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.