Monday, April 22, 2013

Ferrania Condor I (Officine Galileo)

The Condor I was made in the late 1940's by Ferrania in Italy.  Ferrania was assisted in the design by Officine Galileo, an Italian optical company.  The goal was to make a top of the line rangefinder.  It looks like they came up with a decent camera, however it doesn't appear to have been a commercial success.  The Condor I sold for around $90, which was a good price for a camera of this sort at the time.  So being too costly doesn't seem to have been a problem.  The Condor I also seems to be a well-made camera.

As to what kind of pictures it takes I can't say so far.  When I first started this post I couldn't get the shutter to fire so I was just going to present the Condor I as a non-working, but interesting camera.  As I was messing with it this morning I have been able to get the shutter to fire.  So maybe there is some hope for getting pictures from it.  Although there is another problem in that the rangefinder spot seems to be lacking in this camera.  The Condor I has a separate rangefinder and viewfinder. The viewfinder window is okay, however the rangefinder is fairly squinty. The leaf shutter goes from 1 second to 1/500.  The lens openings use what I believe are an old European marking from f/3.5 to f/25.  The lens is fixed and collapsible.  All the settings are on the front of the camera lens.  So you have to turn the camera toward you to change the settings.  So the Condor I probably isn't a good camera for situations where you would need to change settings quickly.

Until I manage to take some pictures with it I won't have a final opinion on the Condor I.  It is a beautifully made camera and it has a nice feel. For its time it has good specifications.  And while I find some of its operational design to be clunky it is not crippling. Hopefully, I can get the Condor I to the point where I can give its Eliog lens a test.

I got the Condor I in a batch of cameras that was left over from the photo club at my old high school.  I think it wins the prize for being the most unique camera in the batch.  If anyone out there has some experience with this camera I would be glad to hear from you.  So far I haven't found much info.