The monorail is perhaps the purest form of camera design. It incorporates no more than a lens with built-in apertures and shutter at the front, a film holder at the back and bellows in between, all mounted on a rail that allows both to move back and forth in relation to each other.
Most monorail cameras also incorporate certain movements: rise and fall, shift, tilt and swing. They allow a camera to perform almost any task from shooting high buildings to wide-open landscapes, even extreme close-ups with control over focus and the convergence of parallel lines.
Traditionally, monorail cameras are for large, or at least medium, format film, making them big and unwieldy. The Peco Junior is different. It’s extremely compact. With the bellows fully extended, it measures just 28x19x14cm. The lens panel offers rise and fall plus shift movements; the rear standard offers swing and tilt movements. Focusing is carried out on a ground-glass screen under a flip-up hood. When focus and composition are complete, the screen is swapped for the film holder.
According to what kind of film back is fitted, the camera shoots on plates or cut film or with more workable 120 roll film for 6x9cm, 6x6cm or 6x4.5cm images. Particularly unusual for a monorail camera, the Peco Junior can also be equipped with a 35mm film back.
1958: Plaubel Peco Junior
Above: The Peco Junior with Xenar 105mm f/4.5 lens in a Synchro-Compur shutter and equipped with a 120 roll film back for eight 6x9cm exposures.
For 35mm operation, the 35mm back and, in its own lens panel, a Super-Angulon 47mm f/1.8 lens.
With the focusing hood in place, demonstrating the available movements: lens panel shifted to the left, the back tilted vertically and swung horizontally.