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Foca Sport II

Style, film format Fixed-lens 35mm rangefinder

Lens, shutter Coated f/2.8 4.5cm Oplar-Color, leaf shutter

Photo quality Very good

Ergonomics Very good

When you think of classic cameras, a Foca isn't the first thing to come to mind. And that's too bad, because this is one of the nicer classic cameras that I've come across.

The Foca Sport II arrived in the 1960s and featured a fixed coated lens with integrated leaf shutter. The camera has a single-throw film advance lever and knob rewind. It should be noted that the lens is marked in centimeters, which most other camera makers stopped using after World War II. For the most part, camera makers switched to millimeters after the war.

The back removes for changing film, and there were push-on filters, lens hood and a lens cap including an everready case.

The camera has a fairly wide base rangefinder, which contributes to accurate focusing.

The camera is nicely finished, and the leatherette covering is easy to grip. The frame counter counts down, so when you load your film, you set the total number of exposures and the camera counts down with each shot.

The shutter design is a bit unusual. Rather than a five-blade design (often seen in 35mm shutters), this one uses a different design that appears to open from top and bottom. Speeds run from 1 second to 1/300 plus B. The release of the shutter is almost a "crunch" rather than "snick," "snap" or "click." Regardless of the sound, the shutter seemed to be reasonably accurate.

The rewind knob has a DIN/ASA film reminder dial, and the accessory shoe can hold a flash unit with a standard flash synch socket available on the front of the camera.

My camera has a serial number on the accessory shoe, and I assume the first two digits, which are separated from the rest of the number by a period, represent the year of manufacture. In this case, my camera was made in 1962.

I've shot a few rolls with this camera, and the coated lens -- despite a front element that is somewhat deeply set -- flares more than I would like. However, I didn't use the lens hood, and I think that the lens hood should go a long way toward cutting down flare.

The photos were very sharp, and I used a variety of apertures when shooting -- from wide open to stopped down. Geometric distortion is negligible.

The Foca Sport II is a joy to use. It's compact, about the ideal weight for the size of the camera, and gives excellent results. And that's about all you can ask of any camera.

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