Meopta Etareta

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Meopta Etareta Camera

The Etrareta is a lovely little 35mm viewfinder camera, a sterling example of old-world workmanship, an era when cameras were made to last, not to be ‘upgraded’ and replaced every 24 months or so. A very well built, meticulously finished, sure not typical to the mass-produced East Block products of the 1950s. Made in the now-defunct Czechoslovakia, today’s Czech hobbyists take great pride in it and its sisters, as is evident from the many websites dedicated to it.

The Etareta appears under three manufacturers: Eta, Meopta and Drouopta, which I had questioned earlier. Apparently, all is correct. The Etareta was developed by Eta, a small manufacturer in Prague, records say it was established in 1943 which is odd as the country was still occupied and in a war. I cannot find any further information about it. Under the centralized Socialist regime in the country, I assume that Eta was amalgamated into Meopta, a larger and established camera maker with no 35mm viewfinder to offer. The earliest mention of Meopta-made Etareta is in 1946. With the eternal wisdom of state-run, centralized industry, the production of the Etareta was later assigned to Drupota, a Prague-based maker of low-end cameras.

The models pictured online all have metric focusing dial, meaning European market. However, there are some mentions of Etareta Candid, which is a US term, and there is a mention of a USD price.

Sylvain Halgand mentions the resemblance to the Japanese Monte 35. There is a certain resemblance, but it is superficial., The Montre 35 came out in 1952, a good half-century after the Etareta, so it could be a concept copy, common in the camera universe.

The Etareta was introduced in 1947, and I am not sure till when it was made. There were about 45,000 units made, primarily for export. There were some minor variants, as in lens variation being Etar, Etar I, II, III and IV. All were own-made. It is said that there was a variant with a cold shoe, I have not seen any, and I am not sure where it could be positioned without shuffling the controls on the top cover. As with the Mikroma submini cameras that wore different colours, the Etareta is said to have offered similar skins. Late models hat a patch of colour-matching skin on the top of the two knobs.

It seems that the designers cared about aesthetics as much as functionality. The camera is well balanced, with two equally sized knobs on top, as if taking a cue from the early Finetta. The trigger sits within a shallow depression, is easy to reach and protected from unintended press. The counter dial is by it, replicating the size and style.

The lens barrel retracts and locks in place with a very slight left turn. It could be easily missed, so I would guess it cost some poor shots. The aperture lever and speed dial are at the front end of the lens assembly. A lever protruding at 8 o’clock cocks the shutter, and a larger lever just above it releases it. No other unnecessary frills. On the film path, two cogs driven by the winder ensure smooth and equal film movement. The camera body and back are machined from cast aluminum, immaculately finished, nicely polished, and plated. It is a pleasure to hold and operate. The model I have has “Eta Praha” engraved on the rewind knob, so it could be one of the early runs. However, the lens is Etar IV, which is a later introduction.

For the collector, I would classify it as a welcomed addition, representing an era when camera makers took pride in well-made products. Etareta models are inexpensive, although they are not always offered on eBay. An online search will return offers by Czech sellers, or try

More about Meopta camera line


List number 31316
Brand Meopta, Druopta, Eta
Model Etareta
Value Etareta Meopta
Etareta Druopta
Format 35mm
Introduced 1946
Country Czechoslovakia
Qty made 45,000
Initial price 40
Currency USD
Type Viewfinder
Body material
Mode Manual
Weight 465 gr,  Body with lens
Class average weight 468 gr,  Body with lens
ASA range N/A
Kit lens 3.5/50
Lens make Etar IV
Filter size N/A
Lens mount Fixed lens
Mount size
Shutter Leaf
Shutter make Etaxa
Light meter None
Winder Knob
Lock No
Speeds B, T, 10-200
Mirror N/A
Viewer Viewfinder
DOF preview No
Exposure lock No
Exposure compensation No
Shoe No
External sync No
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 Ceskefotoaparaty-Flexaret
Mike Elek
Collection Appareils
CJ’s Classic Cameras


Meopta Etareta vs Shinsei Monte 35

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