Introduction and contents

The Fotal was only made in small numbers, about 100 in the early 1950's and was designed and manufactured by FFA, Fabrik Fotogafsches Apparats, located in Lubeck, Germany. It's home made construction also meant that the format is uncertain as some use 9.5mm movie film and others 16mm movie film with negative sizes ranging from 8x12mm to 10x14mm with the majority taking 16mm film.

The 9.5mm negative strip and 8x12mm negative have made some to mistakenly believe that it took Minox sized film. Minox film is 9.2mm with an 8x11mm negative and never used the 9.5mm movie film.

The unusual tubular body, 50mm in diameter and 32mm deep, fitted around a high quality Compur Prontor II shutter with a fixed focus Optar f2.8 20mm lens made by E Rau on Wetzlar, home of the West German optics industry including Leitz and Minox. Shutter speeds from 1 to 1/250th second. There is even a self timer with a 5.5s delay and a single pole flash synchronization plug. The underside of the camera has a 1/4" tripod socket.

The special roll film is advanced by means of a vertically mounted knob and marked 1, 6, 2,10, 3, 7, 4, 8, 5 and 9 with a mark between 4 and 8. The pressure plate is a felt pad glue onto the aluminium back plate and no provision is made to stop the film from scraping the edges of the frame. The shutter was cocked manually, and no provision for double exposure prevention was included.

Various colours and covering were available including brown, green, blue and red leather and even a reptile skin body covering.

A fascinating design, but poorly executed. It was mimicked in the disc camera made by Brinkert who used surplus Goldammer Goldeck 20mm lens.

See from  Spy Camera: A Century of Detective and Subminiature Cameras By Michael Pritchard and Douglas St. Denny .

Ebay 2005/05/21 5500EUR (commission+VAT)

Fotal, blue leather,  Fabrik Fotografische Apparate Luebeck
Ser.No.20051, E.Rau Wetzlar 2,8/20mm Anastigmat



Go to the 16mm Collection index Last updated 14th August 2005