Balda Baldina

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Balda Baldina

Balda carried over the Baldina name from a 1935 klapp model, but this model has nothing to do with the original.

The Baldina came in three flavours:

  • Baldina, a viewfinder, mock rangefinder
  • Baldina B, a viewfinder with an integral meter
  • Super Baldina, a rangefinder.

The viewfinder and the rangefinder look the same and share the exact top, but the second pane is blocked in the viewfinder. This variant is often found in German models of the time, sharing bodies to cut costs.

The Baldina models offered many lens and shutter combinations. I would relate it to the inconsistent supply chain that prevailed in the post-war years. Prices varied, but today, all models fetch the same if found buyers.

I have two cameras on my bench, and neither works. The Baldessa line that came two years later is light years ahead, and was Balda’s last attempt was to make a decent camera. The company seems to have lost steam after the Baldessa lineup and caved into making cheap and forgettable models.

As described above, it is a rangefinder wannabe. It has an extra front window that leads nowhere. The viewer is tiny and dim, on par with other models of the time.

The lens assembly extracts out at a press of a front-mounted button. The zone-focusing dial stays on the body, assisted by a large finger rest. DOF markings are by the release button. A fingernail-hating fin sets the aperture values, and a serrated dial sets the modest shutter speed offering, B, 25-200. A dedicated timer lever at the lens barrel bottom. On a positive note, cogs on the film pathway pull the film together with the intake drum, which was not a standard feature then. A film memo skirts the rewind button.

As a precision instrument, the Baldina flopped. It is crudely made, with no finesse or attempt for excellence. The shutter is dead, and the winder lever return spring failed. The paint peels, as does the skin. Printed markings on the film speed dial wore out. The metal parts remind me of the sloppy East German products.

For the collector, it is an insignificant camera. They are offered at random so it could complete a shelf of German post-war cameras.

Camdex list number 4414
Brand Balda
Model Baldina –1954–
Manual Butkus
Value Baldina
Baldina B
Super Baldina
Format 35mm
Introduced 1954
AKA Hapo 35, Rival 35,
Country Germany
Qty made
Initial price 96
Currency DM
Type Rangefinder
Body material Metal
Mode Manual
Weight 525 gr,  Body with lens
Class average weight 470 gr,  Body with lens
ASA range Memo only
Kit lens 2.8/50
Lens make Baldanar
Filter size 35 mm
Lens mount Fixed lens, collapsible
Mount size N/A
Shutter Leaf
Shutter make Pronto
Light meter None
Winder Lever
Lock No
Speeds B, 25-200
Mirror N/A
Viewer Viewfinder
DOF preview No
Exposure lock No
Exposure compensation No
Shoe Cold
External sync X/M
Sync speed
Timer Yes, mechanical
Battery, original N/A
Battery, replacement N/A
Battery voltage N/A
Integral flash None
Service / repair links See
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