Pax Golden View

John Wade goes for gold with a rangefinder cam­era of the 1950s

Amateur Photographer - - Tech Talk -

LAUNCHED: 1953 PRICE AT LAUNCH: £60-80 (guessti­mate) GUIDE PRICE NOW: £150-200

IN 1952, Yamoto Koki Ko­gyo in Tokyo launched the Pax 35, a 35mm cou­pled rangefinder cam­era that looked and han­dled a lot like a Le­ica, ex­cept that it was only about two-thirds the size. To­day, it’s a neat lit­tle cam­era that is fairly easy to find. Rarer, and a lot more de­sir­able, is this deluxe ver­sion that was launched the fol­low­ing year.

Where the orig­i­nal Pax has black leatherette cov­er­ing, the Golden View has red or green; where the orig­i­nal body and lens bar­rel has chrome metal fit­tings, the Golden View boasts yel­low metal plat­ing that looks con­vinc­ingly like gold. Both cam­eras have sim­i­lar spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

A rangefinder win­dow sits be­side the viewfinder and is cou­pled to the Lu­mi­nor Anas­tig­mat lens which fo­cuses from 3ft to in­fin­ity. Its aper­tures run from f/3.5 to f/16. Like a Le­ica, the lens is fo­cused by a small ro­tat­ing arm that pro­trudes from the side; un­like a Le­ica, the lens is fixed and can­not be in­ter­changed. The shut­ter, with speeds of 1/101/300sec, needs to be ten­sioned by a lever at the top of the lens be­fore fir­ing. Film wind is by a knob, and load­ing, via a re­mov­able back, is a lot eas­ier than with a base-load Le­ica.

Through­out the 1950s, the Yamoto com­pany con­tin­ued to im­prove on the orig­i­nal Pax. Just as the first cam­eras re­sem­bled smaller ver­sions of Le­ica screwlens cam­eras, so later mod­els, made up to 1958, took on the look of Le­ica’s M se­ries that had been in­tro­duced in 1954. They all make good, work­able mod­els for those who want an in­ex­pen­sive en­try into 35mm cou­pled rangefinder film cam­eras, but none of the later cam­eras ever matched the lux­ury look of the Golden View.

What’s good

Tra­di­tional 35mm cou­ple rangefinder cam­era with a lit­tle more style than most.

What’s bad

‘Gold’ plat­ing tends to wear, and fo­cus­ing can stiffen and seize up with age.

The Pax Golden View, a deluxe ver­sion of the Pax 35 cam­era

Easy film load­ing via the de­tach­able back The orig­i­nal Pax 35, launched the year be­fore the Golden View

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