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Heli-Clack cameras are a range of well-specified folding plate cameras made by Rietzschel in Munich, Germany, from 1909 until the company was taken over by Agfa in 1925.[1] Some (not all) can be identified by the name 'Heli-Clack' on the front of the lens standard.

There are separate ranges of horizontally and vertically oriented cameras, each made in 9×12, 10×15 and 13×18 cm sizes. The horizontal cameras are triple-extension, the vertical ones only double-extension. They are all metal-bodied, with black leather covering and bellows. There are no brown-leather covered Luxus versions of the Heli-Clack.

Like many folding cameras, these were available with a very wide range of lenses, all Rietzschel's own, including the Sextar, Dialyt, Apotar, the Linear in several maximum apertures from f/6.8 to f/4.5, the Telinear with adjustable focus and the Solinear. The shutter is an Ibso everset shutter (itself only introduced in 1908), giving speeds 1 - 1/100 second plus 'B' and 'T', or a dial-set Compound (or later Compur) set-and-release one with speeds 1 - 1/250 second, plus 'B' and 'T'.

The cameras all have rack-and-pinion focusing, with a knob set in the front of the bed on the right-hand side. They also have front rise and shift.

Some of the cameras are equipped with a folding Newton-type finder on top of the body. Others have a brilliant finder with a spirit level; in some (not all) models the level is mounted on a hinged stalk attached centrally at the top of the shutter body.


  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). p825.


  • Group of three folding plate cameras, including a 1911 9×12 Heli-Clack, with a 13.5 cm f/6.8 Rietzschel Double-Anastigmat in a Compound shutter; a lot in an auction in May 2006 by Auction Team Breker in Cologne.