Camera people tend to be a particular batch. They like to stick with names with which they are comfortable. Witness any number of people who stick to certain lines in their modern day digital repertoire. There are any number of photographers who swear by Nikon or Canon and who will not shoot with anything else. Film photographers may be willing to experiment around a bit more with now "vintage" equipment being more affordable, but there is still bias. Contax, Zeiss, Leica, and Schneider are a few of the names that come to mind as being among the preferred names to see on a lens of a film camera, and with these names comes a certain appeal. I've got a few film products with both Zeiss and Schnieder glass, and they are exceptional. However, personally, there is one specific name that evokes a certain bit of love when it comes to color rendition in my film images... "Trioplan." This adoration of mine sprung forward in an almost accidental way, from a camera I didn't expect to like a lot, but which floored me with its image quality: the Balda Pontina. This late 1930's gem has a special place in my collection, the majority of which results from the lens it bears: a simple triplet lens made by Meyer Gorlitz called the Trioplan. Lenses with the Trioplan name carry a bit of a following among folks using adapted lenses on digital bodies, as they can produce almost ethereal images filled with lovely bokeh. However, these Trioplan badged lenses are ones designed for use on (usually) Exakta SLR bodies. What is most perplexing about my love for the results on color slide film that I've gotten with my Trioplan equipped Balda is that this uncoated lens was really never designed with color film in mind. As such, its lovely color results seem more the result of a happy accident than any engineered design. Was this just a fluke? I had no way of knowing, but what I dod know was that the more I got results back from the Balda, the more I wanted to pick up another Trioplan equipped folding camera. Around the same time, I was encountering continued issues with my Franka Solida. With an f/2.9 Schneider lens, it was the "fastest" medium format camera in my collection, and its images shot wide open were really nice, but it had a very undependable shutter that hung, leading to wasted time and film trying to get good results. So when I started to see occasional listings for some small 6x4.5 cameras by Balda, Certo, and Welta equipped with f/2.9 Trioplan lenses, my interest was certainly piqued. It seemed like it could be perfection for me to have a camera that had a lens with the speed of the Schneider, the color rendition of the Trioplan, and the compact size and ability to shoot 16 exposures to a roll like the Ikonta A.
The coveted goal of my interests: a lens line I really liked with the fast maximum aperture I wanted.