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Art Deco Cameras

Roto Riber Lys


Roto Riber Lys
Roto Riber Lys
Manufacturer: Roto
Produced: 1950
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Box
Film Type:120
Film width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 3¼ in
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:90mm
Focus Range:3m to inf.
Aperture Type :Multihole
Aperture :f/11, f/16
Shutter Type:Rotary
Shutter Speeds:B,I*(1/40 sec)
Size (w x h x d):75 x 100 x 108 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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Acceptable: Modest and restricted


This quite rare Italian Riber Lys box camera is an interesting addition to my collection. The front plate has a nice design with triple black lines down the front. The back and sides of the camera are metal with a rough finish. It has a leather handle on top. The camera is loaded by pressing two small buttons located on each side of the front to open it. The front and rear parts, however, remain attached by the handle.

This camera has typical controls for this era. The shutter can be operated in Instant(I) or Timed(P) mode. A small tab on the front can be used to switch from instant to timed. The aperture can be set by another tab to f/11 or f/16.

Film is advanced using a knob and the frame number is viewed through a red window on the back. The red window does not have a cover. It has two brilliant viewfinders for both landscape and portrait mode. There are no tripod mounts.

How to Use

This camera takes 120 film which is easily available. The red window should be covered with black tape except when winding on in low light.

As the shutter speed is only 1/40s, it is advisable to use a tripod to get clear shake free images. However, holding it against a wall or other solid object would work as well. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summers day (May - August) in the UK.

Remember that the exposure guide in the manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/40s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/16+2 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/16+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/11Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/11-1 Stop
Open Shade
Nonef/11-2 Stops
Not Acceptable