Certo KB 24

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The KB 24 compact camera, a very simple camera intended for beginners or children, was produced by the German maker Certo-Kamera-Werk of Dresden in the late 1960s.

The camera was practically a twin version of the popular Certo SL 100, with nearly the same external appearance. It also used 35 mm film, had 24x24 mm square frame size and was equipped with a 1:11 fixed focus lens, allowing taking pictures from 1.3 m to infinity. The shutter offered just two speeds - 1/30 s (marked with a lightning symbol) and 1/90 s (sun symbol). No other settings were possible.
Black and white or colour films from 16 DIN to 20 DIN were recommended for the camera; the 1/90 s setting was appropriate for 20 DIN films in sunny conditions, while 1/30 s for flash photography, 20 DIN films in cloudy conditions or 16 DIN films in sunny conditions.

The KB 24 could theoretically use two film standards - 35 mm film loaded in the 135 type cassette OR in the Orwo Schnellade spool-less cassette.[1] This allowed taking 27 square pictures on a film for 20 standard 24x36 mm frames, 50 pictures on a 36-frame film, or 16 pictures on the SL film. The frame counter was of the "countdown" type and blocked the film advance lever after reaching 0, to prevent the film being torn off from the cassette. Thus the counter had to be appropriately set after loading the film: to 50 in case of the 36-frame film, to 30 with the 20-frame film or to 20 with the SL film (two of these positions were marked with triangular marks on the counter, see below).
An X type flash could be synchronized via a hot shoe.
The KB 24 could also use put-on filters and close-up lenses of the 32 mm size.

A pronounced external difference between the KB 24 and SL 100 was presence of a rewind knob on the underside of the KB 24. The camera was loaded from the bottom, after removing the lower body cover, held by a revolving catch. As the rewind knob was coupled with the 135 type cassette reel by a friction clutch only, care had to be taken during loading to rotate the rewind knob clockwise before closing the camera, in such a way, that a dot on the knob was placed against a dot on the cover; this ensured the clutch was wide open and could accommodate the reel.
The camera had no take-up reel, the 135 type film was just pushed from a cassette into the take-up chamber, where it rolled freely inside a metal stripe guide. There was no need to unlock the film advance to rewind a finished film, only the rewind knob had to be operated. Turning the knob counter-clockwise closed the clutch, engaging the cassette reel.

When the SL type film was used, there was no possibility to rewind the finished film, and so an empty take up cassette had to be placed inside the metal stripe guide in the take up chamber.

SL capability mystery
Available sources seems to suggest that two slightly different variants of the KB 24 were eventually made, even if they were not actually recognised by the designation.
Original German manual and advertisement leaflet, both dated 1967, as well as the newspaper advertisement linked below[2] state, the camera could use both 135 and SL films. Such a camera had two triangle marks on the frame counter - at numbers 50 (for 36-frame 135 type film) and 20 (for SL film), while there was no mark at the number 30 (for 20-frame 135 type film).
However, a Polish manual from 1968 does not mention the possibility of using SL type films at all, and the camera frame counter has the two setting marks for 50 and 30 frames, i.e. appropriate for the 135 film. Also Wurst (1969) clearly recognizes Certo KB 24 for 135 films and Certo SL 100 for SL films. It seems therefore probable, that either an export version of the camera was non intended for SL films, either the KB 24 was officially limited to 135 films after the Certo SL 100 had been introduced.


  1. Strangely, this possibility is not always mentioned, see below.
  2. The advertisement is dated 1963 at the original website, what is apparently wrong, as the ad already uses the name ORWO, which was introduced for the East German Agfa plant in 1964 only. As the 1967 leaflet calls the KB 24 a "new camera" - so the correct date of the ad is most probably 1968.


  • Certo KB 24 camera manual (German), 1967.
  • Certo KB 24 camera manual (Polish), 1968.
  • Wurst W.: Fotobuch für alle; VEB Fotokinoverlag Leipzig, Leipzig, 1969.


In German :