Derby ID key

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Identifying your Derby

The Foth Derby comes in a bewildering range of variants. In total five discrete types can be distinguished, each with their own sub-types, lens combinations and viewfinder options, augmented by additional variations subject to the market the camera was sold to. The technical and construction details common to all Derby models are:

  • Cloth focal plane shutter with speed settings of B, 1/25, 1/50, 1/75, 1/100, 1/200, and 1/500.
  • Leather-covered aluminium body construction, with a strut folding system.
  • Lens with helical focussing.

The dichotomous key provided below provides an avenue at identifying the types of Foth Derby. Given the confusing similarity of models and variants, it is recommended that you follow the steps, rather than scanning for criteria. When you have identified your model, click on the model name to see a full description. The typology set out here was created by observation of a large number of Derby cameras in the author’s collection,[1] with additional data and observation by a wide range of camera collectors.

STEP 1 Does the Derby have a self-timer?

No

‘Foth Derby” embossed on the leather
Are the windows rimmed?
Yes :→ Derby 1A
No
negatives 24 x 36 :→ Derby 1B
negatives 30 x 40 :→ (existence unclear)
‘Gallus” embossed on the leather
Gallus Derby

Yes

Does the Derby have a rangefinder?
No
GO TO STEP 2
Yes
Rangefinder mounted on lens board
removable (separation line visible)?
Yes
Derby 4a (existence unclear)
No
Derby 4b
Range finder mounted on camera body
‘Foth Paris on winding knob?”
Derby 5

STEP 2 What windows does the camera back show?

Two round red windows

Does the lens have a serial number?
No
‘Germany’ on the advance knob?
No
lens f2.5
Derby 2A/2.5
lens f3.5
Derby 2A/3.5
No, but 'Germany' embossed in the leather
Subvariant 2Ai
Yes
lens f2.5
Derby 2B/2.5
lens f3.5
Derby 2B/3.5
Yes
Pressure plate margin (see photos below)
notched
lens f2.5
Derby 2C/2.5
lens f3.5
Derby 2C/3.5
straight
lens f2.5
Derby 2D/2.5
lens f3.5
Derby 2D/3.5

Two oval red and two oval green windows

Does the lens have a serial number?
No
lens f2.5
Derby 3A/2.5
lens f3.5
Derby 3A/3.5
Yes
Foth Anastigmat
lens f2.5
Derby 3B/2.5
lens f3.5
Derby 3B/3.5
Zeiss Tessar
lens f2.5
Derby 3C/2.5
lens f3.5
Derby 3C/3.5
Dallmeyer Dallon
lens f5.6
Derby 3D

ID images

Notes

  1. Photographica Collection Dirk HR Spennemann
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