1other Arette camera in my collection:


GermanyA&K Arette 1Dn [1958]



Arettes were a series of 35mm cameras made in Germany by Apparate & Kamerabau, introduced in 1956, and produced with many model variations until about 1963.

D cameras were equipped with a coupled rangefinder, and an uncoupled light meter. Other models had either, or neither, hence As where viewfinders, Bs had light meters, and Cs had rangefinders. There where two lens options on the Ds: mine has the less expensive 50mm f2.8 Isconar (made by German manufacturer Isco) with a Prontor SVS shutter.

The shutter release is a rounded lever beside the lens, on the users right: the other two (left and bottom) are focusing ring handles. The light meter reads against an EV scale. For an explanation of EV numbers, see this article. The lens EV scale is read just below the shutter release, and the black switch, seen on the users top-left of the lens barrel unlocks the otherwise synchronised shutter speed and aperture rings so that they can be adjusted separately.

The advance lever is mounted on the base, along with a pull-out foot to steady the camera when standing on a flat surface. Rewinding is via a knob on the left side of the top plate, which retracts into the camera body, and is released by a small catch. Another quirky feature of this camera is a small thumb wheel on the user's far right of the top plate, which alternates the words NEG and POS in a tiny window to serve as a film type reminder.

So far as I can establish, the 1D was introduced in 1957. In 1958 this was renamed 1Dn, and at a later date became the Dn. The 1Dn appears to differ little from the 1D, while the Dn has a slightly different rewind knob catch. I believe the 1Dn was a very short lived transitional model, and it has a couple of features that are typical of a camera designed in haste. Strangely, there is no frame counter on this model? The mechanism is in place (in the usual Arette position - in the middle of the bottom plate), but it has no numbers on it; just lines? Additionally, the film speed dial can be freely rotated such that the ASA scale can be accidentally read against the DIN pointer (and the DIN scale against the ASA pointer).

The later Dn seems to have disappeared from the model range by 1960, at which time the cost was £38 5s 6d; the equivalent of just over two weeks average UK wages (circa £16).




Viewfinder: A split image rangefinder spot is shaped like a diamond with the points knocked off. Bright-frame with fixed parallax markings. Image about 2/3rds of natural size.

Focus: Coupled viewfinder/rangefinder.

Lens: 50 mm f/2.8 Isconar. Number of elements unknown.

Close Focus: About 3 feet.

Diaphragm: Five blade, f/2.8 stopping down to f/16.

Shutter: Prontor SVS five-blade leaf shutter. B, 1, 1/2nd, 1/4th, 1/8th, 1/15th, 1/30th, 1/60th, 1/125th and 1/300th. The shutter can be set at M or X synch.

Cable Release: Standard screw-in.

Meter: Uncoupled photoelectric with EV scale match-needle.

Exposure: Manual.

Exposure range: EV4 to EV17 at 100 ASA.

Film Speed: 6 - 6400 ASA.

Filter Size: 32mm screw.

Flash: Cold shoe and PC terminal. M and X sync.

Film Advance: Lever on bottom of camera body.

Frame Counter: None.

Rewind: Pop-up knob.

Back Opening: Twin levers.

Size: 127 x 76 x 76mm (W x H x D).

Weight: 700g.



My Camera

I paid £6.39 for this camera in May 2014.

I wanted an Arette because I like it's curvy styling. Getting hold of the 1Dn was a potential bonus, because it's an Arette with all the gizmos (save for the version with interchangeable lenses). Sadly, the gizmos don't actually work on my camera: the rangefinder is way out of alignment (see this link), and the meter needle doesn't move. The slower shutter speeds - 1 to 1/4th - are noticeably slow. It also has a missing tripod bush, so I fitted a little leatherette patch on the bottom plate to cover this hole.

Apart from these problems, it's in nice condition. I haven't attempted to do anything to it, except for making little leatherette covers for the sticky-out lugs on the focusing ring and shutter release - I just felt it looked better with these added - as it is simply a display item.



Arette 1Dn

Arette 1Dn

Arette 1Dn

Arette 1Dn

Green shutter speed scale

Both my Arettes and Voigtlander Vito B/BLs have a non-selectable section of the shutter speed scale in green. It reads; 4, 8, 15, 30, 60. The purpose of this scale only becomes apparent when B is selected, at which point the green numbers align with aperture values (e.g. f/4 and B, f/5.6 and 4 sec, f/8 and 8 sec, etc.). 2 is missing from the scale because that time is represented by B (i.e. black 1/2 sec, black 1 sec, B, green 4, green 8, etc.).

The feature harks-back to a time when exposure was considered in EVs, so when working at EV 2 to 6, the green scale becomes significant, and guides the number of seconds for which the shutter release should be depressed at a given aperture.