Pilot Reflex

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The Pilot (often called the Pilot Reflex, though the camera itself is only marked 'Pilot', and contemporary advertisements use this name for it) is a folding twin lens reflex camera for 3x4 cm pictures on 127 roll film. It was made by Kamera Werkstätten Guthe & Thorsch in Dresden, Germany between 1931 and 1937.[1] The folding design is unusual for a TLR, but not unique; the German Perfekta, Superfekta and Zeca-Flex are other examples.

The camera was made with a number of taking lenses: examples have been seen with an 5 cm f/2.9 Xenar, an 5 cm f/2.8 Zeiss Tessar or 4.5 cm f/2.0 Biotar, and a 5 cm f/2.7 Meyer Makro-Plasmat. McKeown lists other lenses including a 5 cm f/3.5 Elmar. The viewing lens is marked only for KW.

As most TLR cameras, the Pilot has a folding waist-level finder, with a focusing loupe, mounted in a plate that shades the whole focus hood when unfolded. There is also a folding reverse-Galilean viewfinder on the left side of the body, which facilitates vertically-oriented photographs (the waist-level focusing hood does not have the common 'sports-finder' feature). Curiously, the Galilean finder is placed at the same height as the viewing lens; it might seem wiser to put it closer to the taking lens to reduce the parallax error. The frame counter is a ruby window in the back of the camera, with a sliding cover. The camera has a dual-stroke advance lever. This does not cock the shutter: the Compur shutter is set and tripped with levers on the shutter body.

The camera is focused with a knob on the right side of the body, above the advance lever.

Notes

  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). p 584.


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