Clarus MS-35

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Introduced immediately after World War II, The Clarus (essentially a copy of the Perfex 33) was featured in full-page ads comparing it favorably with the Leica. In spite of its simple mechanical design, sturdy construction, decent lens and clean styling, the camera was awkward to hold and quickly developed a reputation for unreliability. It could make good pictures when its shutter would operate properly, but unfortunately in early examples this almost never happened. Models made after 1949 can still be found in working order, although accurate shutter speeds are too much to ask even of these. There doesn't seem to be anything really wrong with the shutter design, so I can only guess that materials and manufacturing tolerances are responsible for the camera's poor performance... its handling, though, is the designer's fault.

The two sketches below show how to disassemble the Clarus for service, and a little bit about how the shutter works.

Note that there are no shutter ribbons: it was cheaper to just take a larger piece of curtain material and cut a hole in it, leaving strips along the edges to act as ribbons. Both Clarus and Perfex used this approach, saving a significant amount of money and resulting in a fairly weak shutter assembly.

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