Balda Baldessa

I am reviewing an early model Baldessa 35mm view-finder camera, later models had range-finders but this model has no range-finder (ie no way to measure the distance of the subject from the camera)..

The camera dates from the late 50’s and is made in WEST Germany. Later models had rangefinders and light meters. this model is very basic and metering is left to guess work or and external light meter. for the review I forgot to bring my light meter so I was guessing…


the camera has a very sexy look to it IMHO and comes with a brown leather “never”ready case (not shown). unlike most 35mm cameras the film advance is via a ratchetted “key” on the base of the camera which is coupled to the film counter. when loading you need to set the number of exposures on the film counter then as you shoot the film counter counts down. you can shoot the leader easily by loading a 24exp film and setting the film counter to 27exp.

The camera has a cold-shoe and a PC sync socket on the side of the lens the block of metel on the right of the lens is the shutter button.

the lens is quite good for a 1950’s camera and has a good range of F stops .. but no coupling for attaching filters 🙁


Looking at the results from the camera the lens is nice and sharp even out to the edges. with only a small amount of vinegetting on wide F stops. Range to subject is set on the lens. Having to guess the range to the subject is a bit hit and miss..


The only big draw back I found is the slowest shutter speed is 1/30, which sort of rules out indoor shots without flash. there is also a Bulb setting… Flash synchs at all speeds…


all up is it a fun little camera and drop dead sexy. with the addition of a lightmeter (which the later models have) it would make a great little camera to take everywhere and a great conversation piece … With most labs offering digital scan to CD for a few dollars extra you have your self a real film camera and Digital camera all it one . what more could you ask for ?

5 thoughts on “Balda Baldessa

  1. Suresh

    I too have the same camera. I just dont get how to focus with this one, as it does not have the rangefinder. Can you kindly help me out in this? On how to focus the things?? Is calculating the distance manually, the only way to focus the objects.??

  2. steve Post author

    Hi thanks for the comment, yes the only to set the focus is to manually calculate the distance. You can buy a “shoe mount range-finder” to help with this if need be or you could try the “Human Rangefinder” I found this human range finder to be accurate however I don’t like to use it in public as, making funny faces at a card before you take a photo looks silly.

    I find it doesn’t take long to learn to guess distances, then “F8 and be there” !

  3. Peter Marler

    Can anyone tell me how to remove the base plate to work on a faulty shutter cocking routine . The shutter cocking is ok but the film is not wound on.I can hold the film drive cogs stationary with very little pressure when the shutter lever is rotated

  4. mike

    “With most labs offering digital scan to CD for a few dollars extra you have your self a real film camera and Digital camera all it one .”

    No, it’s still just a film camera.


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