Universal Heli-Clack

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The Universal Heli-Clack is a folding plate camera, made by Rietzschel in Munich, Germany, from about 1910. It is an adaptation of the 10×15 cm horizontal model of Rietzschel's Heli-Clack camera, intended for use either as a normal or stereo camera. The camera was made in three versions:

  • Type I was supplied with a single lens of about 165 mm focal length. Rietzschel's brochure for the camera[1] describes this as a panoramic camera, though this is hardly a panoramic format. The lens is mounted in an easily-exchanged lens board, so the camera may readily be converted for stereo use (or alternate lenses may be fitted).
  • Type II was supplied with a stereo pair of lenses of about 120 mm focal length, in a stereo Compound shutter, again on an exchangeable lens board.
  • Type III was supplied with both stereo lenses and a central lens for 'panoramic' photography. These are all mounted in a special Compound shutter, with a single set of controls (to set the speed and release the shutter), and a 'stereo/panorama' switch to select which shutter elements open. The camera pictured here has a Rietzschel Linear Anastigmat Serie B, f/5.5 150mm lens; the stereo lenses are un-named.

Rietzchel offered the camera with a wide choice of the company's own lenses.[1]

Like the Heli-Clack camera on which it is based, this is a triple-extension camera, allowing telephoto lenses or auxiliary-lens attachments, and close-up use. In addition, the lens standard allows a considerable amount of front rise, which is geared, and shift.

There is a folding Newton finder on top of the camera body.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1916 Brochure excerpt for the Universal Heli-Clack (following the pages on the more truly panoramic Kosmo-Clack) at Welt der Stereoskopie.