Bilora

Bilora were founded in 1909 as a fairly generic manufacturing company producing a seemingly random assortment of goods. Only in 1935 did they start producing cameras. The companys camera products are fairly well documented provided you speak German. For now we're only covering their most famous camera - the Bella.

Thats right: German. Despite the name, and the sporty 1950's stylings the Bilora Bella is not Italian. It has "made in Germany" writting on the die-cast back, for the hard of thinking who insisit on mis-listing these on ebay (press the button in the upper left of this picture and rotate the dial to open the camera back). To confuse things slightly the top of the camera does bear more than a passing resemblence to the Ferrania Tanit, and there were links between the two comanies.

The Bella was manufactured in various forms from the early 50's to the mid 60's. However here we're looking at the classic "Blue Bella", or 3C model (1955-58). It features shutter speeds of 100 and 50 and apertures of f/8 and f11. Perhaps most importand for fans of its retro styling, it comes with a funky mock(pvc!)-snakeskin case.

Scale focusing works surprisingly well, producing nice images on the slightly smaller than 6x4 negative (8 shots per roll). The images are relativly sharp up to 7"x5" enlargement, but when pushed to 10"x8" the edges of the image become decidedly soft, with a little vignetting. All together a really nice camera though.

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