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Art Deco Cameras

Zenith Comet


Zenith Comet
Zenith Comet
Manufacturer: Zenith
Produced: 1947
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Extending Body
Film Type:127
Film Width:46mm
ImageSize:1⅝ x 2¼ in
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focal Length:60mm
Focus Type:Pull out lens mount to focus
Focal Range:2ft - inf.
Aperture Type:multihole
Aperture:f/16, f11
Shutter Type :Rotary
Shutter Speeds:B, I*(1/50sec)
Size (w x h x d):73 x 132 x 73 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

Limited: Minor and insubstantial


Comet Focus
Pull to Focus

The Zenith Comet is completely distinct form of camera which features full frame images of 2¼ x 1⅝ in. on 127 film. It is constructed of plastic with a metal faceplate with a rather endearing depiction of a comet(shooting star) on it. The film plane is curved. It has an adjustable aperture giving both f/11 and f/16 settings. It also has both instantaneous and time exposure settings. The Comet requires pre-arming of the shutter by turning a setting knob clockwise until it latches. There are two separate release buttons, one for instantaneous and one for timed exposure.

The most interesting feature of the Comet is that the focussing distance is set by pulling out the lens barrel. As the lens barrel slides out, the focussing marks are revealed. This allows the camera to focus all the way from 2ft to infinity.

The Comet can be used in either a vertical or horizontal orientation although it seems to be designed to favour portrait mode. Above the lens barrel is the viewfinder looking through the camera body.

Advertising material of the day points to it's hinged cover, unbreakable case, 'no-jar' shutter and optically ground lens.

How to Use

This camera takes 127 film which is still available from select outlets - search for 'Rera Pan 100-127' which is a black & white film. For those photographers in the UK, try Nick & Trick photographic services. If you want to use a particular type of film which is not available commercially, then you can cut your own 127 film from any 120 film. See my page on 'How to cut 127 film from 120 film'.

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.

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

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

This camera has an aperture of f/16 and a shutter speed is 1/50s.

As the shutter speed is only 1/50s, it is advisable to try to hold the camera against a wall or other solid object. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your face.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/50s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/16+2 Stop
SunnyDistinctf/16+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/11Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/11-1 Stop
Open Shade
Nonef/11-2 Stop