Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#24 Balda Baldax

Balda Baldax

The Balda Baldax aka Balda VP or Vest Pocket, although this designation is usually applied to cameras using the 127 film, this camera using 120 film is smaller than many using 127.

It was available in 6 x 6 and 6 x 4,5 cm format.

This camera was manufactured by Balda-Werk, Max Baldeweg G.m.b.H, in Dresden, Germany.
It's a pre-war model made around 1933.

There were several models with different lens/shutter combinations, it was also marketed under different brands:

  • Müller, the Noris
  • Rodenstock, the Robra and the Ysette 
  • Porst, the Lisette.
It was also the inspiration for the Semi Olympus, the first Olympus camera, and was abundantly copied by many Japanese manufacturers.

Balda Baldax (4)

Balda Baldax (2)

Balda Baldax (1)

Balda Baldax (3)

Mine is a 6 x 4,5 cm model, 16 exposures on 120 film, with a Scheneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75 mm, 1:4,5 lens in an eight speed Compur (F. Deckel-München) shutter, 1 - 1/300, B ,T.

F. Deckel was the primitive manufacturer of the Compur shutters.

As you can see in the above pictures it's a folding bellows camera, self-erecting lens board, with a folding optical viewfinder. 
The double window on the back is a feature intended to overcome the lack of markings for 6 x 4,5 format, in the backing paper of the films of that time. So a number is advanced to left window, exposed, advanced to the right window and so on.

This is a quite small camera, perfectly pocketable.
Only 11 x 8 x 4 (9 opened) cm, 420g.

Balda VP

I bought this camera in September 2008 and it came with, as you can see in the picture above, the leather case, the remote trigger and an exposure table displayed in the next pictures

The following pictures were taken with it:

Balda Baldax - Happy Ball


Ghost in the machine

More pictures in this Flickr album

Stay tuned (o;


  1. Pérola... e a fotografar maravilhosamente... e os papiros uma preciosidade...

  2. is it possible for us to find films of this machine online_? we have one of these machines.. if you can answer me via email(mtt_bjk@hotmail.com) i will be happy.. thanks for answer

    1. This camera uses the readily available 120 film, that you can get at any good photo store or on-line.

  3. how much are these worth?

  4. Bekam soeben so eine Baldax geschenkt.

  5. I just finished 'restoring' function to the shutter of a Robra with very similar Trinar lens and shutter, just not with 'Compur' under the lens. I sprayed contact cleaner to dissolve hardened oil and then a good lubricant, working the shutter until the slower speeds worked. B and T do not work, but 1 second and up seem accurate. I had to remove the rear element to clean the blades of excess oil spray . . . cleaned the rear element and lubed the film advance. Ready for my first roll of 120.