James's Camera Collection: Beseler Topcon Auto 100

Beseler Topcon Auto 100 Japan 35mm cameras
Beseler Topcon Auto 100
Camera type: Single Lens Reflex (SLR)
Date of manufacture: 1965
Lens mount: Topcon RE (Exakta)
Battery: 1.35V PX-13 or modern equivalent
Approx. original price: $159
Approx. street value: Low

American company Beseler (most famous for building darkroom enlargers) imported Japanese Topcon cameras during their heyday in the 1960s and co-branded them as a result. I don't know when they quit, but I know my Topcon RE 200 does not carry the Beseler name.

Anyone who reads my Canon pages probably knows all about badging in different markets. Topcon did it too: this model was the Uni in Japan and the Hanimex Topcon RE Super (probably in Europe).

The good stuff: this is one of the first cameras with auto exposure capability and full-diaphram through-the-lens metering. It's quite a nice camera.

The bad stuff: it's got a poorly-regarded leaf shutter instead of a focal-plane, and the leaf shutter is notorious for being difficult to work on. If I recall (but I can't remember where I read it), it was hard to find repairmen who would do it even when the camera was new.

I'm fortunate: my shutter works, though I can't really test it without running a roll of film through it.

One of Modern Photography magazine's Top Cameras

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com


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