Purma Special

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Brand Purma
Model Special
Focal length (equiv.) 2 1/4
Max aperture f6.3
Format 127
Storage types Roll Film
Battery Description None

Condition: Excellent

Purma Special in origional leather case & strap

Excellent working and cosmetic condition c/w leather case & strap

General Pruma Special Information

A fab looking bakelite camera, not only is the Purma Special stylish, it possesses one of the wackiest shutter designs to be found in any camera.

The Purma Special was introduced in 1937 and sold untill 1951.  It was sold by R. F. Hunter of London, England, and manufactured by Purma Cameras Ltd, also of London, England.  According to British Camera Makers by Norman Channing and Mike Dunn, © 1995, published March 1996 by Parkland Designs, Purma Cameras Ltd. may not have actually manufactured cameras.  Manufacturing may have been sub-contracted.  But Purma Cameras Ltd. owned the patent rights to this unusual design.

The lens is spring-loaded.  When the lens cap is attached, it presses the lens mount into the camera body.  Also, when the lens cap is mounted, the shutter release is locked.  This is a good way of preventing the photographer from snapping an exposure with the lens cap left on.

This is a simple camera to operate.  The wind knob can be seen on the left.  On the camera front, above and left of the lens is a lever that is flipped to arm the shutter.  And the shutter release can be seen protruding from that comet shaped well on the camera's right top.  There is a simple but clear eye-level optical viewfinder.

The lens is a fixed aperture f 6.3, 2 1/4 inch focal length, Beck Anastigmat.  Red windows are used to count exposures.

The Purma Special takes sixteen 1 1/4 inch square photographs on size 127 film.  This is the reason the camera has two red windows.  A camera taking eight exposures on 127 film would require only one window. 

What is special, and wacky about the Purma Special design, is its focal-plane shutter mechanism.  The Purma Special offers three shutter speeds.  British Camera Makers gives the speeds as 1/25, 1/50 and 1/450 second, but a 1938 catalog description mentions 1/25, 1/150 and 1/450 second.  Regardless of who is correct, the three speeds are known more simply as Slow, Medium and Fast.

You may have noticed the camera has no shutter speed selector.  So here is the zany part - and why the film format is square.  Medium speed occurs when the camera is held horizontally.  Fast speed is achieved by holding the camera vertically, with the wind knob up.  To shoot at the slow speed, hold the camera vertically, and with the wind knob down.  Simple.  Based on gravity.  Newton would be impressed.

As a reminder to which way to hold the camera, the words Fast and Slow are molded into the bakelite surrounding the viewfinder eyepiece.


Camera House Price: £28.00

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The Purma Special is shown in Cameras > Vintage Camera.

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Delivery will be made by Interparcel, you will be able to track your order online to find your scheduled delivery date. Any deliveries scheduled to arrive on the Saturday or Bank Holiday will be delivered the following working day. We aim to dispatch your order within 24 hours of the time the order has been placed.

Looking after your camera

Use a Camera Bag

A camera bag does more than just protect the camera against scratches and dust: It keeps it safe from rain because many are waterproof on the outside.

Be Very Careful Around the LCD Screen and Camera Lens

Use only special equipment to clean your camera’s LCD screen and camera lens. Buy a special cleaning kit that includes liquid solutions, microfiber cloths and brushes that have been specially designed to clean your camera lens.

Never Leave Your Batteries in Your Camera for Too Long
Many camera batteries are now alkaline or lithium formats. If you keep your camera with the batteries inside of it in a moist area, then the batteries can get corrosive. So if you’re thinking about just putting your camera on the shelf for several months, do yourself a favor and remove them.

Turn Your Camera Off Prior to Doing Anything

Before you do anything to your camera, always keep in mind that it should be turned off first. No matter what it is—swapping lenses, changing memory cards or disconnecting or attaching cables—your camera should be turned off.

Cold and Wet Weather Can Wreak Havoc on Your Camera Body
Take your camera out only in a waterproof bag. If the weather’s unusually cold, just wrap your camera in a plastic bag that has silica desiccant packets for the reduction of moisture. It’s also a smart idea to have a soft towel with you to wipe off any moisture, just in case it should get on your camera.

Good Memory Card Care Is Good Camera Care

Only transport your memory cards inside of a protective caseMake sure the memory cards stay dust-free at all times. When removing memory cards, make sure you do so indoors or in non-dusty situations.
Make sure that you keep memory cards only in cool places. Never keep them in places where they may heat up, like dashboards or glove compartments.
Never place your memory cards close to magnetic sources. Examples of magnetic sources are things such as audio speakers, TV monitors and actual magnets.

Use a Filter to Protect Your Camera Lens

The lens of your camera is naturally fragile. As such, it’s susceptible to scratches, cracks, dents…you name it. A UV filter will not only will you give your lens a fighting chance, but you’ll also enhance the quality of your pictures.

Condensation Can Be Controlled

Condensation normally happens when you move your camera between different temperatures.
Allow your camera a chance to naturally get used to the hotter environment. Don’t place it inside a closed plastic bag when transporting it between different temperatures! Just let the camera sit in the humid temperature for a while, until condensation disappears.
If this still doesn’t get rid of all of it, you can utilize a soft cloth to wipe away any remaining moisture and marks left behind from the condensation.