OddCameras.com                          KW Patent Etui Kamera 6.5x9

The KW cameras were produced between 1919 and 1938 by KW,
Kamera Werkstätten Guthe & Thorsch, a German manufacturer, founded by Paul Guthe and Benno Thorsch, situated in Niedersedlitz, a suburb of Dresden. The Patent Etui cameras were introduced in 1920 and produced until 1938. Their extremely slim case - or Etui -  was slim enough to be slipped into a pocket.They were made in 2 formats, 6.5x9 and 9x12. As both factory owners were jews, they sold the factory in 1938 to Charles A. Noble, a Detroit camera maker, in a swap deal against his Detroit camera factory. Noble changed the production lines to 35mm cameras, the new Kamera-Werkstätten Charles A. Noble are mostly known for the Praktiflex, a 35mm SLR, already developed under the guidance of Benno Thorsch, which after the war became the famous Praktica.

The KW Patent Etui cameras are top level cameras with luminous lenses and double extension. I own 3 of these, one 9x12 and 2 smaller ones. These are the
6.5x9 models.

Lens: Zeiss Tessar 1:4.5 10.5cm (12cm),
Shutter: Compur 1-1/250 B T (working)
Weight: 428gr.
Size: 123x92x30

Some photos:

Camera, an old film pack holder and a clipsable viewer.

Camera closed. Tripod socket on the bed.

The camera is extremely flat.

Size comparison to one of the smaller pocket cameras.

Seen from the right. Brilliant finder with spirit level, can be switched to landscape format. Distance scale on the bed.

Seen from the left. The knob of the bed advance has to be pulled to unblock and pushed to block the bed movement. Tripod socket for landscape format on the housing.

Lens and shutter.

Rise/fall movements are possible, more than on other cameras, but no shift.

The camera has double extension. You have to press the little silver tab near the front of the rail to unblock extension.

The camera has a wire frame and an aiming device, both foldable.

Wire frame from the back...

...and from the front.

Clipsable viewer, landscape mode.

Back. There is a protection slide, no ground glass and hood

Slide deposed.

Everything folds neatly into the housing. Do not forget to push the bed advance knob back before closing.

Camera with Rollex roll film back.

The back is bigger than the camera.

My second camera looks better, it has obviously been restored.

Camera folded, the leather looks very good


It has the rare 12cm Tessar lens.

It was sold with a roll film back.

Both cameras side by side.

The camera opens via a button on the side near the top. Lower the bed until it clicks into place. Extend, there is an automatic stop. You can either use the finder and the distance indications or a ground glass to focus. Set shutter speed and aperture, cock the shutter. Put a film holder into place, lift the dark slide and take your photo. Do not forget to put the dark slide again. To shut the camera, push the front standard to the end of the bed, press the hinge(s) of the bed and it will close.

6.5x9 is no longer made on a regular basis. So you would have to build a stock whenever it is available. Think of searching for the inch equivalent,
2.55x3.55. Or you get yourself a 6x9 roll film holder. Rada and Rollex made them, some are branded Plaubel. They tend to be on the expensive side and add size to the camera. Browse old camera part sales. But maybe an old roll film folder would be a better choice.

These cameras are about a century old. The lenses are uncoated and the shutters are simple. Nevertheless they are still nice cameras. Most of these cameras are very cheap. They are simple to use and can give a lot of fun.