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Drépy

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The Drépy was a series of 6×9 folding cameras made by the French maker Pierrat from the mid 1940s to the mid 1950s. All could use both 120 and 620 rollfilm.


First series Edit

The first series had a folding optical finder. Some early models had metal instead of black trimming, or a bellows with large folds instead of narrow folds. All had a body release and were equipped with a self timer. Most had double-exposure prevention and dual-format capability: they had a mask integrated in the viewfinder and could take 4.5×6 cm pictures with a mask inserted in the exposure chamber.

The original Drépy, from about 1946 was dual format, had a Pierrat Drestop shutter from 1s to 1/250 with no flash sync and a four-element Pierrat Anastigmat Série IV lens, is reported here. From about 1949, a version appeared with M/X dual flash synchronization.

In 1950, the range was extended: a single-format body was launched, as well as a three-element Pierrat Drestyl 105/4.5 lens and a synchronized Pierrat Drestop I shutter from 1/10 to 1/150 (mistakenly described as 1/100 in some ads). At the same time, the Série IV four-element lens was renamed Drestar, and the Drestop 1–250 shutter was synchronized and renamed Drestop II (still marked Drestop). The range became:

  • single format (unsure if they had the double exposure prevention)
    • Drépy B, with uncoated Drestyl and synced Drestop I
    • Drépy BT, same with a coated lens (T for Traité)
  • dual format
    • a model with Drestyl and synched Drestop I, dual format, is reported here
    • maybe a model with Drestyl and synched Drestop II (mentioned as Drépy DT here, description probably copied from an ad but the pictures do not correspond)
    • a continuation of the original model, with Drestar and synched Drestop II (also called Drépy DT here, but maybe it is the uncoated Drépy E and coated Drépy ET mentioned on a 1950 ad shown here)
    • Drépy FT, with Drestar and dual (M/X) synched Drestop II (mentioned with Berthiot and Angénieux here, but unconfirmed)

Some have white-face shutters and others black-face shutters, it is unknown which model has which. A Drépy B or BT was offered in the 1952 Manufrance catalogue; the description gives no name and is illustrated with no Drépy engraving, but that does not necessarily mean that it was sold with no marking.

Second series Edit

From 1953, the second series had a long top plate integrating the optical finder. The finder mask for the 4.5×6 format was now an external part. A rangefinder version appeared called the Drépy GT. It had an uncoupled rangefinder, combined with the viewfinder. You had to read the distance on a ring on the top plate, then transfer the setting to the lens front element. On the other models, the same ring was used as a depth-of-field indicator. An ad reproduced in Vial's book shows the Drépy GT 3.5 with a top plate engraved Drépy, but all the known models have a riveted plate with the Drépy name, probably because Pierrat was beginning to sell the Drépy under distributor names. Some late models had no pod to hold the camera vertically.

Variants marked Drépy:

  • Drépy GT, uncoupled R/F, Drestop II shutter from 1s to 1/250
    • Drestar 100/3.5, mentioned in Vial's book, but not pictured and not yet observed elsewhere
    • Drestar 105/4.5, with black or white shutter plate
  • model with Drestar 105/4.5, Drestop Pansynchro from 1s to 1/250 (probably a later name for the M/X synced Drestop II), shown here with no pod
  • model with Drestyl 105/6.3, Drestop Synchro B, 25-50-100-150, no self timer, shown here

Variants marked Standard 6/9, with no Pierrat markings, even on the lens:

  • exists with uncoupled R/F, Drestar 105/4.5 and Drestop from 1s to 1/250
  • Coronar 105/4.5, no-name B, 1–250, pictured besides
  • Drestyl 105/6.3, Drestop Synchro B, 25-50-100-150, shown here with and without a pod, and mentioned here with 1/100 top shutter speed, probably by mistake
  • meniscus lens, B-25-75 synced shutter, no self timer, no body release, no depth-of-field indicator, no double-exposure prevention, no pod, shown here
    • the same with no markings at all is shown here

Variants marked Fotic, distributed by Photoptic Paris:

  • Fotic 105/6.3, Atos I 25–125 shutter marked Photoptic Paris, shown here
  • Boyer Topaz 105/6.3, same shutter, different Photoptic Paris markings, black top plate, pictured in Vial's book

It is reported that the Drépy was also sold under the name Samarys by the Samaritaine department store.

Lastly, the Drépy second series was listed in the Manufrance catalogue from 1953 to 1959, alternatively under the name Luminor or Manufrance. It was advertised with a coated 105/6.3 three-element lens and a shutter from 1/25 to 1/150 (sometimes 1/50, probably by mistake) with B. The lens is probably the Drestyl and the shutter is probably the Drestop Synchro. The illustrations of the Manufrance catalogues are confusing:

  • In 1953 and 1954, it is depicted with a f/4.5 lens and slow speeds, obviously by mistake. The lens reads Luminor Anastigmat and the shutter plate Luminor.
  • The following years, it is depicted with a Luminor 100/6.3 lens (probably another mistake), and a shutter plate marked Luminor Manufrance. The 1956 catalogue is presented at Gérard Langlois' site here.

No conclusion can be drawn from these unreliable advertisements, and it is not sure that any Drépy was effectively sold with Luminor or Manufrance markings.

The Drépy T85 Edit

The Drépy T85 was the prototype of a 6×9 and 6×6 dual-format rigid camera based on the body of the Drépy GT. The rangefinder was coupled to the helical of the Drestar 85/4.5 or Drestar 80/3.5 lens. According to Vial, it was presented at the Photo Salon in 1954, but none has ever surfaced. It appeared on advertisements, shown here and here.

Bibliography Edit

  • Vial, Bernard. Histoire des appareils français. Période 1940–1960. Paris: Maeght Éditeur, 1980, re-impressed in 1991. ISBN 2-86941-156-1.
  • Le Manufrance du collectionneur, Titre VI, La Photo, published by Éditions du Pécari.

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