seen.
image by silviospada3 (Image rights)
image by eolobrasil (Image rights)
- Unsurprisingly, there has been more than one company named Fotobras; there is currently one named Fotobras Fotossensaveis do Brasil, based in São Paolo, but this is unrelated, having been in business only since 1974.
- Discussion forum post on the Unicamatic and another Brazilian box camera at Collection Appareils, with pictures of the Unicamatic, and noting the similarity to the Brownie Flash II.
- Brasilmatic with aperture slider: a photo-set in Paolo Perci Rocha's Flickr site; several pictures of the camera.
- Brasilmatic without aperture slider, but otherwise similar to the above example, in guilherment's Flickr site.
- A number of cameras including several by Fotobras, at Cameras Antigas. A single picture of each, with brief notes in Portuguese. A large number of entries are simply placed one after the other on a single page, in no particular order.