Balda Baldinette - A Little German Folding Camera


Another find from this spring camera fair, turned out to be older than I thought, and also cooler.

Image source

A few months ago I went together with fancholland2 to a camera fair (mentioned already in a film review) where I found this beauty, looking very well kept, and quite small… I thought this is quite a new camera, a sort of a gimmick – a small 35mm folding camera. I thought that the folders were made medium format and larger. Well, I was wrong on almost all of my assumptions (it was well kept).

The Balda Baldinette was made in 1950 in by Balda Bunde Kamera-Werk in West-Germany. It sports a Schneider-Kreuznach Radionar f/2.9 50mm lens and a Prontor-S shutter. Shutter speed 1-1/300 and B. Aperture settings 3.5-16, even though the pointer turns quite a bit over the 16 and under the 3.5, so I’d say it’s probably 2.8-22. Focus distance is between 1.2m to infinity. Again, focus dial can turn a bit over the 1.2 mark, so it is actually 1.1m. It also has a self-timer, cable release option and a tripod mount. The Baldinette has a few (handy) defense mechanisms, helping you to save film, but do not really stand in your way to being creative. The shutter needs to be cocked before firing, but this can be done independently from advancing the film, meaning endless exposures with no effort. In order to advance the film, you need to press in a safety button, preventing involuntary film advancing. After you advanced a frame, the safety is locked until you fire the shutter again, so you can’t advance more then one frame at a time, which eliminates the question “did I advance the film after the last frame?”, which can be sometimes difficult to answer, after you did not use the camera for a few days.

Agfa CT Presica, cross-processed.

The viewfinder on the Baldinette is ridiculously useless. it is so small you really have to press the camera against your eye in order to see the full frame. In my camera it is also quite foggy, which makes it also more useless. But hey, that is actually a positive point! More shooting from the hip… The camera is built on a die-cast body, and is therefore very sturdy and, quite heavy. This small lady weighs 450gr. Not really perfect for putting in your pocket, though the size is perfect for that purpose.

Euro Activ Chrome, cross-processed.

I got the camera for 20 Euro in that fair, and it was in a very good condition. There was still a B&W film in the camera, half used. I shot the rest of it and got it developed, but unfortunately the most of it was gone. Only the last four frames I shot came out, with beautiful expired-film effects.

Ilford HP4 expired somewhere in the 70’s.

The Baldinette seems to give a nice vintage feel to the images, I even got a slight vignetting in a few photos. It is quite easy to operate, and I love the feel and look of it. It is a very well built camera and I’d think that unless really mutilated, it would age well. So if you get the chance, get one…

I definitely recommend the Baldinette!

written by paramir on 2010-07-20 in #reviews #folding #x-pro #vintage #cross-process #folder #1950-s #german #viewfinder #balda #35mm #135-film #baldinette


  1. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Wonderful camera and gallery!!

  2. nural
    nural ·

    you are lucky about cameras! I loved the results from Agfa CT Presica, cross-processed

  3. dogma
    dogma ·

    WoW man! 35mm and folding! what an amazing combination! Great review and i really love your pictures of the camera with instruction notes. I think i will use this still in my upcomming reviews! Geat Job!

  4. copefan
    copefan ·

    cool...... a nice little camera, might have to look out for one!

  5. eatcpcks
    eatcpcks ·

    she looks so cool this camera:)

  6. mochilis
    mochilis ·

    Great review! I love the camera and the beautiful results.

  7. nicolas_noir
    nicolas_noir ·

    I love the expired ones from the camera!

  8. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    This little beauty is wonderful, and I like the fotos too...

  9. mikahsupageek
    mikahsupageek ·

    great vintage touch to the photos ! defo gonna keep a look out !

  10. headcrabs
    headcrabs ·

    Great review and photos. I like your breakdown of the camera features.

  11. paramir
    paramir ·

    thank you guys! it is a great camera, I love it! @dogma - please do!

  12. susielomovitz
    susielomovitz ·

    lovin' it! beautiful camera and photos! Nice review!!!

  13. jaguarwomon
    jaguarwomon ·

    Beautiful photos! I think I'll try cross-prossessing the Agfa CT Presica next time. The results from the expired film are lovely. Too bad the rest of it didn't turn out!

    Do you know what happened to the sheep in image 15 in the second batch of pictures? It looks like the poor thing has a bloody gash on its back. Is it just paint?

  14. paramir
    paramir ·

    @jaguarwomon - thank you for your kind words! yes, you should definitely try the CT crossed one time if you didn't yet. and do not worry - it is indeed only a mark made with paint on the sheep. she was very healthy and happy! :)

  15. alxmonkey
    alxmonkey ·

    I have one these heading my way and I can't wait. Nice annotated camera pic and nice gallery.

  16. dopest
    dopest ·

    I very impulsively bought a set of 2 of these cameras just now, and because of my itchy 'buy' finger, I bought before reading this write-up. I'm glad to read that I might have made a really interesting and rewarding choice! I'm a photography student and have begun collecting old cameras, so even if these don't work well, I wanted them for the price they were going for (which I'm glad to see was about what you paid haha). Plus, I'm into alternative photography, so it'd be better if they have flaws haha. Now I'm really excited :)

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