Vintage FOCA Cameras
Vintage Foca cameras were made by OPL (Optique et Precision de Levallois), a French company. Camera production seemed to commence just after WW2. There are a few different ranges of cameras – the highly-regarded rangefinders, the Focaflex SLR, and the Foca Sport (or sometimes Focasport) at the bottom of the range. Following a series of mergers with other French camera makers, camera production stopped around 1967, in the face of the unstoppable Japanese onslaught.
If you are collecting vintage Foca cameras, be aware that the Foca Sport is often encountered (with many variations), so don’t pay too much. On the other hand, models such as the Universel rangefinder command high prices (make sure you get the lenses!), and I’ve never seen a Focamatic, so expect to pay a premium for one of those. Even rarer is a white version of the Focamatic – so rare that there are fakes around – beware!
Country of origin: France (OPL)
Shutter: Simple leaf.
Speeds: B 1 1/2 1/5 1/10 1/25 1/50 1/100 1/300
Lens: 3-element, Foca-Neoplar 1:3.5 4.5cm.
Stops: 3.5 4 5.6 8 11 16
This is an early-model Foca Sport, with no ’bouton de debrayage du mecanisme’ to release the ratchet for rewinding the film. After a bit of head-scratching, I realised that this is done by lifting the winding knob. This model was replaced by the Foca Sport I in May 1958.