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Jos-Pe Farben-Photo GmbH was a camera-maker in Hamburg and later Munich.[1][2] The company was named for Joseph Peter Welker, the main owner of the company. It is known only for the Tri-Color Camera,[3] made between about 1924 and 1934[4] a metal-bodied plate camera for 'one-shot' colour separation photography.

The camera was made in two sizes, for 4.5x6 cm and 4x5 inch plates, according to McKeown,[1] though no examples of the larger camera have been seen. It has three positions for a dark-slide to be attached, at the back and on each side. These are engraved R, G and B (red, green and blue), as are the dark-slides themselves: an appropriate coloured filter (the same size as the plate) is placed in front of each position. Each is mounted on a short bellows; all three bellows are operated together, with a radial focusing control at the front of the camera. This focusing method avoids some problems of sharpness, and of accuracy of the proportions into which the light is split by the internal beam-splitting system, if the lens is moved relative to that system.[2]

The standard lens (for the 4.5x6 cm camera) is usually a 10.5 cm f/2.5 Steinheil Anastigmat Quinar, in a dial-set Compound shutter with speeds 1 - 1/100 second, plus 'B' and 'T'. An 18 cm f/3 Steinheil 'Jos-Pe Cassar' was sold at auction in 2006.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 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). p452.
  2. 2.0 2.1 US Patent 1592705 (PDF, 128 kb) describing the cam and bellows system for focus adjustment, granted in 1926 to Hans Piloty of Berlin-Wilmersdorf on behalf of Jos-Pe Farben-Photo of Hamburg, at Google Patents. The patent refers to a German one of 1924.
  3. It is not clear that this is really the name the camera was sold under. McKeown uses this name, as does Westlicht when in English: in German, Westlicht simply calls it a Drei-Farben Kamera. The announcement by DGfP cited above refers to the camera (or perhaps only to an early type of it) as 'type Uka' (perhaps Ur-Kamera; original camera).
  4. Jos-Pe Tri-Color Camera (JPG image) 'type Uka', dated to about 1926, with an unknown lens, and engraved only 'Jos-Pe Hamburg' (not München); this camera has wooden dark-slide holders. In the announcement of a conference, Auf der Suche nach natuerlichen Farben - 150 Jahre Farbphotographie, 28-30 October 2011, at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie.
  5. Steinheil Jos-Pe Cassar 18 cm f/3 sold in September 2006 by Auction Team Breker in Cologne.


Examples sold at auction:

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