Bencini Comet III  –  Vintage Camera

Bencini Comet III (three-quarter view)

Bencini Comet III (three-quarter view)

Bencini Comet III (three-quarter view)

Bencini Comet III (three-quarter view)

Bencini Comet III (front view)

Bencini Comet III (front view)

Bencini Comet III (rear view)

Bencini Comet III (rear view)

Bencini Comet III (top view)

Bencini Comet III (top view)

Bencini Comet III (bottom view)

Bencini Comet III (bottom view)

Bencini Comet III (with 35mm cassette for scale)

Bencini Comet III (with 35mm cassette for scale)

Bencini Comet III (three-quarter view)Bencini Comet III (three-quarter view)Bencini Comet III (front view)Bencini Comet III (rear view)Bencini Comet III (top view)Bencini Comet III (bottom view)Bencini Comet III (with 35mm cassette for scale)

Bencini Comet III Specifications

Manufacturer: Bencini S.p.A.
   
Origin: Italy
   
Made in: Italy
   
Introduced: c. 1953
   
Type: Viewfinder
   
Format: 127 Film
   
Dimensions: 6.3 x 11.4 x 8.6 cm

Bencini Comet III Review

The Bencini Comet III is an unconventional viewfinder camera built for the 127 film format introduced in 1953 by Italian manufacturer Bencini as the latest model to bear the Comet name. This camera was sold as the Bencini Akrom I in the South American market and also has another clone called, confusingly, the Comet 3 (using Arabic numerals instead of Roman) which features a white pinstriped faceplate along with an unfocusable lens. Unlike its predecessors such as the original Comet and Comet II which feature a more traditional design, the Comet III is vertically oriented which helps set it apart from other Bencinis as well as the overwhelming majority of other cameras from its day.

Given its slim profile, there’s not much on the front plate of this camera besides the viewfinder window and the lens which is focused by rotating the barrel. This lens has a permanent aperture of f/8 with two shutter speeds: bulb (stays open for as long as you hold down the shutter button) and 1/50 of a second which can be chosen via a small metal tab just off the side of the lens at the three o’clock mark.

The rotating shutter button can be found on top of the user’s right hand side of the camera just above the flash sync post. The circular latch with concentric rings drawn on it releases the opposite side of the camera for loading and unloading film. In addition to being attached to the internals of the camera, the left side of the Comet III is also home to a threaded shutter cable socket, film advance knob, and cold shoe. A pair of red windows and the viewfinder’s tiny eyepiece are located on the back while an off-center tripod socket is on the bottom plate.

It’s no secret that I’ve got a deep fondness for unusual cameras and the Bencini Comet definitely fits that description. Unlike other vertical style cameras such as the Yashica Rapide and Taron Chic, the Comet III is not just a normal camera rotated 90 degrees but is an entirely original design that looks more like a 8mm movie camera than its peers. Throw in the fact that it’s made in Italy, one of the more obscure camera producing countries, and you’ve got a winning combination.

References:

McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg, USA: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 92, 93.

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