The Photavit V is the seventh version of a series which was built from 1936 into the 1950s. In 1936 Bolta GmbH in Nuremberg
launched a camera called Boltavit, a 25x25mm camera for
special unperforated paper-backed 35mm film on special spools, called
Bolta film. There were 2 Boltavit models. The name changed in 1938 to
Photavit as the company changed its name to Photavit GmbH. Later the
company changed to ordinary 35mm perforated film and reduced the
picture size by 1mm, but kept the small cartridges. So the cameras are
smaller than the others, but you need a film loader. A cartridge gives
25 photos, 24x24mm format. A 135-36 cartrige is good for 2 loads.
shown here is the last Photavit model V, launched in 1951. The camera's main features are:
Roeschlein Luxar 38mm F2,9 lens, F 2.9 - F16 Prontor-S shutter: B, 1s - 1/300, Size: 94 x 61 x 54 mm, Weight : 344 g loaded
Double exposure prevention, PC flash contact, T lever for shutter, self timer
Camera with cap in original box with instructions and film loader.
Full set with leather case, cartridges, loader, close-up lenses and shade.
Camera and original cap.
Front. Reknown Roeschlein Luxar 38mm F2.9 lens in Prontor-S shutter.
from above. Wind knob,
exposure counter, shutter release and cable release socket, counter reset.
from below. Tripod mount. On the lens barrel: lever for self-timer.
On the housing: T lever, as the Prontor-S shutters do not have T setting, you can block it open with the lever
if the shutter is in B setting. On the lens: PC socket, shutter cocking
lever, speed setting, aperture setting and distance setting with DoF
compartment open and cartridges. Be sure that the cartridges are
included in your purchase. You have to pull the pin next to the wind
knob to open the camera.
open, film compartment.
With original leather case.
With the original shade.
Close-up lenses, push-on type. No. I for 75-38,7 cm, no. II for 40-26,8 cm, both together for 27-20,2 cm.
A most important accessory: the daylight film winder. It is designed to spool the right length of film into the cartridge.
Winder or spooler open. First turn the gear wheel in the direction of
the white arrow until it stops. This is important! Open the Bolta
cartridge and take the core out. Cut the film leader to a pointed
V-shape, about 4 sprockets long. Introduce the V into the slit of the
core and fold the film around the core. Wind one turn at least and put
the core back into the cartridge. Close the Bolta cartridge and put
cartridge and film canister into the spooler.
Canister and cartridge inserted. Then close the spooler, you may have
to match the axis of the winding knob with the hole in the axis of the
cartridge. Then wind until it stops. You now have wound the right
length, wich is half a 36 exposure film.
Pull apart some cm and seperate. The Bolta cartridge leader has to be
cut in V shape. Same procedure as above with the second Bolta cartridge
for the take-up side.
Cartridges inserted. Make sure
that the sprocket wheel meets the sprockets. Put
the little pointer of the take-up spool to the red point. So you will
know that there is exposed film in the cartridge later. Close the back,
push the counter reset. Wind, cock the shutter and release twice. The
counter should show "1" and the camera is ready.
Photavit V is very small. By the time of the model IV the company
claimed that it was the world's smallest camera for 35mm film. The
shutter can only be fired if the film is wound and the shutter cocked.
This can not be simulated by turning the sprocket wheel. BTW: NEVER
turn the sprocket wheel into the wrong direction!. I don't know why,
but without film it just doesn't fire. So testing your future purchase
on a flea market or a camera fair is difficult. With a toothpick or
other small instrument you can at least release the shutter by
inserting it between the trigger and the lever to the left of the lens
The Photavit V is much fun
to use. The Luxar lens is very sharp. As it is small and quiet, you
don't attract any attention in street photography. Handling is easy and
logic, everything to set is on the lens barrel. Last, but not least,
it's a mechanical beauty....