Certo Super Sport Dolly

Woot! Woot woot woot! I’ve licked all of the problems with my Certo Super Sport Dolly.

First it was a broken element in the focusing system. And then there was a pesky light leak. I’ve vanquished both.

The light leak was caused by some tiny holes in the bellows where it attaches to the body. A little black fabric paint closed those holes.

And so I dropped in some Kodak Tri-X 400…and then did nothing with the camera for weeks. I chose Tri-X because we were in a stretch of lousy weather, and I figured a fast film would work fine in the gloomy light. But the very moment I loaded the roll, the sun came out and blazed bright for days. Does Tri-X control the weather? Given the camera’s 1/250 sec. top shutter speed, my exposure options would be strictly limited.

When I had to drive up to Burlington for a meeting of the Historic Michigan Road Association, I decided to heck with it and took the SSD with me. I shot two thirds of the roll on the Michigan Road at the minimum aperture, f/22, and fastest shutter speed, 1/250 sec., and even that overexposed the film by a stop. But Tri-X is resilient.

Burlington, IN

After the meeting we toured the 1848 “American House,” which is being restored and will eventually be a museum and maybe a B&B. Boy, the house is in rough condition inside.

The 1848

I drove up to Michigantown, where this tidy Christian Church lurked on a side street.

Christian Church

And of course I stopped in Kirklin. It might just be my favorite little town on all of the Michigan Road. I’ve photographed this building many times.

Truck Parked

I wanted to see how the camera performed in light better suited to the film. As dawn broke one morning, I stepped onto my porch to photograph my garden. There was scarcely enough light; the in-focus patch was narrow.

Front Garden

A little past sunrise, the sky overcast and gray, I photographed my car just beyond my blooming peonies.

Ford Among the Peonies

Many thanks to Mike Connealy for his assistance making this Super Sport Dolly work again!


24 responses to “Repaired: Certo Super Sport Dolly”

  1. conspicari Avatar

    Great results from the Certo, really like the image tones. I have a Voigtlander Bessa that I must give a try.

      1. conspicari Avatar

        Just had a look, nice images. Mine has a f6.3 – 105mm lens and there is a removable film mask and 2 red film No. windows on the back.

  2. Steve Miller Avatar
    Steve Miller

    TRi-X? I miss Pan-X…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There are, unfortunately, plenty of films to miss these days, given how many have gone out of production.

  3. Mike Avatar

    Nice performance from the Dolly. I’ve always been impressed with the capabilities of the Trioplan lens; it seems just as sharp as the 4-element Tessars on my other 6×4.5 folders. I have shot 400-speed film more often than not in my Dolly as the greater depth of field it allows makes up for bad guesses on the distance settings.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! I’d like to get some ISO 200 film in 120 for my old folders. That seems like the right compromise that would let me shoot them more easily.

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Impressive work here with this old folder. I wish I had the patience.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks man. I generally don’t do repairs, but this camera belonged to the father of a friend so it was worth investing in.

  5. SilverFox Avatar

    Nice little folder, where’s the viewfinder? Does it have a view screen on the back or something or is it a point and hope? :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Pop up viewfinder on the side. The side you can’t see in the photo!

      1. SilverFox Avatar

        ahhhh I see (or don’t quite) :) Doing a full review?

          1. SilverFox Avatar

            ha ha my bad, I should have spotted that :)

  6. Christopher Smith Avatar
    Christopher Smith

    Well worth repairing you have got some cracking shots with it. I love old folders and trying to get the best out of them.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Christopher! It is fun to make these old folders do their thing.

  7. Reinhold Graf Avatar
    Reinhold Graf

    Love your pictures and love this old stuff.
    Have a Zeiss Ikon Ercona myself which is awaiting its first 6×9 film ;)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I had to go look that camera up — ooo, from the DDR! I hope you’ll share photos from yours when you get around to taking them.

  8. Jon Avatar

    Hi Jim, Color me impressed. Nice work.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Jon!!

  9. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Don’t forget to check the “Certo 6” guy on eBay and on the web. He’s a 120 folder “restorer” and has stuff for sale. He claims the Certo 6 is the best of the folders…google ’em up!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yes! He’s got some mighty good-looking gear for sale. His site (certo6.com) looks like it hasn’t been updated in ages though.

  10. Sam Avatar

    Happy shooting with the Certo, awesome results!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! Nice to have it fully working.

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