The Braun Paxette II M is a decoupled rangefinder camera. The rangefinder is controlled by a small thumb wheel next to the film counter on the top plate.
The user adjust the focus independently as on a viewfinder camera.
If you come across this camera, as I did yesterday, here are a few buyer's tips:
- Advancing the film and cocking the shutter requires one and a half strokes. If you don't know this you may think the shutter has seized. You may find the camera part way through its cycle so try the shutter after cocking. If it doesn't release, try to advance the lever again. It should advance a half stroke.
- The shutter release is on the right side of the lens (from the shooter's perspective). It can be confused with a self-timer lever.
- The self-timer lever is actually on the right side of the lens. It is a switch labelled VMX. V is for timer. M is for triggering a non-electric flash. X are for electronic flashes. When testing the shutter, keep the switch on X and I prefer this as my default setting.
- Also note to load film, remove the bottom plate.
That should get you started.
As a general rule, test the shutter at all speeds. Make sure the aperture works.
Also I almost always open the camera and set the shutter on bulb and look through the lens, but note this camera is an EXCHANGEABLE lens camera. The aperture and lens component can be removed and other lenses can be put in its place.
Here are the lenses available for the camera:
- Staeble Kata 2,8/45
- Steinheil Cassarit 2,8/45
- Roeschlein Luxon 2/50
- Staeble Choroplast 4,5/35
- Staeble Neoplast 5,6/85
- Telenar 3,8/90
- Telenar 5,6/135
The shutter is the Prontor SVS.
With older cameras like the Braun Paxette or the Voigtlander Vito B, you need to ready to puzzle through unique operating procedures to determine if they are in working condition. For example, the Vito B shutter WON'T cock unless film is loaded. That camera uses the strip of film as a transmission to the film sprocket which then resets the shutter.
In the case of the Vito B, to test while shopping, simply work the sprocket. Note it can be hard on the fingers. Another way to test is to bring a role of film.
The other camera I bought was a Zeiss Ikon Contina IIa with a 45mm f3.5 Novar-Anastigmat.
Novar is another triplet from Zeiss Stuggart. There's lots of information on the Contina: here and here should get you started.