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