Simple Braun Paxette Electromatic viewfinder camera

This Braun Paxette Electromatic is the latest addition to my vintage camera collection, which I picked up for a couple of pounds last week. It is a viewfinder 35mm camera made around about 1959 in Germany. At the time of manufacture it was advertised as the world’s first fully automatic camera because it uses a selenium cell to control the lens aperture and has a simple go/no-go indicator in the viewfinder. The camera was also sometimes referred to as the Electromatic I.

Braun Paxette Electromatic Images

Braun Paxette Electromatic Description

This is a very simple camera which has almost no ‘user settings’ to worry about. The focus is fixed and the exposure is controlled by the camera’s exposure system so the only actual setting is the film speed which needs to be set after a film has been loaded into the camera.

To load a film, the bottom half of the camera is removed by unscrewing a large knurled nut on the bottom and pulling the camera apart. Once the bottom is off, there is a plate which is lifted up and a support arm for the film cartridge which swings out allowing the film to be threaded in. The plate is then closed and acts as a pressure plate to make sure the film is kept flat. Once the bottom is replaced and screwed in place, the film speed ASA is set on a small dial on the bottom of the lens mount and the film counter is set to the number of exposures the film has. The film counter then counts down as pictures are taken, in much the same way as the Voigtlander vito B I have does.

In order to take a picture the photographer only has to check that a small indicator in the top of the viewfinder is showing green and then compose and press the shutter release. If there is not enough light for the picture, the camera can use the flash gun which is supplied with it by fitting the flash and setting the film speed lever to the flash symbol.

In construction the camera is a neat and well constructed unit which feels quite solid and heavy. The film advance lever is different from most other cameras in my collection in that it takes two throws to cock the shutter, and when it does the shutter release jumps up out of the camera body ready to be pressed.

My example is in pretty reasonable mechanical condition apart from a small amount of corrosion on the bottom knurled nut which opens the bottom film chamber. When I first received it the shutter was completely lifeless, but a few activations has got it opening on one press of the shutter release and closing on the next so I’m hopeful that a few more activations will get it back to working order.

Braun Paxette Electromatic Spec.

  • Braun Paxette Electomatic 35mm viewfinder film camera
  • 40mm Ennagon lens
  • Electonically controlled aperture
  • Single shutter speed of 1/45sec
  • ASA 10 – 64 film speed
  • Tripod bush
  • Hot shoe flash gun for PF1 or XM1 bulbs
  • Count down frame counter
  • Framing marks in viewfinder
  • Green go/no-go exposure control
  • Lens Ser no: 3146735
  • Camera Ser no: 453451
  • Manual on-line here

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