Post-war West Germany saw industries coming out of the ashes. The large conglomerates regrouped to be accepted back into the civilized world, and new high-tech grassroots industries flourished, not the least of which was the optical industry. Quite a few camera makers ventured in the 1950s, most to vanish within a decade. Others lasted a tad longer and were either swallowed by the major makers or evaporated. Such were, by alphabetical order from my database, Adolf Gerlach, Diax, ELOP, Fertsch, Finetta, Futura, Foitzik, Genos, Dr. Wohler, Montanus and Ising, and I will stop here.
Neidig Kamerawerk was one of those startups, making cameras for half a decade, from 1949 onwards. The first model was the elusive, plain and simple Perlux, with a 24x24mm format and a square viewer housing. Another Perlux promptly followed this with a 24x36mm format, unchanged, other than the newly styled trapezoid viewer housing. The Perlux I came with similar specs but a conservative looks, and the Perlux II added an uncoupled rangefinder. The last model was the Perlux IIa, with a coupled rangefinder.
Two US distributors and one German sold the Perlux under their brands.
- The Dejur brothers, who, like the Simon brothers, had designed and sold a mix of own and rebrands, saw a twenty-year run of the brand. They sold the Perlux I under Dejur D1 and the Perlux II under Dejur D3.
- Bower, another distributor, sold the Perlux under Bower 35. They had a three-year run in the early 1950s, although the brand name was revived in the 1990s.
- Adox, in Germany, had made cameras for a long time. The Perlux was rebranded Adox 35. I’m unsure about the rationale behind it; either Adox was looking for an entry-level model or just wanted to lend a hand to a fledgeling manufacturer.
As it happened, being long on cameras and short on memory, I found two of these on the same shelf. I got them on two camera shows, as I tend to collect oddities. Not a big deal, as I paid little. One is the Nedig Perlux, and the second is the Bower 35. Other than the name, they are identical.
At both cameras, the shutter and apertures are fine, but the trigger does not actuate the shutter; you need to press the actual trigger lever at the right of the lens. A tiny pin marked red/blue by the trigger button could be the culprit; it does not move, and I don’t want to force it.
All controls are clustered together. Closest to the body is the aperture lever, after that, the shutter cocking arm and then the speed selector dial. Zone focusing is metric on the Perlux and imperial on the Bower.
The camera has a nicely made body, although the design may not appeal to all. It looks like a lovechild of Bolsey and Eho cameras. The viewer is small and dark, otherwise there is nothing to explore when shooting; other than the mystery pin all is straightforward. It is not a collector’s must-have but a nice and cheap addition on the shelf, a memento of a gone era.
|Value at camdex.ca||Perlux
|AKA||Adox 35, Bower 35|
|Weight||430 gr, Body with lens|
|Class average weight||440 gr, Body with lens|
|Kit lens||Staeble Kataplast 2.8/45
Laack Tegonar 3,5/35
Steinheil Sassar 2,8/38
Steinheil Cassar 3,5/37,5
|Lens mount||Fixed lens|
|Shutter make||Prontor, , Vario|
|Speeds||B, 25, 75, 200|
|Service / repair links||See camerlog.com|
|More||CJ’s Classic Camera Collection
Appeal to emulsion