Perla

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The Perla is an 35mm Rangefinder camera, built by the Italian manufacturer Gamma around 1951-1957. Two base models were offered the Perla and the Perla II. It appears that both were sold at the same time as the serial numbers are intermingled. The total production of the Perla models needs to be researched.[1] The Perla was fitted with a range non-removeable 50mm lenses (see models). The camera back slides off, held in place with a locking lever on the camera's base [2]. As was customary for the time, the Perla was fitted with a cold shoe.

Models

Perla (I)

Produced 1951–1957(?)[3] The focussing helical of the Perla (I) models is moved with a small lever at the front of the body akin to the construction of the Leica lenses at the time.

IAv1: with Koristka 55mm f3.5

IAv2: with Schneider Xenar 50mm f2.8 in a Synchro-Compur shutter

The top of the housing, as well as the screw-on lens cap carry the model name in small letters, underlined by a stylized Greek letter γ (gamma). The front of the housing is blank.

IBv1: with Steinheil Cassar 50mm f3.5 in a Prontor-SV shutter[4]

IBv2: with Schneider Xenar 50mm f3.5 in a Prontor-SV shutter

IBv3: with Ennagon Xenar 45mm f2.8 in a Pronto shutter

The top of the housing, as well as the screw-on lenscap carry the model name in small letters, underlined by a stylized Greek letter γ (gamma). The front of the top housing has the text 'Made in Italy", while the back of the housing reads 'Patented' underneath the viewfinder window and "Gamma Roma" near the film winder.

In addition the lenses listed above, Perla (I) with Schneider Radionar 50mm f/2.8 and f/3.5, Schneider Xenon 50mm f/2.0 and Staeble-Kata 50mm f/3.5 are reported to exist (but specific submodels not clear)

Perla II

Produced 1955– [5] The top of the housing carries the model name 'perla' inscribed in small letters, underlined by a stylized Greek letter γ (gamma) with a Roman 'II' added underneath the line. As with the Perla (I), the front of the top housing has the text 'Made in Italy", while the back of the housing reads 'Patented' underneath the viewfinder window and "Gamma Roma" near the film winder. Compared with the Perla (I), the camera has a lever added to the film winder. As the underlying mechanics for the film transport are the same as that for the Perla (I), the lever rests on the front of the camera and is moved clockwise. The locking lever for the camera back has been replaced with a key that can be folded into a recess. The focussing ring of the Perla II has deeply serrated edges.

Stella

The Gamma Stella seems to have been a simplified version of the Perla, introduced about 1953, where the rangefinder was substituted by a simple viewfinder.

Notes

  1. To make a start, here are some observed serial numbers: Perla (I) 12243, 14362, 14536, 17018, 21028, Perla II: 10686, 11083, 11085, 11459, 11479, 11717,
  2. With the markings Aprire (open), Chiudere (close)
  3. Listed in Catalogue Photo-Plait 1954, p. 25; 1955, p. 31 (both with the Cassar); 1957, p. 35 (with Ennagon)
  4. see for ex. Guido's Museum
  5. Listed in Catalogue Photo-Plait 1955, p. 31 (with two lens options); 1956, p. 33 (with Xenar)
  6. Seen in various on-line auctions
  7. Seen in various on-line auctions

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