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The Damen-Kamera[1] is an unusual and elegant folding camera made by Certo in Dresden in about 1906.[2] Certo had started as a small camera workshop, but had expanded in new premises; this camera was one of the first to be made with the Certo name.[2] Sources disagree as to the size of plates it uses: listings at Westlicht gives it as 6×9 cm;[3][4] one at Christie's gives 6.5×9 cm;[5] and McKeown gives it as quarter-plate (3¼×4¼ inch or 83×108 mm).[6]

The camera body folds up in the form of a small handbag, in the shape of a lyre, and covered with alligator leather. When unfolded, it has a pale green leather bellows and bright nickel-plated metalwork.

The lens is only identified on one of the examples cited,[3] where it is a Monoscop f/8 by Mono-Werk of Magdeburg.[7] The shutter is a Mono, also by Mono-Werk, with speeds 1/25 - 1/100 second, plus 'B' and 'T'. It is unlikely that these are the correct lens and shutter for the camera; they bear no similarity to the other example with a lens, where the aperture plate is at least marked for Certo.[4]

The camera has front rise and shift. It has a brilliant finder, a focus scale on the bed, and a ground glass focusing screen. There are two tripod bushes, on the base and side.

McKeown states that the same camera was sold by Lancaster in England as the Ladies' Gem Camera, and by Hesekiel in Berlin as the Pompadour.[6] One of the auction listings at Westlicht states that only five examples are known to survive.[3]


  1. Ladies' Camera - an early attempt by a camera maker at creating cameras with an appeal to women photographers.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Michael Sorms, Certo history at Dresdner-Kameras.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Damen-Kamera sold at the 16th Westlicht Photographica Auction, in December 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Damen-Kamera sold at the 7th Westlicht auction, in May 2005.
  5. Damen-Kamera, without the lens and shutter, sold at auction in March 2003 by Christie's in London.
  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). p195.
  7. McKeown, p695.