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Perfex Fifty Five - 1940
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• US-made rangefinder

• $49.50 with 50mm f2.8 lens in 1940 ($771 in 2010 dollars)

Candid Camera Corp. was started n 1938 in Chicago, one of several US companies trying to take advantage of the popularity of miniatures (35mm cameras) and the uncertainty of German supplies. (Others were International Research, makers of the Argus; Universal Camera; Bolsey; and, of course, Kodak--all represented in this app.)

The Fifty Five came out in 1940 and was produced until 1947, although postwar models dropped the extinction meter. Mine is prewar; the extinction meter is the long horizontal window above the lens. (An extinction meter has a series of progressively darker filters, each with a number. You identify the darkest number you can just make out while pointing the camera at the subject, and that corresponds to an exposure value.)

The Fifty Five worked OK, although it had a reputation for shutter problems and it was crudely finished, as you can see in the photos. Nonetheless, it sold well.

Perfex Fifty FivePerfex Fifty FivePerfex Fifty FivePerfex Fifty Five
Perfex Fifty FiveAd from Popular Photography, March 1940Guide entry from Popular Photography, May 1940Ad from Popular Photography, July 1940
Ad from Popular Photography, Aug. 1940

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