Bencini Comet / Koroll

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Bencini Comet / Koroll

Online information about Bencini feels like time travel. Sources state different, sometimes contradicting activity and model dates. Antonio Bencini seemed engaged with everything camera in Italy in the early 20th century. He was involved with FIAMMA and Filma before branching independently with ICAF, later named CMF.

From his work, it seems that Bencini liked acronyms, classical music, and astronomy. His venture names were acronyms, the cameras made were variations of the same motif as his paisano’s Corelli’s La Folia Variations, and he had a particular interest in comets. Much like Ferrania, another entry-level camera maker of that time, Bencini cameras were simple, cheap, and repetitive. Perhaps this is the reason Ferrania kept buying him out of his ventures. Early cameras were plain box models with three (?) klapp models; then, post-war, he began making no frills, simple metal-bodied viewfinder cameras.

In 1965, after running out of all possible basic Comet and Koroll variants, the company ventured into Instamatic-type cameras, which lasted for about a decade. In about 1973, a line of pocket cameras in #110 format came along, which also lasted a decade. At about the same time, the company introduced another Comet camera line, reshaped, and made of plastic instead of the legacy aluminum casting. The Swan Song was a 1978 line of fully featured compact 35mm cameras, still comets, this time named Comet Electronic or Comet Automatic. The last model of the final series is said to survive till the mid-1980s, although they are hardly ever seen for sale. Bencini also sold some cine cameras; I suspect they were rebrands.

The Bencini cameras are not attractive to collectors, evident in the low price they may fetch if bought. Very few models bring in over $100, not for being groundbreaking but for being rare, attracting specialized collectors. An exception is the interesting Comet III, which I reviewed earlier.

The Comet, Relex and Koroll were sold in the UK by Boots, assuming in other markets as well, as did the Comet III, or an early Comet found labelled Scheinsstern.

An anecdote is that Bencini named two early models after his kids, Gabriella and Roberto: Gabry and Roby. The Fascist National government did not like it, as the vowel ‘Y’ is not available in the Italian Alphabet, so the models were christened again as Gabri and Robi.

I began my journey to Benciniland with a list of over 90 models on my database and four cameras on my desk. The list was promptly trimmed for duplicates. To venture deeper, there is ample online data. See the links in the specs table below.

Conversely, the printed guides were not kind to Bencini. Kadlubek and McKeown offer information on just a handful of models, as does the Made In Italy book.

So, for the good of the people, I added two tables below: a summary of the classic Bencini models and a complete list of all Bencini off my database.

Cameras in review

There are four Bencinoi cameras on my desk, two Korolls and two Comets. It looks as if Bencini fired the designer once production commenced, as they are all chips off the same block. It seems that all the designer had was a carpenter’s square, which he used in which direction.

All four bodies are made of cast metal, nicely chrome finished, and well stood the burden of time, not pitted or showing corrosion, which is more than I can say about other cameras of better lineage made in that time. Skins are a different issue. All four had either peeling skins or parts thereof missing. At the time, they made glue out of horses’ bones, so perhaps there weren’t enough dead ones, or Bencini tried a new glue composition. All four shutters click nicely, considering they are self-cocked, spring-loaded simple mechanisms with speeds of either B or 50; ir should be expected. The focusing thread on three was stuck; assume the lubricant had dried up. It needed some attention through force and a shot of lighter fluid. Speed selector on all is simple: either a lever or an arm selecting between the two speeds. All models have a flash connector. The back cover opens via a slider lock on the side. On the Comet II, the slider lock pulls up; the slider pulls down on the rest. Wonder why.

The Comet models using the #127 format were the earliest, with the last of the series introduced in 1953. The shape is innocent of design aspirations: a rectangular body with a superimposed viewer hunch. On top two pull-up knobs, allowing to install/remove the feed and take off spools. The larger knob is the one to use, and the smaller is just for looks. A punched steel base supports a cold shoe mount. A threaded trigger completes the top.

The Comet S has a fixed lens barrel, and the Comet II, which came out three years later, has a retractable lens. Here, the lens has to extend for the trigger arm to engage with the trigger mechanism. The backs have two red lens windows, and unlike German or US models, they are not covered against penetrating light.

The #120 format sisters, the Koroll 24 and 24 S, look as if the earlier models were blown to size; same design, but heftier., larger in all directions. Both offer the same speeds, whereas a younger sister, the Koroll II of 1961, has four speeds, from B to 100. The pop-up knob holding the feeding spool is no longer, so there is only one knob to bother with. The Koroll 24 S has two aperture settings, 9 & 16, and the speed selector lever differs from the rest. See pictures. Else is similar to the #127 format Comet models. The viewer window remained tiny throughout the models.


List number 10383 10379 10391 10390
Brand Bencini
Model Comet S Comet II Koroll 24 S Koroll 24

Bencini History

Value Comet S Comet II Koroll 24 S Koroll 24
Format 127 127 120 120
Introduced 1950 1951 1953 1953
Country Italy
Qty made
Initial price
Type Viewfinder
Body material Metal
Mode Manual
Weight 285 gr,
Body with lens
315 gr,
Body with lens
410 gr,
Body with lens
400 gr,
Body with lens
Class average weight 460 gr,  Body with lens
ASA range N/A
Kit lens
Lens make
Filter size 20mm
Lens mount Fixed lens Fixed lens,
Fixed lens Fixed lens
Mount size
Aperture 11 11 9, 16 11
Shutter Single leaf, spring loaded
Shutter make
Light meter None
Winder Knob
Lock No
Speeds B, 50
Mirror N/A
Viewer Viewfinder
DOF preview No
Exposure lock No
Exposure compensation No
Shoe Cold
External sync Yes
Sync speed NA
Timer No
Battery, original N/A
Battery, replacement N/A
Battery voltage N/A
Integral flash None
Service / repair links See
More Bencini History
History Camera
Dan Cuny
Mike Eckman
Art Deco Cameras
35 MMC
Camera Go Camera
Mister Mondo
Collection G Even
Camera Boussat
Austerity Photo
127 Film
Camera Collector board
Collection Appareils

Bencini classic camera models summary

Model Image Year Speeds Format Lens

Comet series

Comet 1
1948 B, 30 127 11/55
Comet 3×4 1952 B, 30-125 127 1.8/55
Comet S
3×4 1950 B, 50 127 11/75
Comet II
Comet II S
1953 B, 30 127 11/65
Comet 35 24x36mm 1955 B, 50, 100 35mm 4.5/50
Comet 44
4×4 1961 B, 50, 100 127 8/55

Koroll series

Koroll 6×6
B, 30 120 11/105
Koroll S 6×6
1955 B, 30 120 11/85
Koroll 24 3×4.5 1957 B, 50 120 11/60
Koroll 35 24x36mm 1958 B, 50, 100, 150 (?) 35mm 5.6/55
Koroll 24 S 3×4.5 1960 B, 50 120 9/60
Koroll II
Koroll 2
3×4.5 1961 B, 1, 50, 100 120 9/55
Koroll III 6×6
1975 B, 1, 30, 125 120 8/55

Other classic models

Cometa 3×4
1960 B, 50, 100 127 9, 16/55
Relex 4×4
1951 B, 30 127 11/70
Relex II
Relex S
1955 B, 30 127 11/75
Kolorette 1959 35mm 3.5/50
Comet III 1953 127 11/75
Koroll Marine 35mm

Bencini cameras complete model list

ModelYearTypeFormatimage link
Comet 226 XL 1979Instamatic type126
Universal 444 1976Cine
Akrom I 1953Viewfinder127
Argo 1938Klapp120
Automatic 600 1965Instamatic type126
Boots Comet 404-x 1982Instamatic type126
Boots Comet Super 8 CineSuper 8
Comet Unimatic 600 1965Instamatic type126
Comet 1948Viewfinder127
Comet 235 1975Viewfinder 35mm
Comet II 1951Viewfinder127
Comet III 1953Viewfinder127
Comet NK 135 1965Viewfinder 35mm
Comet Rapid 1970Instamatic typeRapid
Comet S 1950Viewfinder127
Cometa 1960Viewfinder127
Comet 8 CineN/A
Comet 44 1961Viewfinder127
Comet Unimatic 88 Instamatic type126
Comet 600 XL 1968Instamatic type126
Comet 335 Bluestar 1974Viewfinder 35mm
Comet 404 X 1970Instamatic type126
Comet 200 1978Instamatic type126
Comet 455 X 1978Instamatic type126
Comet 635 Electronic 1978Viewfinder 35mm
Comet 800 XL 1979Instamatic type126
Comet Unimatic 200 1972Instamatic type126
Comet 118 S 1979Pocket110
Comet 210 1978Pocket110
Comet 310 1977Pocket110
Comet 218 1977Pocket110
Comet 318 1976Pocket110
Comet 418 1977Pocket110
Comet 35 1955Viewfinder 35mm
Comet 535 1981Viewfinder 35mm
Comet 36 1970Viewfinder 35mm
Comet 400 1970Instamatic type126
Comet 100 1948Viewfinder126
Comet 555 X 1968Instamatic type126
Comet 326 XL 1968Instamatic type126
Comet 555 XL 1968Instamatic type126
Comet 455 XL 1968Instamatic type126
Comet 218 S 1973Pocket110
Comet 318 S 1973Pocket110
Comet 418 S 1973Pocket110
Comet 435 Electronic 1982Viewfinder 35mm
Comet K 35 1973Viewfinder 35mm
Comet NK 135 Automatic / Electronic 1978Viewfinder 35mm
Comet 200 X 1978Instamatic type126
Comet Unimatic 800 1965Instamatic type126
Comet II S 1950Viewfinder127
Comet 126x 1982Instamatic type126
Cinepresa CineSuper 8
Comet 505 X 1968Instamatic type126
Delta 1940Klapp120
Deko 1945Klapp120
Etna 1940Klapp120
Erno 1949Klapp120
Eno Eye level direct
Gabri 1937Box127
Gabri Luxus 1938Box127
Gabro 1937Box120
Koroll 1951Viewfinder120
Koroll 24 1953Viewfinder120
Koroll 24 S 1953Viewfinder120
Koroll 35 1958Viewfinder 35mm
Koroll II 1961Viewfinder127
Koroll III 1960Viewfinder120
Koroll S 1953Viewfinder120
KS 2 1950Viewfinder127
KS 2 red 1950Viewfinder127
Kin Viewfinder127
Korolette 1960Viewfinder 35mm
Koroll Marine 1979Underwater 35mm
Minicomet 1963Eye level direct127
Personal Reporter 1985Eye level direct35mm half
Personal 35 1978Viewfinder 35mm
Relex S 1949Viewfinder127
Rolet 1946Viewfinder127
Robi 1938Box127


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