When it was launched in 1956, advertisements claimed the Rittreck IIa to be the world’s most versatile single lens reflex. It was a medium format camera with a range of interchangeable lenses, interchangeable backs, close-up facilities, a choice of four different formats and the option of shooting on roll film or cut film.
The camera is usually found with a multi-format roll film holder that uses three frame counters in small windows on the top. The first counts from one to ten, the second from one to twelve and the third from one to fifteen. With the film holder in place, a darkslide is removed and the camera is ready to shoot ten 6x7cm pictures, watching the numbers in the left frame counter window. To take twelve 6x6cm exposures a mask is inserted in the film holder and the numbers in the right window are used. For 6x4.5cm pictures, a different mask is inserted and the counter in the middle checks off the numbers from one to fifteen. A second film holder offers eight 6x9cm images, and 6x9cm sheet film can also be used.
The standard lens is a 10.5cm Musashino Koki Luminant. Others include focal lengths of 50mm, 13.5cm, 18cm, 21cm, 30cm and 40cm. The standard viewfinder is a waist-level type, but a now rare eye-level viewfinder can also be found. The extra-large focusing screen covers the full 6x9cm format, with lines etched into it to indicate the field of view for 6x7cm, 6x6cm and 6x4.5cm formats. The shutter is a focal plane type.
The Rittreck was made by the Musashino Koki Company and was one of the very few 6x9cm SLRs to come out of Japan. It’s big and heavy and, compared to most other roll film reflexes, it is not very practical unless used on a tripod. But it is usable, and it’s also a great collector’s item.
1956: Rittreck IIa
Rittreck IIa with 6x9cm back and 40cm lens fitted
The multi-format back and masks
The camera with its eye-level viewfinder in place
The range of lenses available for the Rittreck IIa