While I work on the mid-last century German viewfinder models, I divert to the other side of the wall with the Beirette.
Beier was a pioneer camera maker, established in 1923. Early models were klapp type; not many have survived these days. Several box models followed, as well as early Exakta styles 120 format SLR, the Beier-Flex models. Several odd-styled 35mm pop-out compact viewfinders, the Beira models are sought after, with the peculiar Beira II Okula leading the pack. Came WWII, and Beier found itself on the wrong side of the border, destined to make foreign exchange earners in the form of cheap 35mm and Karat cameras, with the compulsory ‘ette’ included. Like other DDR camera makers, it was corralled onto the giant Pentacon and quietly vanished.
For the collector, the models to look for are the pre-war ones; some are named after the owner’s daughters, Edith, Erika, Lotte and Gloria. Beier also made several post-war klapp models, but none made any splash. Some models were sold under other brands, such as Westminster Photographic Exchange and The Camera Company in the UK.
The Beirette in hand is a poor product of the German Democratic Republic, neither democratic nor republic. The high-end cameras made at that side of the border are yet to be desired, so this mass-market model is just miserable. The body had badly aged, with rust spots on any part that is not aluminum, within the chamber as well, and what is aluminum is pitted. The skin seems to be cut from a sailcloth, rough. A Priomat two-leaf shutter with three speeds, combined with the de-facto standard lens of the time, a 2.8/45 offers the bare minimum for the shooter. This shutter is crude, so nothing much can go wrong there. The only redeeming touch is the logo, a copy of the relieved green cursive AkA model names, here in red, the people flag colour.
Good to know:
- To eliminate double exposure, the trigger is locked till the film moves to the next frame. To actuate without film inside, turn the cog in the film pathway until it stops.
- To remove the back, twist the side cover on its center pivot.
- No F-stop marks. Ikons simulate light conditions instead.
|Weight||340 gr, Body with lens|
|Class average weight||450 gr, Body with lens|
|ASA range||25-125, memo only.|
|Speeds||B, 30, 60, 125|
|Service / repair links||See camerlog.com|