Film Photography

Repaired: Certo Super Sport Dolly

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 thoughts on “Repaired: Certo Super Sport Dolly

  1. 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.

    • 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.

  2. SilverFox says:

    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? :)

  3. Christopher Smith says:

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

  4. Reinhold Graf says:

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

    • 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.

  5. Andy Umbo says:

    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!

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

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