With the kind help and cooperation of two camera historians, Per-Anders Westman and Klaus-Eckard Riess, some light has finally been shed on the origins of my large format camera! During the last year I have put several questions in internet fora but ended up with no direct hit. The rather odd lens board seems to be widely unknown and suggestions have gone from a 1940-s California-made camera to being some kind of home construction.
The camera has now been found in adverts in both Svensk Fotografisk Tidskrift and Forsners-Nerliens-Stöltens photo catalogue. And the pictures in them remove all doubts – this is the camera, a “FNS Metal camera”:
“Further improved – FNS Universal metal camera for swift and efficient work.” boasts this 1951 advert from Svensk Fotografisk Tidskrift (3/1951). The only occurences of the above ad are from 1950 and 1951.
From the ad above we also learn that the camera is manufactured in “extra light electron metal”, no less! Whatever that is… it feels like aluminium and by modern standards is not particularly light weight either, plain wood would be a lot lighter.
Apparently “FNS” are the initials of three camera shops based in Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö working in cooperation. The cooperation in this case being importing this camera of probable German origin. They later turned into selling Hasselblad and Szabad cameras and dropped the FNS camera from their catalogue.
From FNS Foto’s own 1951 catalogue more information can be culled:
In this catalogue, it is also mentioned as “Ka 62″, which is exactly what is written in crayon on an accompanying cardboard box containing the 12×16.5 cm (5″x7”) rear standard insert.
The camera was sold without shutter and optics. The camera I have is equipped with a Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 150/4 (ser# 2441436) lens and a Press-Compur shutter. The shutter is marked up to 1/200 but the extra accelerator spring must have worn off as it is more of 1/120 or thereabouts. From the web this serial number translates to a manufacture date between October 1950 and May 1951, which fits perfectly with the appearance of the above ads. Perhaps someone got it for Christmas 1950?
I still wonder what the “62” in “Ka 62” stands for though…