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 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.
The 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.
It 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.
It’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.
I 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.
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