My Favourite Camera #2


with Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 1.9/40mm

  • the 3rd generation ROBOT Camera, introduced in 1952
  • body size: slightly larger than a Rollei 35 or an Olympus XA
  • a rather heavy body: 670g with the Xenon,
    i.e. 2 x the weight of Rollei 35 or 3 x that of Olympus XA,
    almost as heavy as an EOS 350D with the kit lens
  • spring motor drive, up to 25 shots per winding (optimistic)
  • a rotary shutter: B, 1/2 s - 1/500 s, X sync at all speeds
  • no autoburst, i.e. single shot only, 3-5 manual shots/s,
    at least my copy slows down near the end of winding
  • the shutter is quiet but film advance is rather noisy
  • the simple mechanism is very robust, tested 60,000 times,
    withstands heavy vibration and works at extreme temperatures:
    during WWII, Robot II was used as a gun camera by Luftwaffe.
  • frame size: 24 mm x 24 mm, 55 shots on a 36 exp film
  • uses the standard 35 mm cartridge, not the "Type K" of Robot I
  • the viewfinder can be switched to use a secondary ocular
    at the top left edge of the body, allows for sideways shooting
  • lenses: proprietary, Robot 26 mm screw mount

Xenon 1.9/40mm for Robot

  • the standard lens, a Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 1.9/40mm,
    is a double-Gauss design (like the CZ Planars); single coated
  • the mechanical finish of this lens is just something unbelievable,
    none of my Leitz, Zeiss or S-M-C Takumar lenses comes even near
  • scale-focusing, color coded DOF markings on the lens barrel
  • the FOV corresponds to a 95 mm lens on a 6x6 camera,
    e.g. Rolleiflex, but with the DOF of a 61 mm lens

Some Hasty Shots

Fujicolor Superia 200, scanned with an Epson 4990:

Converted to B&W:

Ilford Delta 400 at ISO400, focus by guesstimate:

Tele-Xenar 3.8/75mm for Robot

  • a small but very heavy lens, weight about 200 g
  • scale-focusing, color coded DOF markings on the lens barrel
  • the FOV corresponds roughly to a 180 mm lens on a 6x6 camera
  • requires an external viewfinder

Some Test Shots

Ilford Delta 400 at ISO400, focus by guesstimate, exposure by "Sunny 16"
( NB. test shots, I didn't bother to remove the dust specks )

NB. some camera shake due to too slow a shutter speed

Fuji Provia 400X, focus by guesstimate, exposure by "Sunny 16"


My Two Most Favourite Cameras

A beauty from 1933 and another from 1952.
These two cameras just work.

Street Shooting from the Waist Level
Everything is preset: the speed, the aperture and the focus zone.
The right hand will cover the rest of the camera and trigger with the thumb.

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