Repro cameras were in use until the mid-eighties to create print films. From the print film a metal plate was etched and applied to a printing cylinder to produce offset or gravure printings. With the introduction of digital imaging the repro camera became obsolete, being replaced by scanners and digital cameras.
This Klimsch Praktika is one of the last repro cameras still in use. It could be saved from scrapping and was painstakingly re-assembled in a combined effort and brought back to life.
The photo-artist and media-designer Josef Dreisörner discovered the camera at a printing company in Mönchengladbach. The in components disassembled and in Mönchengladbach stored camera was transported to Munich. The parts were cleaned. The tattered bellows had to be covered with a new light-tight fabric, the film holder was renewed, a special release was made. From Italy, a lens with an appropriate focal length was purchased from an antique photo dealer and a special flash unit was made for the lighting. And last but not least, lacking a blueprint, the individual parts were assembled with a trial & error approach. In order to be able to move the heavy camera, it was then placed on concert piano transport castors.
In portrait photography, it is necessary to communicate and have constant eye contact with the model through the view finder. One must also be able to change the camera perspective quickly. A repro camera is therefore actually not suitable for portrait photography because of its construction, size, weight, bulkiness and the lack of a viewfinder.
– Producer: Klimsch + Co. Frankfurt, West-Germany
– Year of construction: 1957
– Camera type: Klimsch Praktika, Reproduction Camera
– Single-room camera
– Camera Format: 60×60 cm
– Lense: Klimsch Apo-Ronar f=600 mm
– Height: 2,1 m
– Length: 4,2 m
– Width: 1,4 m
– Total weight: 650 kg