Lynx is also a name used for Yashica rangefinder cameras
|Bloc Métal 41|
|Bloc Métal 45|
The Lynx was a 3x4 camera, using 127 film, made from 1942 to 1950 by the French maker Pontiac. It had a striated aluminium body. Some were painted black to give the illusion of leather covering, from a distance.
The most common version, with about 100,000 made, is the Lynx II, with a focal plane shutter from 1/25 to 1/500. (The concept of a focal plane shuttered 3x4 camera was initiated by the Foth Derby.) Some had a self-timer. The film advance was not coupled to the shutter winding, and used a red window. The lens was fixed and collapsible with helical focusing, and could be:
- Angénieux Type Z5 50/2.9 three element
- Berthiot Flor 50/3.5 four element
- Berthiot Flor 50/2.8 six element
Today some dealers boast the Angénieux name, well known as a top class maker, but in fact the Angénieux lens was the cheapest, and the comparatively lesser known Berthiot Flor 2.8 was the luxury choice.
The other versions are very rare. The Lynx I was the very first model, made during the war in 1942. It did not have focal plane shutter, which was probably not operational yet, but a Pontiac or Gitzo leaf shutter from 1/25 to 1/200. The shutter cocking is not coupled with the film advance. The lens was the four element Berthiot Flor 50/3.5 with front cell focusing. The lens and shutter assembly was mounted on a retracting helix. The front plate was in bright aluminium. It is said no more than one hundred were made. The Lynx Compur was essentially the same camera with the same front cell focusing lens mounted in a non retracting Compur shutter to 1/300. The front plate was like on the Lynx II.
The Lynx de Nuit was a luxury version mounting a fixed Berthiot Flor 55/1.5 seven element lens, with a very massive rigid barrel. It was announced since 1942 and produced in very small quantities just after the war. On a 1942 advertisement it was presented with a shutter to 1/1500, but the production models had the same shutter as the Lynx II.
In 1948, the Lynx Standard had a rigid Berthiot Flor 40/3.5 lens.
About the end of the production in 1950, a Lynx Roussel (unofficial designation) was made with a Roussel 50/3.5 three element lens. It had a rigid conical lens barrel and front cell focusing.
A Lynx III was announced with interchangeable lenses. The advertised range of lenses was:
- Berthiot Olor 38/5.7, 5 elements
- Berthiot Flor 50/2.8, 6 elements
- Berthiot Flor 55/1.5, 7 elements
- Berthiot Télé 75/2.5, 6 elements
The advertisement said the lenses would be common with the Super Lynx. Maybe some prototypes were produced. In Classic Camera Magazine #25 reproduced on Marriott's page it is said that at the 18th Photographic Exhibition in Paris "Pontiac also showed their improved 127 roll film Lynx models, including the Model III, which will have coated interchangeable lenses", together with the Super Lynx I. On another ad (see here), it was said the Lynx III would have an exposure counter and a coupling of the film advance to the shutter winding, in addition to the interchangeable lenses. Vial says the variant with exposure counter and coupled advance was also announced as Lynx IV.
- Vial, Bernard. Histoire des appareils français. Période 1940–1960. Paris: Maeght Éditeur, 1980, re-impressed in 1991. ISBN 2-86941-156-1.
- Pontiac Lynx, Super Lynx, Baby Lynx, Fotofiche 15, Patrice-Hervé Pont, Ed Fotosaga
- On www.collection-appareils.fr by Sylvain Halgand
- Pontiac page at Collection Argentique by Gérard Langlois
- Pontiac page at ClicClac
- Pontiac page at Photoptic (the site is dead and the links point to the most recent web archive versions)
- Lynx advertisement among camera advertisements by ipernity user Publicain