James's Camera Collection: Braun Super Paxette
Braun Super Paxette West Germany 35mm cameras
Braun Super Paxette
Camera type: Rangefinder
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1953-1954
Approx. street value: low-moderate

Picked up for $5 from a yard sale. Everything I know about it comes from the now defunct websites CameraMentor and Retrography (websites are via archive.org).

This is a Super Paxette; the Super means that it has a coupled-rangefinder. Simple Paxettes did not. I also have the type with the interchangable lens; some were fixed. According to the website, there are a number of different makes of lenses for this camera; mine's a 45mm Steinheil Cassaret ƒ/2.8, which I believe is a good lens. I haven't tried it out though.

The lens is very close to the 39mm Leica mount but not quite. Of course. But it is compatible with my DeJur D-3. Go figure.

Since Retrography is gone I'm going to quote their old webpage below. Italics are mine, and I made a few minor changes to spelling, syntax, and formatting, but I did not alter the meaning. Comments I made are in brackets [ ].

Carl Braun Camera-Werk
Nürnberg - Germany

There seems to be different accounts as to when the Carl Braun Camera-Werk was founded. Some sources say 1906 as "Karl Braun KG", others say 1915 as "Carl Braun Camera-Werk". To be honest I don't know which is correct. However most sources agree, that the production of cameras began in 1948 with rollfilm cameras, followed by 35mm cameras in 1950 when the Paxette was introduced.

Most of the Paxette's and Super Paxette's featured interchangeable lenses, mostly from the Staeble and Steinheil factories, and with M39 thread mount. This M39 mount is however not compatible with Leica or any of the russian M39 lenses, so watch out! The incompability is due to the diffent focal lengths, and a Braun M39 will not focus on a Leica and vice versa. As far as I know, there are only one camera that will accept the Braun lenses, but I will get back to that.

The Braun cameras were, maybe except for the late 1950's SLR Braun Reflex, all mid-priced consumer level cameras. In the mid 50s Braun began manufacturing slide projectors which turned out to be more profitable than the production of cameras. Many models and variations of the Paxette and Super Paxette were made from the mid 50s to the mid 60s, at which point Braun moved production from Germany to the Far East. In 2000 the original Braun company went bankrupt, but a new company, Braun Photo Technik GmbH was established in 2004 and still exists today and their range of products include projectors, scanners etc.

Super Paxette (1953-54) RF
Serial nr.: 233336
Format: 24 x 36 on 35 mm film
Optics: Steinheil München Cassarit 1:2,8 45mm
Shutter: Prontor SVS B + 1sec. => 1/300 sec. + selftimer
Misc.: Coupled rangefinder

It is very hard not to be charmed by and attracted to the very compact and beautiful Super Paxette. There are something appealing about the way it looks, and it's one of those feelings that are hard to explain. However not all love affairs are happy, and I must admit that I have a kind of love/hate relationsship with Miss Paxette and her younger sister below. The truth is, that both this Super Paxette and the Super BL are just a few of the Brauns that have passed through my collection, and almost every single one of them have in some way or another has been defective or became defective.

This example was no exception [photo not available]. After shooting about 8 frames, the spring on the 2 stroke advance lever ceased to function. After disassembling the advance lever I didn't wonder. The coil spring was of very poor quality, and as far as I am concerned it could have been a piece of metal from a beer can.

But let's turn to the positive features on the ultra compact Super Paxette: one of which being the possibility of changing lenses. There a lot of M39 lenses out there, mostly Staeble lenses but also quite a few Steinheils. The double stroke advance lever mechanism also cocks the shutter, and the release button is placed on the lens barrel to the right. Film type indicator is on the rewind knob, and the manual reset framecounter is just above the "Super" engraving on the top cover. The entire leatherrette covered outer camera housing comes off for easy filmloading. Allthough Miss Paxette is rather good looking, any aquaintance with the Braun girls are entirely at your own risk -)

Paxette Super II BL (1953-54) RF
Serial nr.: 491476
Format: 24 x 36 on 35 mm film
Optics: Braun-Color-Ultralit 1:2,8 50mm
Shutter: Prontor SVS B + 1sec. => 1/5000 sec. + selftimer
Accessories: Staeble Lineogon 1: 3,5 35 mm
: Staeble Telexon 1:3,8 135 mm
Roeschlein-Kreuznach E Telenar 1:5,6 135 mm
Braun-Color-Ultralit 1:2,8 50mm (spare)
Misc.: Coupled rangefinder + matchtype lightmeter (Bewi)

Although having a Prontor shutter reaching 1/500 sec, the entire lower part of the camerabody on the Super II BL is identical with that of the Super Paxette. A new top cover has been added to make space for the Bewi lightmeter and an improved viewfinder with bright lines for 50 and 135 mm. The strangest thing on the Super II BL are the rewind lever which is a design quite similar to the advance lever, so you'll have to crank your way through the rewind process.The lightmeter takes up the space on the top cover on the left, and that's probably why the strange rewind lever had to be incorporated.

'My relationship with the Super II BL has been just as traumatic and frustrating as it is the case with the Super Paxette, allthough the one above is in good working order. At some point after having trashed the second or third Super II BL, and sitting looking at the pile of Braun M39 lenses I got somewhat paranoid, and was convinced that I had been cursed by the evil Dr. Braun of Nürnberg. Subsequently I sought after some kind of alternative use for the lenses, and after quite some reserach in old, wise and dusty books, I found a way to lift the curse that had been put on me all the way from the sinister realm of Dr. Braun in Nürnberg. Do you want to know the solution ? Yes ?. Then click on the Wizard below. [wizard not available]

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

©opyright by James Ollinger. All Rights Reserved.