PHOTOGRAPHY   © mike connealy
Contessa Nettel Cocarette
vintage cameras index       home

Designer: Dr. August Nagel

The Cocarette line of cameras from Contessa-Nettel were produced with a variety of shutter and lens combinations. What they all had in common was a high level of quality in their materials and construction, along with some unique features which set them apart from the crowd. The shell of the camera was all metal with finely patterned side panels and high quality leather covering. The internal film-carrying frame was attached to one of the side panels and slid out of the camera like a drawer for film loading. Film flatness was assured in the Cocarette by threading the roll film through slotted rails rather than the more common pressure plate found in most other folding cameras of the time. A round port in the camera's back with a removable disk cover gave acces to the rear lens element for cleaning.

My camera, made before the 1926 merger with Zeiss Ikon, has the simplest lens and shutter combination offered, a three-element f6.3 anastimat topped by a dial-set Derval with speeds from 1/25 to 1/100 plus B and T. Focusing from 6 feet to infinity was achieved by pulling out the lens standard until a focusing tab dropped into the desired focal setting notch on the left side of the bed. Like nearly all the surviving Cocarettes, mine is missing the foot on the front cover, and the end handle is also missing its leather covering.

The camera was otherwise in nice condition for its age, requiring only a cleaning of the three lens elements to get it usable. By attaching a transparent target to the rails at the film plane I was able to verify proper lens collimation, and also discovered the process that the front lens needed to be flipped so the convex side faced outward. The lens proved nicely sharp in use, and the available 1/100 shutter speed made hand held shots feasible. To reduce the liklihood of camera shake I used a cable release, and also taped a simple frame-type finder to the side which gave me a much better view of my subjects than the bright, but too small reflex finder.

This picture of the fountain and the enlarged central section demonstrate the good resolution of the lens at f31.  


vintage cameras index       home