Regula Olympia Auto-Set

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The Regula Olympia Auto-Set was a 35mm viewfinder camera made at Bad Liebenzell in the Black Forest by King KG in the early 1960s as a part of their Regula brand. These are a series of semi and fully automatic cameras. They have a distinctive look from other Regula cameras due to the larger light meter and viewfinder with the front mounted shutter release.

The Auto mode

[1] The automatic exposure system is simple but rather inflexible. Depending upon the film speed chosen, the Prontor shutter selects a specific, fixed, shutter speed e.g. 10ASA selects 1/30th, 24ASA selects 1/60th, 50ASA selects 1/125th, 100ASA selects 1/250th and 200ASA selects 1/500th. The built-in selenium exposure meter then just selects the appropriate aperture, a selection which is visible in a small angled mirror in the top of the viewfinder.

The problem with this arrangement is that even in bright sunlight the exposure system selects an aperture between f/8 & f/11 and on an overcast day there can be insufficient light for automatic photography, even at f/2.8. Although it is possible to turn the camera's selector dial away from 'Auto' and use the 'Flash' setting, which gives manual control of all apertures at a fixed 1/30th, it would take an experienced user to understand how this might extend picture taking in dull light. Once the camera is turned away from 'Auto', the exposure system is turned off and gives no exposure guidance.

When there is insufficient light the visible indication in the viewfinder shows a red background to a 'lightning' symbol, advising the use of flash. As stated above the 'Flash' setting decouples the automatic exposure system and enables all apertures to be manually selected at a 1/30th fixed shutter speed. Selecting the Bulb setting automatically provides a fixed, full f/2.8 aperture.

Olympia Auto-Set I

  • Lens: Steinheil Munchen Cassar 45mm f/2.8
  • Shutter: Prontor Lux
  • Shutter speed range: 1/30-1/500th + B
  • Focus areas: 1m-Infinity
  • ASA/ISO range: 10-400
  • Flash: PC socket on the front, 1/30th sync in flash mode

This is a fully automatic camera in auto mode, it displays the aperture to be used in the viewfinder, but you can't change it. The camera supports film speeds from ASA 10 to 400, selectable on the front ring of the lens by using a button and turning the ring.

Olympia Auto-Set II

  • Lens: Isco-Gottingen Color-Isconar 45mm f/2.8
  • Shutter: Prontor-Mat-S
  • Shutter speed range: 1/30-1/500th + B
  • Focus areas: 1m-Infinity
  • ASA/ISO range: 10-400
  • Flash: PC socket on the front, 1/30th sync in flash mode

This is a fully automatic camera in auto mode, it displays the shutter/aperture combination to be used in the viewfinder, but you can't change it. It has a flash mode where you can change the aperture but the shutter is fixed at 1/30th, bulb mode allows you to change the aperture as well. The camera supports film speeds from ASA 10 to 400, selectable on the top of the camera with a dial.

Olympia Auto-Set III

  • Lens: Isco-Gottingen Color-Isconar 45mm f/2.8
  • Shutter: Prontor-Matic
  • Shutter speed range: 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500th + B
  • Focus areas: 1m-Infinity
  • ASA/ISO range: 10-800

This is a shutter priority camera in auto mode, it displays the aperture to be used in the viewfinder, but you can't change it in auto mode. This is the only Auto-Set to have a full manual option with selectable shutter speeds and apertures, and one of the Regula cameras to have a 1/500th top speed available. The camera supports film speeds from ASA 10 to 800, selectable by pressing a button on the shutter speed ring then turning the ring to the correct film speed. The camera has a cable release socket on the side of the body close to the PC socket for the flash.

Notes

  1. http://www.photomemorabilia.co.uk/Ilford/Sportsmaster.html

Links & References

Regula Olympia Auto-Set I by Sylvain Halgand (Google Translate)

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