The Purma was produced in three major variants - the original and rare "Purma Speed" (1936), the most common "Purma Special" (1937 - with a bakelite case), and the "Purma Plus" shown above (made from aluminium - 1951 to around 1959). The first two of these where distrubuted by Hunter, however all were made manufactured by Purma Cameras Ltd. All share the same bizare, and otherwise unique design.

All the Purmas are based around a curved, metal focal plane shutter. When the shutter is fired two metal curtains rotate to expose the film. There's also a second more basic shutter behind the lens to prevent light leaks. As if that wasn't unique enough, the shutter's own weight (combined with some more complex internal mechanisms) are used to control the speed - the shutter moves either with, against or parallel to gravity producing fast, slow and medium speeds. The Speed features a slightly more complex mechanism which allows an additional set of tree speeds to be selected.

To simplfy framing when different shutter speeds are required, the Purma uses a square format, but in a 3x3 psuedo half frame format giving 16 shots per roll. The camera also features a bulb setting, multiple exposure prevention (indicated by a flag in the viewfinder), and a mechanism to ensure that the metal lens cam is removed prior to shooting.

Despite these features, there is no way of focusing the spring loaded f/6.3 55mm lens.

Our resident Purma fan is Ed Wenn. More details on Purma can be obtained from David Garner who is researching their history.

Back to Cameras