|April 26, 2013||Posted by Photo GearHead under Cool Gear Auctions|
Flexaret Cameras were manufactured in Czechoslovakia between the years 1939 and 1970 by the Meopta company. Founded in Přerov, Czechoslovakia in 1933 as the Optikotechna company, the operation was begun with the intention of solely producing a range of optics. However, the company soon expanded and by 1939 Optikotechna was producing a wide range of cameras, photographic enlargers, binoculars, rifle scopes, slide projectors and more.
In 1939 Optikotechna was seized by Nazi forces and ordered by the regime to cease all production on any goods destined for the public market and to turn its facilities and efforts over to producing optical equipment for military use exclusively. After the war ended Optikotechna then re-focused its efforts toward producing photographic and optical equipment for the consumer market once again, and in 1946 the company changed its name to Meopta.
However, as the cold war dragged on, the Meopta company slowly began moving back toward producing equipment for military use and throughout most the 1970s and 80s, the majority of the company’s efforts went into the deign, development and production of military optical equipment intended for sale to the military organizations of Warsaw Pact countries. This continued on until the early 1990s, when, in 1992, the Meopta company became an independent and private firm. The company continues to this day, with offices in Přerov, Czech Republic and in New York — where it operates as Meopta U.S.A. The Meopta company continues to produce high-grade optics and also provides design, R&D, engineering, manufacturing and assembly services to third parties. It has ceased, however, producing any cameras for the consumer market.
The Meopta Flexaret VI was an automatic twin lens reflex camera which produced 12 photos at 6X6 cm per roll, or 34 photos at 24X36mm. It is, of course, capable of accepting either 6X6 or 35mm film. It has a top shutter speed of 1/400th of a second, features a “B” or “Bulb” setting for long exposures and also has a self-timer feature.
In 1970 production of the Flexaret cameras were moved to East Germany. Shortly thereafter the Flexaret series was discontinued and replaced by the much cheaper “Lubitel” line of Soviet cameras.
The famed and very influential artistic Czech photographer Jan Saudek has called the Meopta Flexaret line of cameras “our [Czech] national pride.”
The seller of the Flexaret up for auction today is including lens cap and the original leather case. The seller claims that the camera has been fully checked, adjusted and cleaned. It’s in good working order and overall excellent condition with only some minor cosmetic wear. The glass is in excellent condition with no fungus or scratches. The opening bid is set at $209.00, and there are no bids yet as of this writing. The seller is in Slovakia, and will ship worldwide. The auction is located here.
Meopta Flexaret VI Video:
*NOTE: The camera in the video below is NOT the actual camera up for auction.