James's Camera Collection: (Iloca) Realist 35
(Iloca) Realist 35 West Germany 35mm cameras
Iloca Realist 35
Camera type: Rangefinder
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1956
Approx. street value: low

The David White company made architectural tools, but as a sideline they also created a stereo camera called the Realist. That launched the stereo fad of the 1950s.

But the fad crested in the early 50s and White decided to test the waters with a non-stereo camera. They already had a relationship with a Hamburg company called Wilhelm Witt, which put out the Iloca line of cameras. White imported their Rapid B and named it the Realist 35.

The fact that this was their only non-stereo tells you how it went, but really it's not a bad little camera. This one has a Steinheil ƒ/2.8 lens, which is pretty nice in an era when most 35mm lenses were ƒ/3.5s. On the other hand, the Vero shutter is so-so (1/25th to 1/200th plus B) and the non-ranging viewfinder is small and rather dim.

But German cameras from this period are notoriously eccentric, and this definitely fits. The winder is on the left-hand side, making it one of the only left-handed cameras I've ever seen. But the real goofiness is in the back. To open this thing, you have to pull the film winder knob (on the left side (right side on this photo)) up about an inch, and then give it a little counter-clockwise twist. That twist rocks open the latch on the side and the whole back pops off.

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

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