Rittreck Optika IIa with Luminant 105mm f/3.5
There was no auto-return mirror, so the shutter had to be cocked after each exposure to restore the image on the ground glass. This camera was equipped with a vertical cloth focal plane shutter offering speeds from 1/20s to 1/400s + B. The later Rittreck SP model added slow speeds from 1/2s to 1/10s.
The shutter speed selection dial
The Rittreck had interchangeable backs. A 6x9 cut film holder and a film pack holder were available. There were also two types of rollfilm backs: one for 6x9 format and one multiformat for 6x7 as well as 6x6 and 4.5x6 with the help of removable masks. Both rollfilm backs had automatic wind stopping and exposure counters, the multiformat back having three separate counters.
The Rittreck's huge waist level reflex finder offered a large ground glass with a Fresnel lens for added brightness and a folding magnifier. Markings were etched on the ground glass for accurate framing with the 4 formats supported by the camera. There was also a built-in eye level Galilean finder. To use it, the front panel of the focusing hood had to be folded in.
The lens was mounted on a bellows. Focusing was accomplished by a rack and pinion mechanism controlled by a large knob located on the right side of the body. The Rittreck II-A came with a coated Luminon 3.5/105mm preset lens. Many additional lenses, both manual and preset, were offered with focal length ranging from 90mm to 600mm. As no retrofocus lenses were available, the camera was lacking wide angle lenses.
Side view showing the rack and pinion focusing
As this camera had a focal plane shutter, it accepted all kind of lenses, including old barrel lenses and lenses designed for SLRs or rangefinders cameras.
A 135mm Leitz Elmar mounted on the Rittreck ready to shoot with the dark slide pulled
For example, the Leitz 4/135mm Elmar lens is easily mounted on a Rittreck camera, as the Elmar is one of the few Leitz lenses that can have the lens helicoid removed in order to mount the lens on a Visoflex. The best part is that the Leitz lens nicely covers the format and delivers gorgeous 6x9 negatives.
The Rittreck was an unique camera with some very interesting features. A modernized version of this camera, with a better shutter and a faster mirror cycle, could have been a worthy competitor for the Mamiya RB67.
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