Finetta family list
As with many other companies that branched into camera making post-WWII, Finetta-Werk, or as known by its earlier name Saraber/Goslar, saw a future in this industry, just to fold down after a few short years. Founded by Piet Saraber, a Dutchman, the company set shop in the medieval mining town of Goslar, Lower Saxony, Germany. The location seems odd for a fine mechanics / optical venture. However, considering that the famed Voigtlander plant was just a short drive up the road, established by a fellow Dutchman, there may be a rationale for this location. Furthermore, an ex-Voigtlander engineer joined forces with the founder, so it makes sense now. Goslar’s claim to fame is the origin of the Siemens family, of the famed corporation, so there could be something in the water there.
The cameras made by Finetta subscribed to the newly introduced format, ‘Kleinbildkamera’, literally ‘small picture camera’, what we know today as 35mm format. The company operated for only five years, making several models, altogether about 100,000 units, which translates into less than a hundred a day, a mere wink for the major camera makers of that era.
There were four generations of the Finatta cameras, and as usual, classification depends on which publication you read. There are surprisingly many online articles about it; the best is at CJ’s Classic Cameras, which covers all models and variants. For more information, please see the links below.
The first-generation models were named Finette, having the ‘ette’ suffix, subscribing to a naming convention that included no less than 649 different models. You may see it for yourself by looking at camdex.ca. I am unsure what was so lucrative with this suffix, as it has long been disused. The name was promptly changed to Finetta, so the same cameras can be found under both names. In one of the articles, it is suggested that Finette models that came for service were rebranded Finetta via a sticker.
First-generation Finette / Finetta were essentially / technically box cameras scaled down to a 35mm format. It used a Pug style, fixed focus and fixed aperture snub lens, marked Finar F4.3. The body was a crude plastic, probably Bakelite, with top and bottom metal covers. In early models, the back cover was friction held, with a locking knob added later. Further options were added; see the detailed table below. Shutter speeds were limited to T/M for Time and Moment, whereas in some export models, they were marked as B/M. The M is assumed to be about 1/50. The shutter was a slotted rotating disk borrowed from some box models.
The second generation, all named Finetta, saw lens variety, and most were aptly marked. Done with the fixed aperture, it now offered aperture settings, getting closer to being an able shooter. Models with different lenses were sold simultaneously. One early model had a removable lens; the rest were fixed. The shutter was upgraded to a two-fin, scissors type. These models are referred to as the Finetta Ix, followed by the IIx and IIIx models with a focusing lens. See the table below.
The third generation, the Finetta IV, had four shutter speeds, although still unimpressive: B, 25, 50, and 100, with 250 added at late models. A cold shoe came standard, a feature randomly available in the 2nd generation models, with two synch contacts. A removable lens on a proprietary 26mm mount offered little lens selection. The Finetta Super still belongs to this generation, although with a restyled metal body and a hot shoe with a dedicated flash gun.
The fourth generation was almost a fully-fledged camera, the Finetta 88, with proper speeds and lenses in a body borrowed from the Finetta Super. Added is a long overdue frame counter reset. Considering that all had happened within three years, it is a fascinating advance. It still used the two-leaf shutter as offered by the early models. A proprietary three-prong bayonet lens mount hinted at a lens selection, but only one additional tele lens was made. Some guides list other lens offering, but being unable to check, I refrain from listing any. Hanimex sold this model in Australia and the US as Hanimar.
The fifth generation was the Finetta 99, also sold in the US as Ditto 99. Here is a modern camera with an interchangeable lens board, although weird. It punched above its weight with a spring-loaded winder, able to shoot some 20 exposures on one load, meaning half a roll, at four frames per second. It was the first Finetta with a vertical cloth curtain, having a top speed of 1/1000. Its proprietary lens mount offered a more comprehensive lens range, but I am not sure how many were made. See a list on the dedicated page. The lens system was odd, in the way of a large mount into the lens board. It reminds me of the failure of Blackberry, where no version was backward compatible, which is what killed the trailblazing brand. Same here; lenses were incompatible over the generations. The last model made, the 99L added a slow speed control, as a dial by the rewind knob, going down to one second.
|1||Finetta||1947||Finetta I||Finar, Fenar 11/4.3||Fixed||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|2||Finetta||1949||Finette I A||Feonar, Fenar 11/4.3||Fixed||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|3||Finetta||1949||Finetta||Finetar 2.8/45||Removable, thread||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|4||Finetta||1949||Finetta I B||Finar f6.3,||Fixed||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|5||Finetta||1949||Finetta I D||Fenar F11||Fixed||T, M||No||Finetta I D|
|6||Finetta||1948||Finette||Finar f4.3||Fixed||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|7||Finetta||1948||Finette I||Finar 4.3/56||Fixed||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|8||Finetta||1948||Finette II||Finar 6.3/45||Fixed||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|9||Finetta||1948||Finette III||Finar 4.4/45||Fixed||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|10||Finetta||1949||Finetta II A||Finar f6.3||Fixed||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|11||Finetta||1949||Finetta II D||Finar f5.6||Fixed||T, M||No||Finetta II D|
|12||Finetta||1949||Finetta III||Finar 4.4/45||Interchangable thread||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|13||Finetta||1949||Finetta III A||Finetar 4.0/43||Interchangable thread||T, M||No||Finette I A|
|14||Finetta||1949||Finetta III D||Finetar 4.0/43||Interchangable thread||T, M||On some units||Finetta III D|
|15||Finetta||1950||Finetta IV A||Finetar 7.7/45||Interchangable thread||B, 25-100||No||Finetta IV A|
|16||Finetta||1950||Finetta IV B||Finetar 6.3/70||Interchangable thread||B, 25-100||Cold||Finetta IV B|
|17||Finetta||1950||Finetta IV D||Finetar 2.8/45||Interchangable thread||B, 25-100, B, 25-250,||Cold||Finetta IV D|
|18||Finetta||1951||Finetta Super||Finetar 2.8/45||Interchangable byonet||B, 25-100||Hot||Finetta Super|
|19||Finetta||1953||Finetta 88||Finetar 2.8/45||Interchangable lens board||B, 25-250||Hot||Finetta 88|
|20||Finetta||1953||Finetta 99||Finetar 2.8/45||Interchangable lens board||B, 25-1000||Hot||Finetta 99|
|21||Finetta||1953||Finetta 99L||Finetar 2.8/45||Interchangable lens board||B, 1-1000||Hot||99L|
|22||Hanimex||1953||Hanimar||Finetar 2.8/45||Interchangable lens board||B, 25-250||Hot||Hanimar|