What country comes to mind when you think of great film cameras ?....
Poland, right ?
And who was the premier camera maker in Poland ? Why, WZFO of
And what Polish TLR have you been coveting since you were a kid ? The
START 66, of course.
Well, you might have wanted the NOCOFLEX or the START or The START B
betting it was the START 66.
Warszawskie Zaklady Foto-Optycne (!) in Warsaw, Poland made the START
66 sometime around 1968.
See, the PZO on the finder chimney ? That stands for Polskie Zaklady
Warszawskie Zaklady Foto-Optycne was too hard to pronounce outside of
and they changed the name to the much easier Polskie Zaklady Optycne in
WZFO and PZO made about eleven camera models during its reign over the
camera world. They made 120's 35's. They should have made 8x10 view
cameras. Then they'd have had room to emblazon "Warszawskie Zaklady
Foto-Optycne Warsaw, Poland "
across the front of their cameras.
A horse walks into a bar carrying a Polish view camera. The bartender
looks at him and says, "Why the long face ?"
Quick....what lens do you think of when you think Polish glass ?
Why, The Emitar of course.
Warszawskie Zaklady Foto-Optycne Polskie Zaklady Optycne (my spell
checker just blew up,) mounted Emitars and
Euktars on their TLR's. The Emitar is the desired lens. The lowly
Euktar was a mere f4.5.
The iris opening marker plate fell of mine at some point. It's probably
lost in some snow drift in Bydgoszcz or blowing
down the street in Szczecin. Hell, it might even be in Czestochwa. You
never can tell.
The left mounted focus knob doesn't work on my START 66. I had to pull
the lens mounting out by hand to focus.
The mirror is bright enough if your into photographing nuclear
explosions. The camera doesn't close well and neither does the
finder chimney. There seems to be some alignment/tolerance issues with
this particular "66." Maybe the assembler
had a too much Zoladkowa the night before.