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Clarus MS-35 - 1946
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• Massive, unreliable US-made 35mm rangefinder

• $100 in 1947 ($978 in 2010 dollars)

In their book "Glass, Brass, & Chrome: The American 35mm Miniature Camera", Lahue and Bailey called the Clarus MS-35 "[p]erhaps the outstanding over-the-counter failure". It was heavy, awkward to hold (very thick), cumbersome to focus, and unreliable, at least in its early years.

The Clarus is only a bit longer than the Leica IIIc, but look at how much thicker and massive it is in the photo below. The fit and finish is much cruder, too.

Still, there's a lot of machining on a Clarus to admire. Even the accessory shoe is big and solid.

The Clarus company itself never had long-term financing, fell behind paying its employees, and was on the verge of bankruptcy when it sold the the camera and its accessories to La Belle Industries in 1952. The MS-35 was the only model it ever made.

Clarus MS-35Clarus MS-35Clarus MS-35Clarus MS-35
Clarus MS-35Clarus MS-35Clarus MS-35Clarus MS-35 and Leica IIIc
Ad from Popular Photography, June 1947Ad from Popular Photography, Sept. 1947Ad from Popular Photography, Dec. 1947Ad from Popular Photography, Oct. 1948
Guide listing from Popular Photography, May 1951

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