Beauty Super L Vintage Camera
Beauty Super L Specifications
|Manufacturer:||Beauty Camera K.K.|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
|Made in:||Tokyo, Japan|
|Dimensions (cm):||14.3 x 8.4 x 7.1|
Beauty Super L Review
The Beauty Super L (also sold as the Beauty Varicon SL) is a 35mm fixed lens rangefinder introduced by Beauty Camera K.K. in 1958. The Super L was one of the first cameras sold by Beauty after the company recovered from bankruptcy in 1957 and one of the last models produced by the company until it closed its doors for good sometime in the early to mid 1960s.
The Super L’s top plate bristles with controls. The film rewind knob can be found on the very left, followed by a cold shoe. Next is a light meter window with an exposure calculator which is used to figure out the proper light value to dial into the lens (more on this later). Lastly, there’s a shutter button, film advance lever, and frame counter. The bottom plate is home to a film rewind release button and a tripod socket. The latch for the film door is found on the bottom of the viewfinder side of the camera.
The front is dominated by the lens, a Canter-S 45mm f/1.9. The mechanism that is used to control the shutter speed and aperture is relatively complex and functions like a primitive auto exposure system. The outermost ring on the lens barrel is used to dial in an exposure value (1-17) that corresponds with the calculator on the top of the camera. Once the value is set, it locks in the shutter speed and aperture dials (the next ring down) so that only combinations appropriate for that exposure value can be chosen. A self-timer lever and flash sync mode selector can be found just in front of the focus ring at the base of the lens barrel. Other features on the front of the camera include a flash sync socket, a selenium light meter cell with cover, and two sockets right beneath that can accept a large auxiliary light meter cell.
I bought this Beauty through an online ad for $15 from a young photographer out in the suburbs. She told me that her grandfather had purchased it brand new and had passed it on to her when she took up photography. Unfortunately for him, it sat on her desk unused until she decided to put it up for sale. The camera is in excellent mechanical condition and fairly good cosmetic condition with the only real issue being a missing screw from the cold shoe which seems to have been glued down somewhat crudely. Still, the camera is a wonderful example and an absolute bargain for the price.
Want one for yourself? Find your very own Beauty Super L on eBay.
McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 86.
“Beauty Super L,” Camera Wiki, http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Beauty_Super_L