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Beauty Camera CollectionAn overview of the Beauty Camera Company's(*) 35mm Rangefinder models

 

All Beauty 35mm rangefinder models had coupled rangefinders observed through a common viewfinder.
All had lenses with a 45mm focal length.

There were two families of camera.

The earlier 35s (Super 35/Canter 35/Super 35 II) all shared the same basic chassis, but were fitted with various shutters and lenses (* the first two models were made Taiyodo Koki, which became the Beauty Camera Company).

The later Lightomatic-type cameras shared a larger chassis and differed mainly due to changes in metering systems.

The Beaumat was the odd-man-out - seemingly based on the chassis of the early 35 cameras, but incorporating features of the Lightomatic series, plus its own advances which became incorporated into subsequent Lightomatics.

 

 

YearModel Lens(es)Shutter(s)Features

35 types

1956Super 35Beauty Super 35• f/2.8 Canter• Copal MX

• Synchro-Compur MX
• Viewfinder and rangefinder windows have inset black frames.
• Beauty logo on front face of top-plate, but otherwise not marked Super 35.
• Copal MX shutter has a top speed of 1/300th (all other Beauty models have shutters with a top speed of 1/500th).
• No other visible differences between Copal and Synchro-Compur models.
• Focus dial handle is a half-moon shape.
1957Canter 35Beauty Canter 35• f/2.8 Canter
(shown)

• f/1.9 Canter S
• Copal MXV• Modest changes to top-plate: slightly more angular sides.
• f/1.9 model viewfinder and rangefinder windows have inset black frames like the Super 35, however the rewind knob and frame counter dial were black.
• f/2.8 model had a silver rewind knob and frame counter, like the Super 35, however the viewfinder and rangefinder windows have raised frames.
• Beauty logo moved to top-plate.
• Unique pop-up shutter set indicator stud behind shutter release button.
• Focus dial handle is a knob on a back-plate.
• M/X flash sync port at rewind end of top plate.
• The f/1.9 Canter-S lens has a black focusing dial.
• The f/2.8 lens lost its shinny bezel.
1958Super 35 IIBeauty Super II• f/2.8 Canter
(shown)

• f/1.9 Canter-S

• f/2 Canter-S.
• Copal MXV
(+f/1.9 lens)

• Copal SV
(+f/2 & f/2.8 lenses)
• Restyled flatter top-plate.
• Restyled and unconventional rewind crank.
• Heavier raised viewfinder and rangefinder window frames.
• The frame counter was moved from the wind-lever cap to an inset window on the top-plate.
• The focusing lever was changed back to a half-moon shape - like the super 35.
• M/X flash sync port front of body on the lens mounting plate.
• f/2.8 lens restyled with wider aperture and shutter speed dials, plus a black DOF scale.
While based on the 35 chassis, the Beaumat introduced many new features borrowed from the Lightmatics, and others that would be incorporated into later Lightmatics.
1960BeaumatBeauty Beaumat• f/2.8 Biokor• Copal SV• Slightly restyled top-plate but otherwise like the Super II.
• Ligthomatic-style rewind knob with an indentation in the body serves as a rest/housing for the crank arm.
• The film advance lever also functions as a shutter release lock when pushed-in flush to the camera body.
• Bright-frame viewfinder (i.e. projected rather than reflected frames, via an illumination window), with a single glass cover to the viewfinder, rangefinder, and illuminating windows.
• Meter light cell around the lens - in the style that would be adopted by the Lightomatic III.
• M/X flash sync port front of body on the lens mounting plate like the Super II.
• Its most striking feature is the pod-like housing for the exposure meter match-needle window, attached to the lens housing. The film speed is set on the thin black ring around the front of the lens barrel. The meter is fully coupled to the shutter speed and aperture dials. The shutter speed and aperture rings move separately when one is held still and the other turned, but otherwise rotate synchronously (without any form of lock), allowing a set exposure value to be maintained.

Lightomatic types

1958Super LBeauty Super L• f/1.9 Canter-S• Copal SVL• Uncoupled Selenium photoelectric cell with a flap cover and peep-slot, which was closed for bright light metering and opened for lower light readings. Originally sold with a plug-in additional Selenium photocell used to boost meter sensitivity for dim light readings. The meter control therefore has three light-level calibration scale reading points (High, Low, and Amplified).
• Exposure setting revolves around the Light Value system: meter readings are shown as LV numbers, and transferred to the lens barrel via an LV setting ring, which is coupled to the aperture control dial. LV ring adjustments change the aperture setting, and alter the shutter speed if achievement of a LV exceeds the maximum or minimum possible apertures.
• Focus dial handle reverted to a knob on a back-plate.
• Conventionally styled rewind knob.
Albada bright-line viewfinder.
1959LightomaticBeauty Lightomatic• f/1.9 Beauty-S• Copal-SVDiffered from the Super L through -
• gaining a self correcting (parallax compensating) Albada-style bright-line viewfinder.
• Coupled match-the-needle type meter (with a pointer on the top-plate).
Film speed setting dial added as outermost dial on the lens.
• The LV dial was abandoned, but the shutter speed/aperture dials remained semi-interlocked, so that the aperture dial moves synchronously with shutter speed adjustments to maintain an exposure value.
• The two-stage metering system was set aside, and the light meter cell accordingly lost its covering flap.
• Film type reminder on top-plate next to meter pointer window.
• Wind lever restyled, and acts as a shutter lock when pushed flush with the camera body.
• Restyled rewind knob with an indentation in the body serves as a rest/housing for the crank arm.
1960Lightomatic IIBeauty Lightomatic II• f/1.9 Biokor-S• Copal-SVDiffered from the Lightomatic through gaining -
• A bright-frame viewfinder in place of a bright-line (i.e. projected rather than reflected frames, via an illumination window) ...
• which in turn led to the viewfinder, rangefinder, and illuminating windows being given a single glass cover, and ...
• the illumination window further allowed the projection of a viewfinder meter image, making it possible to set the exposure while viewing the subject.
• The meter needle pointer window was re-designed so that it's shape changed from circular to rectangular.
• The film type reminder next to the needle pointer window on the top plate was changed to a table showing film speed setting parameters (e.g. a setting of 100 ASA accommodated films between 75 - 120 ASA).
• The camera also got a standard cable release thread added to the shutter release.
• Wind lever restyled.
1961Lightomatic IIIBeauty Lightomatic III• f/1.9 Biokor-S• Copal-SVDiffered from the Lightomatic II through -
• Relocation of the meter cells to surround the lens.
• This also forced subtle changes to the front of the top plate, since it no longer had to house a meter cell window.
• The space on the top plate between the shutter release and meter pointer window was finally left empty.
• Wind lever restyled.
• Increased use of plastic on the lens housing, which got a new all black look, loosing most of the chrome.
• The focus adjustment lever was squared and made of plastic.
1963Lightmatic SPBeauty Lightmatic SP• f/1.9 Biokor-S• Copal-SVDiffered from the Lightomatic through -
• The top plate was slightly restyled/simplified.
• The raised frame containing the viewfinder/rangefinder windows was reshaped.
• The meter window is smaller.
• The size of the rewind knob was increased so that the crank handle conventionally folds into it, and no longer sits in an indentation in the top plate.
• The wind crank arm is less shapely and has gained bulk.
• The frame counter has moved from 3 o'clock to 12 o'clock, relative to the wind crank.
• The lens barrel was been changed so that the previously sliver space between the aperture and shutter speed dials was changed to black.
• The lens has a silver film speed dial, and silver edges to the aperture dial.
• There is a new film movement confirmation indicator, which is only revelled when the wind crank arm is operated (in other words, it's under the wind crank arm's rest position).