Iloca Rapid 35mm viewfinder camera

The Iloca Rapid camera is a viewfinder camera made in Hamburg in the mid 1950’s which, although not a fantastically well engineered or very highly spec’d camera, still has some interesting and possibly unique features.

Iloca Rapid Images

My Iloca Rapid Camera

I purchased this camera when I found it being sold by a charity shop on eBay simply because I’d not heard the name Iloca before. I paid £8 and for that I received the camera itself, a cheap boots electronic flash gun, a collapsible lens hood, a leather case and a few other bits and pieces all supplied in a Miranda photobag.

The camera itself was a bit mucky when I received it and had a couple of minor faults, but nothing that would stop the camera being used. The two slowest shutter speeds were running far too long which indicates that the shutter needs a clean, and the self timer didn’t run, again a sign of some muck and old oil in the shutter.

On the plus side, the aperture adjustment was fine, and on all the speeds that would be used hand held the shutter worked nicely. Cosmetically there are a few issues – the front panel is losing a bit of paint and the underlying brass is showing, but that is just the result of 50 years of use rather than any damage. On the bottom of the camera where the rewind button is fitted, there should be a label saying ‘Press here to rewinds’ and that has fallen off at sometime but generally the camera is OK..

Iloca Rapid Description

On first glance, the Iloca Rapid is a fairly typical viewfinder camera with a Prontor SVS shutter and a Steinheil Munchen Cassar 45mm f/2.8 lens. The features which make is slightly different from any of the multitude of other manufacturer’s offerings available at this time, is the slightly odd arrangement for advancing the film, and the way the back is opened to load the film.

When I first received the camera I was looking around for the catch which opens the back of the camera but couldn’t find one. Normally there is a slider on the side of the camera, or a catch at the bottom but on this camera – nothing. So then I tried lifting the rewind knob and pulling it, which is another common mechanism for opening the back but again no joy. In the end I found that the rewind knob needs to be lifted and then turned clockwise until it locks. Then, another quarter turn actually pushes the left hand side of the camera open which frees the back panel.

The film advance is odd simply because it is on the opposite side of the camera than I would normally expect it to be on. Instead of on the right hand side, ready to be operated with the right hand thumb, it is fitted under the rewind crank on the left hand side. It’s actually quite neatly done with a rapid advance lever which swings out and can be folded in when not needed, but I think it’s the first camera I’ve seen with the advance on the left side.

Other than those two slightly odd characteristics, the camera is similar to many viewfinder models. I found that the film advance would wind continuously and didn’t have a lock to prevent missing a frame, but with a bit more testing I found that is only because I didn’t have a film fitted in the camera. Once the film is in place, the sprockets engage with the cog in the camera and the film advance locks correctly.

The lens fitted to the Iloca Rapid is a Steinheil Munchen Cassar. I have an Edixa Flex SLR camera which also has a lens of his type fitted and I did some tests with it fitted to a Sony Nex 6 and I found it to be a pretty good performer, so I would expect the pictures produced by this camera to be ok.

I discovered a great resource for Iloca camera enthusiasts here so I would recommend a visit if you want to find out more about the other cameras in the Iloca series.

Iloca Rapid Specifications.

  • Iloca Rapid 35mm viewfinder camera
  • Made in Hamburg in the mid 1950s
  • Prontor SVS shutter
  • 1sec to 1/300sec + B
  • M & X flash sync
  • Self timer
  • Flash sync socket on lens. Accessory shoe on top plate
  • Film type and speed reminder
  • Frame counter
  • Film advance on LHS of camera
  • Steinheil Munchen Cassar 45mm lens
  • Aperture stops at f/2.8 to f/16
  • Manual focus
  • Off centre tripod bush

3 Replies to “Iloca Rapid 35mm viewfinder camera”

  1. An interesting post. For me this is what camera collecting is all about: it’s not those big famous names, but the little guys with their quirky ideas. Love that wind crank on the wrong side.

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