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I have a number of cameras in my collection that were aimed very much at the casual photographer, very simple to use without much further thought from the operator than to point and shoot. Two of these were made by the same company in a country renowned more for expensive and stylish cars than cameras and they are in my collection purely because I liked the bold styling with much polished aluminium in evidence. Acquired for pence, both of these cameras sit on the front of the middle shelf in my camera cabinet.

Founded by Antonio Bencini, in 1937 as ICAF in Milano (Italy), the company shortly changed its name to CMF. After WWII it was renamed again, to CMF Bencini, the name under which they became renowned for their characteristic rigid body cameras.

The larger camera of the two, the “Koroll S” was introduced circa 1953. It uses 120 film and produces 12 images of 6cm x 6cm on a roll with an option of 16 images of 6cm x 4.5cm although the adaptor is missing from my camera. The lens barrel is collapsible and is extended by pulling it forward and giving it a slight twist to lock into the operating position. It is fitted with an f11 lens of undetermined focal length. It has shutter speeds of B and 1/50th. It has an accessory shoe without flash contacts although there is a flash contact on the edge of the lens barrel.

The smaller of the two, The “Comet II” was produced circa 1951. It has a cast aluminium body also with telescoping front lens. It takes 4cm x 4cm exposures on 127 film. This model features a 75mm lens with focusable front element with variable aperture of f9 or f16 with a flash contact on the edge of the barrel and has shutter speeds of B and 1/50th. It also has an accessory shoe on top of the camera. The shutter only fires on both models when the lens is extended and both cameras are shown here with their lens barrels retracted.

As the focussing ring is completely seized up on both the cameras I am unlikely ever to put a film through them. In addition, the smaller version takes 127 film which is not exactly easy to get hold of these days. They look good in my camera cabinet, that’s where they’ll stay.

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