As of October 26th 2009, Geocities will be closing down it's freely hosted sites. The site I've referred to in the past for Balda Baldixette details is such a site. As such, I'm taking the pertinent details and putting them here for my, and anyone else's references - I haven't taken any of the photos across, just the text. I'm sure this is tantamount to content theft, and if the owner of the information (jgpyke?) has hosted this information somewhere else that I haven't spotted then I'll gladly remove this post and re-direct people to the new page. Just let me know!
Built some time in the 1950's by Balda Werk, in West Germany (BRD), it is a typical 1950's 6x6 camera, pretty much the point-and-shoot variety. In many ways, it is similar to the old Diana or the contemporary Holga. However, the optics are considerably better than the Holga, although that's not much of a comparison. The build quality is much higher than the Diana or Holga: it is nearly all metal with a minimum of plastic used, and there are no light leaks nor vignetting whatsoever. In addition, it has a pressure plate inside to keep the film flat.
The Baldixette has two aperture settings, f9 and f16. The two-element Baldar lens is a little soft overall, especially at f9, but stopped down to f16, it produces acceptable pictures for the type of camera that it is, with minimal distortion. It has two shutter speeds: 1/60 (designated as "M" on the camera), and B, for timed exposures.
The oddest feature of the camera is the retractable lens plate, which pops out to the ready position by touching the button on top of the camera next to the film advance knob. The extending apparatus is a cylindrical and spring loaded chrome housing, and it retracts by simply pushing it back towards the camera. This "folding" action adds to the Baldixette's portability, as it loses more than an inch in profile when retracted.
Simple "modifications" that I have made on the Baldixette include using a lid from a pill bottle as a lens cap and adhering a laminated exposure chart to some Velcro (which, in turn, covers the red window on the back of the camera). I also affixed an updated film speed reminder to the top of the camera, using paper and tape.
Overall, it is a decent camera for the price. If you want a sub-$20 camera and had considered the Holga or Diana, I would suggest that the Baldixette is at the top of the class for these types of shooters. Disassembly of most of the camera for cleaning is quite intuitive for even the novice.
|Baldixette 6x6 Specifications|
|Maker||Balda-Werk, W. Germany|
|Film||120 film, 6x6cm/12 Exp.|
|Viewfinder||Basic viewfinder, shows subject at about half size|
|Lens||Baldar f7.2 (2-Elements in 1-Group), f9 & f16|
|Focus||5 ft to infinity, by turning the lens|
|Shutter||Spring-loaded lever & rotating metal disk, 1/60 Sec, B.|
|Shutter release||Threaded button, cable release capable|
|Film advance||Manual knob/Red Window|
|Film speed "reminder"||Uncoupled knob, ASA 12-200|
|Flash||PC terminal on lens plate|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||5" x 3 1/2" x 2 1/8" retracted (3 1/4" extended)|
|Cost||$15 in 2002 from a popular online auction site|
One of the useful modifications that is referred to is the updated ISO film chart. As I haven't taken the photos across, I'll lay this information out in tabular form.
On the /10 DIN area of the wheel: