Penti, a jewel to enhance your image
Made to impress - you cannot deny that the Penti is the best ‘bling’ accessory in its category. As if taken out of a James Bond movie scene infused with Coco Chanel and an intense attraction to things that are stylish, daring and luxurious...even though it is not expensive, perceptions count!
The Penti was introduced in 1959 by Welta, a camera maker based in Freital near Dresden in East Germany. It was founded by Walter Waurich and Theodor Weber in 1914. Just as the Penti was born the company became a part of the larger, state owned conglomerate that was to become VEB Pentacon in 1964.
Our Penti here is wearing gold-anodized aluminum with black trimmings, but there were other colour options available, for example silver or white, black, red or blue additions. It comes with its own well fitted light brown leather case.
The camera works with 35mm film, it takes photos in a “half frame” format, 18x24mm. The load system makes it a little more difficult for today’s users. The Penti is a rapid cassette camera, similar to the Agfa Rapid system. It came with a special “quick load” 35mm cartridges, one loaded, the other empty. The film is moved from one cassette to another. If you have the cartridges you can still use the camera by inserting 35mm film into one of them. The cartridge is designed to take approx. 12 full frames, so trim the end of the film to avoid any sharp corners and push it in, as much as possible. Be gentle not to bend it and not to leave fingerprints on it. Of course, do not allow any light in!
One of the most characteristic features is the film advance rod on the left side of the camera. Pushing the rod in cocks the shutter and tensions the film transport spring. After the shutter is released the rod pops out, advancing the film by spring power. So, really, it is impossible to forget to advance the film.
The rings around the 1:3.5/30 Meyer lens are for distance, aperture and for shutter speed.
The feature of the light meter depends on the model. The Penti II viewfinder combines a match-needle selenium meter. The Penti I pretends to have an exposure meter. The camera can synchronise a bulb flash at 1/30 s and an electronic flash at any shutter speed.
The Penti is compact but it offers a degree of control and creativity thanks to its manual features. The unique feature of the film advance rod makes it even more attractive, not to mention that it just looks so sexy. So if you are looking for a gem to enhance your image think of visiting one of the on-line auctions. There are still a few there up for grabs.
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Here is a selection from the great Penti portfolio of Aurelio Laloni from Italy: