Pax Golden View
John Wade goes for gold with a rangefinder camera of the 1950s
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.
Traditional 35mm couple rangefinder camera with a little more style than most.
‘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