Mars 99

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The Mars 99 is a camera for 9x12 plates, made in about 1895[1] by Wünsche of Dresden. It is wooden-bodied, with black leather covering. It has a 150 mm f/12 Aplanat lens (the same design as a Rapid Rectilinear), and a rotary shutter.[1]

The camera illustrated here differs significantly from an example sold at Westlicht.[2] Most importantly, the camera sold at Westlicht has a plate-changing mechanism, with a lever on the front, between the two viewfinders, and a plate-counter dial on the top (that is, it is a falling-plate magazine camera). The one shown here lacks the plate-changing lever, and appears to have a viewing hood at the back (if there is a ground-glass screen, there can hardly be a magazine of plates). Also, the example illustrated here shows viewfinders with hoods, and thus probably of the Watson type with a small ground glass; however, the camera sold at Westlicht clearly has brilliant finders. The lens and shutter unit appears the same on both cameras, however.

The camera, if actually a magazine detective camera, is a successor to the earlier Mars Camera, which has a rather more cumbersome plate-changing method, using a sliding wooden box on the outside of the body to move plates between the magazine and the exposing position.


  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). p1018.
  2. Mars 99, serial no. 897, sold at the second/third Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 23 May 2003.