Being the very visual person I am, I’m generally drawn to cameras more by the visual appearance and quality of the camera than the technical aspects. The Brook-Plaubel Veriwide 100 was one of these cameras as I find it visually appealing and have always wanted to own one from the very beginnings of collecting cameras. Still, after shooting with it, it’s one of the best cameras I’ve shot.
I still remember the day my good friend and fantastic photographer, Michael Gray called me. He said he was at a camera store in Texas, and they had one for sale at a reasonable price and wanted to know if I was interested. I told him I was, and he paid for it and had it sent to me. I quickly sent him the funds and received one of my all-time favorite cameras.
The camera was a partnership between Burleigh Brooks of New York, and Plaubel of Germany. Plaubel is well known for 120 film cameras like the Makina press cameras, so the fit was great. Brooks-Plaubel Veriwide was made and distributed between 1959 to 1965, with a couple of minor modifications until it turned into the bulkier Brook Veriwide with smaller image size and, using Mamiya film backs.
The Brooks-Plaubel Veriwide 100 is a very compact, panoramic camera that gives you an approximate 100-degree angle of view, which is equivalent to using an 18mm lens on a 35mm camera. The good news is this camera uses 120 film and gives you seven exposures with an image area of 56 x 92mm per frame. The camera incorporates a fixed 47mm f/8 Schneider Super Angulon lens in a Synchro-Compur shutter with shutter speeds of “B” to 1/500. The aperture range is from f/8-f/32.
The Veriwide 100 I have is a bit newer version with 3 bubble levels to cover the vertical and horizontal movements when looking from the top, then another on the body when shooting vertically to check the level. I understand the older version only has one bubble level on the top of the camera. My camera is missing the helpful Leitz Veriwide 100 viewfinder, which sits on the accessory shoe on top of the camera.
The accessory viewfinder gives a better visualization of the image area than the pull-up finder and wireframe, which you can see in the photos. While the wireframe and pull up viewer are useful if the finder isn’t available. I’ll need to wait until I can buy a proper Veriwide 100 viewfinder, so if there are others out there with one for sale, please let me know. I understand you can use a 20mm viewfinder for 35mm cameras, but there is a bit of a crop. The Veriwide is equal horizontally to an 18mm on 35mm. The accessory shoe on the camera has parallax correction for 2.5′, 4.5″ and 10′.
The lens on this Veriwide 100 is extremely sharp edge to edge at all aperture settings, with excellent contrast. On the lens barrel of the camera is the focus ring with indents for focus distances of 4.5′ and 20′, which is excellent for hyperfocus capabilities. There is no rangefinder as it’s all guestimation on distance for focus. In front of the focus ring is the aperture settings on the right in red and flash sync setting for “M,” “X,” and “V,” which is the self-timer. The flash sync is below the flash sync settings. On the very bottom of the lens is the cocking lever for the shutter.
One other oddity of this camera is that it has a unique loading system. The rear door opens from left to right, but you load the film backward from all the other 120 cameras I’ve used. You load the unexposed film on the right side and pull the leader to the left, and the winding knob on the camera is on the left.
The Brooks-Plaubel Veriwide 100 small, compact, excellent optically, is panoramic, and uses 120 films for better clarity when enlarging. All of these features make this a camera that if you should seek one out, I’m confident you wouldn’t be disappointed!
I’d love to hear your input on this camera. If you have questions, concerns, or want to talk about this or other posts, please send me a message. If you have a spare Leitz Veriwide 100 viewfinder at a reasonable price, I’d like to know. Until next time, be safe and keep collecting.
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10 thoughts on “Brooks-Plaubel Veriwide 100 Mini-Review – By Dan Cuny”
There is at least one other 120 camera that runs film right to left, and that is the Moskva-5 (maybe other Moskvas as well). And, this may be of interest to Hamish, the viewfinder is on the top right corner of the camera.
The Voigtländer Perkeo also pulls film from right to left, and so do the Zeiss Ikontas and Nettars (those that hI#ve had at least, but they’re such a prolific family…) . The Seagull 203, on the other hand, pulls film from left to right like most 35mm cameras do. And has that weird combination of advance lever and ruby window to do it.
Interestingly though the Moskvas are near-clones of the Super Ikontas, my Super Ikonta (530/2) is left to right, but with the advance handle on the bottom of the camera.
Funny Mockbas (Moskvas) being mentioned, I have a Mockba V as well as the Brooks Veriwide.
Daniel, the Veriwide 100 really is superb, it has perhaps the softest shutter release on any of my cameras. I hope you find the Leitz optical finder that is made for it – the view through it is stunning! Of note – do NOT use the strap pegs on this camera even though Rolleiflex straps fit onto it. They are far too small and not properly anchored in the body. They can easily pull out, leaving light leaks! I’ve seen quite a few damaged like this. I just use a Peaks Design tripod strap mount, and one of their sling straps.
I have been on the look out for the longest time for the original case for this camera, as that comes with its own straps.
Final item – be gentle with the film wind on. Apparently it is a little delicate.
sample image – copied on my light table via iphone!
p.s. here’s mine!
Another camera that brings film right to left that hasn’t been mentioned is the Kodak tourist. Just in case Noone has shot with one, it’s a 6×9 folder and I can’t remember the exact lense rn. I love mine though, and if anyone sees one cheap i think they’re worth a shot or 8.
The Brooks Veriwide 100 reviewed is highly desirable and on E-bay it is priced from USD 2000 to 3000. The later model of the same name can be had much cheaper. It is also called the Brooks-Veriwide 100 and is a larger camera with nearly the same format. The model reviewed was prone to considerable vignetting so on the later model, the width of the negative was narrowed a bit to cut down on the vignetting.
I own the later model and even though the body is larger, it is very comfortable to hold since the film chambers double as hand grips. I just had mine CLA’d and repainted. The CLA cost as much as the camera did and my total investment is now about USD1400.
If you are inclined by this excellent article to purchase one, check out Ebay. They list quite a few.
I was going to mention the rather noticeable vignetting as well. Maybe a center filter could be employed. Could be the web presentation of the images but they didn’t seem super sharp to me. Beyond that it looks like a really cool camera and should be lots of fun to use.
Thanks for reviewing it!
Thank you for your comment. I believe there might be a center filter for this but I don’t have it. I’ve heard conflicting comments about it on FB posts but cannot confirm it. The images are very sharp but there is no through the lens focusing, more of a guesstimate which I’m lousy at. There are hyperfocus points which is what I mainly use.
I love the Veriwide since many years!
Here are my pictures: