Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Alpa Bolca I, Vitaflex, Teleflex

These were the first cameras produced, basically prototypes or working samples, produced from as early as 1939 through the early to mid-1940s. They are a combination SLR with waist level finder, with separate rangefinder and viewfinder arraigned in the traditional horizontal design. The shutter is a cloth focal plane shutter, with knob wind. The finished metal surfaces of the body are bright chrome.

The lens mount is their first bayonet type. It appears all of the cameras were sold with 50/2.8 Som Berthoit lenses which are marked Bolca I. Oddly enough, these are collapsible lenses, and a lever behind the shutter release button raises the mirror so the lens can be collapsed for compact storage.

The cameras carry a variety of different markings. This series was limited to about 30 cameras. You might assume this is the model with the smallest production, but you would be wrong. Serial numbers are in the 10,000 and 11,000 ranges.