Certo Dollina II 1936

Tomei Collection


Certo-Camera-Werk was founded in Dresden in 1902 manufacturing a number of cameras. In 1935 they introduced the 35mm Dollina model which was a significant and successful camera.  Within a year the company made available the Dollina II which had a coupled rangefinder somewhat indelicately placed on top of the Dollina I body.  This model was sold for about one year before the company introduced an improved model III in 1937, while at the same time selling a simplified and cheaper model II rebadged as the Dollina 0.

 

This example shown below appears to be nickel and black enamel and has the Cassar f/2.9 lens with the Compur Rapid shutter.  The body is serial no.9560; mounted are no.5355516 Compur-Rapid shutter, and nr.334651 Cassar f/2.9 lens.  The coupled rangefinder was apparently improved in later versions of this model at about serial number 25,000+ which included a reduced height, addition of a spirit level and contrasting orange filter on the reference image optics.  It is known that later examples of this model produced in late 1938 through 1939 became available with a high quality Carl Zeiss Tessar f/2.8 50mm lens with a chrome plated upper RF housing, knobs and trim.

Here the front of the rangefinder is marked Certo Dollina, Dresden 46.  This refers to the Kleinzschachwitz region to the east.  This designation appears only on early versions of the Dollina II that have the noticeably taller rangefinder  mounted on top of the body.  Subsequent versions having a slightly reduced profile are not marked with the Dresden 46.

The buttons located on the front rectangular assembly placed just above the door control the door latch and the frame counter are important. The frame counter had two functional controls, the sliding bar seen in the closed/locked position to the right on this assembly, and the round button immediately to its left which when unlocked ratchets the frame counter downward (two frames at a time - oddly) for resetting.

In order to release the rewind lock, one must lift the forward winding knob and rotate it about 1/3 turn clockwise.  It will lock in that position and simultaneously release the rewind lock.  The exposed film can then be rewound back into the cassette.

Of the two examples of this model that are in the collection, this one is more worn from the decades of use.  However, the shutter works well and the Cassar lens produces interesting images and it is a pleasure to carry in a coat pocket for a day of walking around old towns here in the middle of Italy.

 

Among several minor changes that were made to various versions is the frame counter. On this early Dollina II, the first design rangefinder was mounted on top of the body leaving the frame counter barely visible.  Later rangefinder designs with lower profiles revealed a bit more of the frame counter. 

 

Recent Auction Prices:  Recent prices on eBay have ranged between $50 and $90 in good to excellent condition.