Gloriette

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The Gloriette is a series of 35 mm viewfinder cameras made by Braun of Nuremberg in the 1950s. It represents a change in style for Braun: as pointed out by Alf Sigaro, the Gloriette is in keeping with the common style of similarly-specified cameras in other makers' ranges; the Agfa Silette, Kodak Retinette, etc., while Braun's other (better-specified) range, the Paxette rangefinders, kept their own distinct styling.[1]

There were two generations of the Gloriette. Shortly after introducing the first model, another with a light meter was added. Both of these models were updated in 1958.[2]

Gloriette (1954)

The first Gloriette has a coated 45 mm f/2.8 Steinheil Cassar, with front-element focusing. The shutter is a Vero, Pronto or Prontor-SVS,[2] three Gauthier shutters offering increasing levels of specification (the Vero and Pronto giving speeds 1/25 - 1/200 second, plus 'B'; the Prontor-SVS giving a top speed of 1/300 second). All the shutters are synchronised for flash, with a PC socket, and cocked by advancing the film. The Pronto and Prontor have a self-timer.

The camera has a reverse-Galilean viewfinder in a small raised top housing, with a cold shoe on top. Film advance is by a winding lever. The mechanical linkage of this is rather primitive, so that as the amount of film already on the take-up spool increases, the necessary throw of the lever to advance the film decreases.[1] The shutter release is threaded for a cable release.

Gloriette B (1955)

The Gloriette B has the same Cassar lens as the first model. McKeown lists only the Vero and Prontor-SVS shutters.[2] The top housing is extended to the left, to accommodate an uncoupled selenium light meter. This has a hinged cover with two slots, giving it high and low light metering ranges (with the cover closed or open). Because of the space needed for the meter, the rewind knob on the Gloriette B is slimmer than that on the first model.

Gloriette (1958)

The second model of the Gloriette has a long top housing, like the Gloriette B, but without the meter, this is just a space to engrave the camera's name (on the front) and Braun's logo (on the top). The camera also has a different, bright-finish plated front panel, and the shutter release is a plain cylinder, without the slight mushroom top of button on the earlier model; it is still threaded for a cable release.

The lens is either a Cassar, as in the previous model, or an Enna Ennagon, also a 45 mm f/2.8 lens. The shutter is again a Vero, Pronto or Prontor-SVS.

Gloriette B (1958)

The second model of the Gloriette B has the same styling features as the second Gloriette, but with the addition of the meter in the top housing. McKeown lists it only with the Cassar, in a Vero or Prontor-SVS shutter;[2] However, the example pictured here has a Staeble Kata, also a 45 mm f/2.8 lens, in the Vero.

Rebadged cameras

The Gloriette cameras were rebadged for several other companies.[2] The Gloriette was also sold as the Bolsey Explorer. The second type was rebadged as the Wittnauer Scout and the Rothlar Gazelle,[3] with these names impressed in the front of the extended top housing. The first Gloriette was sold (in Canada, according to McKeown) as the Branette; it was updated, with the new front panel, but keeping the original small viewfinder housing. The Gloriette B was sold as the Wittnauer Reporter.


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Alf Sigaro, caption to his Flickr photograph, reproduced above.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 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). p150
  3. Rothlar Gazelle with an f/2.8 Enna Stellar lens and Vero shutter (with several pictures), among past stock of English camera seller F. & S. Marriott

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