Rangefinders (Fixed Lens)

Petri 2.8 Color Corrected Super review – by Andrew

June 4, 2015

I’d never heard of a Petri camera before happening on to this Petri 2.8 Color Corrected Super… Which kind of surprised me, since it’s actually a pretty nice camera. I’m not sure why these things are not more popular than they are.

The Petri cameras were made by the Kuribayashi Camera Company of Tokyo Japan. ThePetri 2.8 Color Corrected Super was introduced in 1958, just as color films were catching on. After this camera came out, a more expensive version with a f1.9 lens followed. Even though the company produced competent cameras, if this one is any indication, Kuribayashi could not compete in the automation craze of the 1970s, and so it folded.

Petri-2Petri 2.8 Color Corrected Super does very well without any electronics. It’s a full manual 35mm true rangefinder, not a zone focus camera. Given the price these are going for, I was surprised at that. The viewfinder has a nice bright line and is parallax corrected. The rangefinder window is overlaid with a green glass covering to make it a bit easier to use. The lens is a Petri Orikkor 45mm f2.8, as the name of the camera would suggest. It is a Tessar type design that doesn’t appear to be coated. The shutter is a Petri MXV which is a Kuribayashi built Copal shutter offering speeds from B to 1/500th. Focus is done by a lever.

Petri-4The top of the Petri 2.8 Color Corrected Super holds the advance lever with counter and rewind crank, the cold shoe, the shutter release, and a film speed dial. There’s no meter, so the dial is just to remind you what you have loaded. If you want to use a flash with the camera, you will need to connect it to the PC socket on the lens barrel to fire it. The barrel also has the X/M switch if you want to use flashbulbs instead of electronic flash.The only other item on the top of the camera is the badge reading “COMMEMORATION Productions EXCEEDED 1200000” which seems to date this particular camera to 1960. Some people think the badge makes it a little more collectable. If it does that didn’t increase the price very much. I paid $30 for this little gem, and it came with a never-ready case and a roll of expired Arista black and white.

Petri-3It handles well. It’s on the small side, and is light weight. The ergonomics are pretty good for 1960. The lens can be prone to some flare, so I’ve taken to putting a hood on it when I go out on sunny days. The Tessar design lens is acceptably sharp when stopped down. The shutter is very quiet, as you would expect of a Copal type, making it a very nice camera to walkabout and shoot with on the street. The rangefinder patch is nice and contrasty thanks to the green glass over it. The mirror may have faded a little bit, but it is still very usable. It does have a tripod socket, but it lacks a thread for a shutter release, so that’s just for the self-timer for family or group shots.

Petri-5It’s really too bad Kuribayashi didn’t survive. Inside the film door, a sticker from the factory said they would stand behind and repair the camera free of charge regardless. This one, however, was repaired by Graf’s Camera Repair of Los Angeles in 1975. Either that repair shop was excellent or the Kuribayashi factory was, this camera only required a little cleaning to function perfectly in spite of being in storage for years.

Petri-7Petri-6I find myself taking the Petri 2.8 Color Corrected Super for walks and hikes often. It’s a simple, straightforward camera I enjoy using.  I’ve spent more on the film I put through it than the camera itself, which makes me think it’s a bit of a steal. It has good looks, handles well, and produces a distinctive image. Well worth the price.

My website – Shoot Film Ride Steel

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  • Reply
    June 5, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Hi Hamish, Interesting review. I remember Petri cameras being sold in the early 70’s, but apart from one fixed lens rangefinder, just like all the others really, I don’t recall seeing any. With all the other brands that were around then I somehow doubt many were bought here in the UK.

  • Reply
    August 27, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    My girlfriend’s mom just bought me one of these, and I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet to play around with it. I generally shoot Nikon F3, and am curious to play with a rangefinder, but am used to internal light metering. Can I ask what your practice is for metering externally?

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      August 28, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      That’s a big question. Have you got an external light meter?

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Hello Hamish.
    I have had this Petri 2.8 for a few years…5 dollars at a garage…never used it….might give
    It try now….Like the pictures….I have had a small Olympus 35rc since the 70s…..great
    Little camera……I’m thinking of getting a Fujifilm x100t. Are you familiar with it? Might be
    a bit complicated for me….take care……john

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      October 26, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      The Fuji X100t is a great camera – very easy to use!!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2018 at 6:38 am

    The lens is a Tessar, but it is definitely coated, as were nearly all post-war Japanese lenses. It is not multi-coated, as we are used to seeing, with deep green and magenta reflections, but shows a pale blue-purple cast.
    The Petri 1.9, a slightly later model, has a better lens.
    These Petris were generally bought as family snap-shot cameras, and most that you find now will never have had any maintenance and will all be sticky. I have two and had them both CLA’d, so that their total cost was about $120. Cheap for a camera that is near-silent and works as a poor-man’s Canon P or even Leica M3 on the street.

    • Reply
      February 13, 2019 at 10:27 pm

      Hey Scott, where did you find a repairman to cla your Petri cameras? Let me know as I’ve been looking to have that done.

      • Reply
        April 17, 2019 at 1:53 pm

        I picked one up a little pver a month ago for $45aud in a charity shop and its rekindled my love for shooting 35mm again (Ive been shooting med format almost exclusively for a while now). The issue with mine was a lens with what looked like condensation, tiny droplets all over one of the internal lens! If you have a similar problem id highlight recommend having a go yourself, after umming n arring for a while I did a bit of reading n chatting on flickr and opened the lens with a tool and gave a it a good old clean myself, the front lens unit came out surprisingly easy, a strong grip on the front outer chrome and turning would probably sufficiently unscrew the front and allow any necessary cleaning. Obviously this problem was specific to my model but thought Id leave this with you as I was thinking mine would need a CLA and ended uo saving a fair amount of money! Good luck with whatever’s issue u might have on your unit!

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