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The Beseler Topcon Super D - A Battle Camera

Here we have a US Navy Beseler Topcon Super D. If you can find any version of this camera, from the Topcon RE Super to the Topcon Super Dm (last version) at anything resembling a reasonable price, buy it immediately! It doesn't get any better than this!

image from here

The Beseler Topcon Super D was the combat camera for the US Navy and the US Airforce from the 1960’s
to the 1980’s, after winning a competitive test with the Nikon F and several other Japanese and
German cameras. It won for much stouter construction and better ergonomics. The US Army and US Marines
went with Leica for silence. It fits to you hand like a perfect weapon, with the front facing shutter
button right under your right forefinger. Also that huge, 5.8cm, f/1.4 lens is one of the sharpest ever
honed and does not vignette, even wide open. At this late date, not even Nikon manages this, much
too expensive. The case is real, pebble grain leather.

This is the camera to take to the football stadium, especially if one of the teams is Manchester
United. It handles very quickly in use, it is a great metal shield you can hide behind when the drunken
riot starts, or you can beat off attackers with it. If you are small and female, you can hide inside it.

I bought this camera in 1970 in a charity shop in Oxnard, California with 6 lenses, 2 extension rings,
an extra different focusing screen, an angled critical focus magnifier, the pain in the bopbop hot shoe
fixture, and a huge, plug in the wall type flash (went up in flames decades ago) all in a cardboard box
for US$300. The camera body is engraved “US Navy” on the bottom cover. I have a feeling that the US
Navy is still looking for this stuff (except the flash, it was an explosive fire hazard!!). The Topcon
Super D is that good.

written by herbert-4

8 comments

  1. stouf

    stouf

    Wow cool looking camera ! nice gallery !

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  2. herbert-4

    herbert-4

    They seem to have edited out my specification paragraph so, here's the specifications:
    Shutter: 1/1000s to 1s and B, X-sync @ 1/60s, M-sync @ 1/30s, non-rotating shutter speed dial.
    One of the first coupled TTL light meters, EV2 to EV16 @ ISO 100, and done right! Match needle.
    Interchangeable viewfinders and focusing screens.
    Exacta bayonet lens mount. Lots of old lenses out there, some very weird ond Lomographic.
    Hot shoe and PC socket are by a removable fixture, a pain in the bopbop, but done for indestructability.
    A covered socket for a dedicated motor drive.
    And lastly, chrome plating that would do justice to a 1954 Buick!!
    Enjoy.
    Herb

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  3. frankbob

    Herb, Appreciate the info on the Super D. I have one with the same (close) lens but I have lost the manual somewhere along the way. I would like to know what battery to get for the light meter since mine is missing. I also have a Canon FT SLR that took the old PX-13 mercury battery and they no longer make those so I have to explore some more for a work-around on that camera which is a real winner. I love the TOPCON though, and have taken many great photos with it. Hope you can help on the battery. Frank
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. darryl1208

    darryl1208

    the german translation of this article you can find here:
    http://www.lomograph(…)chts-kamera

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. simon-hedge

    simon-hedge

    I want one!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. stickyvinny

    stickyvinny

    Great review, Herb! Very kool camera and a very nice gallery too!
    Looks like I have another one to add to the list! Haha

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. stickyvinny

    stickyvinny

    Great review, Herb! Very kool camera and a very nice gallery too!
    Looks like I have another one to add to the list! Haha

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. gianni50

    i have one for sale message me!
    over 2 years ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.