The Capta II is a rare Spanish camera from the 50's which is very simple. If you are lucky enough to come across one in good condition then you may yield fantastic results like I did!
It’s strange how a rare Spanish camera can find itself in the hands of and Australian but it did happen. My Mum went on holiday to London earlier this year and decided to purchase some vintage cameras for me because she knows how much I love using them. She didn’t buy them as a gift so I was suddenly out of pocket which I was not happy about, but the results I got from the Capta II made it all worth it.
When I received it I wanted to find out more about it, especially how to open it as I couldn’t really figure it out. I headed to Google, of course, but found hardly any information on it. I did find one site, an Australian one of all things, called Cameras Downunder that had a tiny bit of info on the history of the camera. It is a Spanish camera manufactured by Industries Matutano de Valencia in the 1950’s. It is made from Bakelite, has a meniscus lens, and a leaf shutter. There are two shutter options: P which is bulb, and I which is the normal shutter speed. To change the shutter speed you either pull or push in the little knob on the right side; highly complex, I know. It takes 120 film. To get the back to open, it has two tabs on the left side that you have to push and pull like opening a purse, a tough Bakelite purse at that. It also has a tripod mount on the bottom which comes in handy seeing as there aren’t many options for shutter speed.
So, after finally opening it, I put a roll of Kodak Portra 160VC (expired 2001) into it and here are the results:
While I was scanning and cropping the photos I realized that they were quite curved which you can see in the following images. I looked inside the camera and the walls of the chamber are warped slightly. Someone might find it annoying, but I think it just adds more character.
My favourite photo produced from the Capta II is this one:
I find that the benefits of this camera far outweigh the problems. If you can find one in good condition like mine then you will enjoy clear pictures and a very sturdy camera body. It has the bare minimum of functions so it is a Lomographic camera at heart, the perfect point and shoot camera. The only problems I had with it was opening it—there is no hinge so it is basically two pieces of Bakelite stuck together quite tightly. A blunt instrument or brute force is recommended for opening it. I found it almost impossible to open at first so I gave up and placed it on my lap, where it promptly slid off and fell onto the tiled floor and opened. Not my preferred method of handling a vintage camera, but it worked! It’s a little bit heavy but well worth the effort to carry around.
If you have the luck of finding one of these rare beauties in good condition I would recommend you take it away on many adventures. There is not much information on the Internet about it so it is great if you like a challenge and are interested in owning a little piece of history.
Objective Super Capture!