The Spektaretta is a camera that makes colour images by a colour-separation method: the image from the lens is split into three by a system of prisms, to make three simultaneous exposures (24×24 mm) through red, green and blue filters, onto monochrome 35 mm film. It is small for a three-colour camera, weighing just 1100 g; most three-colour cameras are for sheet film. The camera was made in 1939 in Prerov in the Czech Republic (what was then Czechoslovakia, just before it was occupied by Germany), by Optikotechna, the company which was nationalised as Meopta shortly after the Second World War. The camera is covered with leatherette (examples have been seen in brown, grey and black), with black-painted trim. The design of the Spektaretta strongly recalls a cine camera.
The lens is rather long: a 70 mm f/2.9 Spektar, with helical unit focusing down to one metre. The shutter is a Compur, with speeds 1 - 1/250 second, plus 'B', and with a delayed action (self-timer).
On the left side of the camera (considering it upright with the handle at the top, when it looks most like a cine camera) is a rather bulky telescopic finder; this is coupled to the lens focus. The view in this finder is reversed vertically and laterally. It has dioptric adjustment in the eyepiece. On the other side of the camera there is a folding frame finder, with parallax error correction by an adjustment of the rear eyepiece. Also on the right side are the film advance and rewind knobs, and a frame counter (this counts to 12; remember that three square images are recorded for each exposure, so together with significant gaps between these frames, twelve exposures fill a '36-exposure' roll of film).
The Meopta company history pages show a very similar camera (but significantly taller than the examples linked here as auction lots). The entry seems to contain several mistakes; the camera name is spelled 'Spektareta', the format given as 6×6 cm or 35 mm, and it is dated to 1950. No example of a camera for 6 cm film has been seen.
- Notes on the Spektaretta at the Czech National Technical Museum.
- 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). p761; McKeown lists the camera as Spektareta (with one 't'), but the name on the camera at Westlicht is plainly spelt with two.
- Spektaretta serial no. 2924 with brown leatherette, sold at the twentieth Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 1 November 2011; several excellent pictures, including the film chamber.
- Spektaretta serial no. 2911 with blue-grey leatherette, sold at the 22nd Westlicht auction, on 24 November 2012; again, several pictures, including the internal colour-separation filters.
- Notes on the Spektaretta at Fotoburza Praha (Prague Photo-Exchange).
- Cameras at Meopta History.