Patent Etui

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The Patent Etui are extra-slim folding plate cameras. They were manufactured in two sizes 9×12cm and 6.5×9cm by KW Kamera Werkstätten Guthe & Thorsch of Dresden between 1920 and 1938. Although originally designed for glass plates both sizes also accept Rada or Rollex 120 6×9 roll film backs as well as film packs.

Both sizes were sold in USA by Burleigh Brooks as the Kawee Camera.

The 9×12 Patent Etui weighs 815g, and was considerably smaller than most of its German competitors. In comparison a 4×5in Crown Graphic weighs 2.4kg.

The 9×12 cameras were often fitted with an f/4.5 135mm Zeiss Tessar initially in a dial-set Compur,[1] and after 1931 in the new rim-set Compur. They were also available with an f/4.5 150mm Tessar.

The 6.5×9 cameras were usually fitted with an f/4.5 105mm Zeiss Tessar, again in a dial-set Compur, and later in the new rim-set Compur. They were also available with an f/4.5 120mm Tessar. Two budget triplet lenses the f/4.5 & f/6.3 105mm Meyer Görlitz Anastigmatic Trioplan were also available, the f/4.5 in a Compur shutter and the f/6.3 in a 3 speed Vario shutter. A camera with blue bellows and covering was offered for sale at Westlicht with a 12 cm f/5.5 Meyer Doppel-Plasmat[2] (a convertible lens, allowing the rear group to be used alone as a 21 cm f/11, taking advantage of the double-extension bellows); the shutter face of that example has a triple aperture scale, allowing the shutter to be used with the Doppel-Plasmat, a Tessar, or an 8-cm wide angle lens. The focusing bed also has infinity-focus markers for the Doppel-Plasmat and wide-angle lenses, suggesting that both may originally have been supplied with the camera, giving it a useful three-lens kit.

A few Patent Etui's were also sold with lenses from a variety of other manufacturers, and there were also some variations of the two basic models, including one with no focus rack adjustment instead having a Schneider Radionar with front cell focussing, and an Ibsor shutter. Not all cameras were fitted with the sports finder.

A Japanese copy of the 6.5×9 model, called the Prince Peerless, was made from 1934.

Japanese advertisements


  1. 9x12 Patent Etui with 135mm f/4.5 Tessar in dial-set Compur, and with brown leather (decorative, not tropical), with matching pouch case and filmpack holder, and with ten (black) plate-holders and leather cases for all the holders, sold at the 36th Leitz Photographica Auction, on 13 June 2020.
  2. 6.5x9 cm Patent Etui with 12 cm f/5.5 Doppel-Plasmat, and with blue leather, offered for sale at the 28th Camera Auction by Westlicht Photographica Auction (now Leitz Photographica Auction), on 21 November 2015.