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.


  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.