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Julian Tanase Photography

My Minox journey continues…

IOR Optior

IOR Optior

Made by the optics factory of IOR (Industria/Intreprinderea Optica Romana) in 1956, and stopped being produced  in 1960. A very simple camera, the basics, destined to the large masses of amateur photographers. Well, photography amateurs, as large masses go, were rather a very small number in Romania at the time (as opposed to some Western countries), and by a statistic I’ve read recently, Romania was until the 90’s one of the country with the smallest number of people owning a photographic camera. No idea if this is true or not, just quoting data found elsewhere.

The camera is a 4,5×6 format on 120 film (43×55 frame), with a rotating button for advancing the film; a simple meniscus uncoated lens made by IOR (75mm), and two shutter speeds (leaf), of 1/25 and T. Viewfinder is simple glass, with no parallax. No metering or anything of that sort. Body is metal throughout, plastic only at the lens insert. Two metallic lugs for a strap are studded in the camera body. A film window with check switch built onto the back of the body, red window present and glued.

IOR made a number of cameras, during the years: AFS, Optior, Orizont, Orizont 3, Orizont Amator, Orizont Amator D, Orizont Expo, Orizont Optim-A. Out of these, I have only 3 models (Orizont 3, Orizont Amator and Optior), this one here)  in my collection, the others are scarce and not easy to be found.

According to the press of the time, this camera was apparently well-received by the Romanians, mainly because it was cheap and available in shops, whereas the Western made ones were not. True, some people had better cameras, but the number was smaller than we might think today.

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