Zenith Comet Flash

Meet the Comet Flash Camera, proudly manufactured by the Zenith Camera Corporation in the comedy capital of cameras, Chicago.

Picture this: it’s made of black plastic and cheap aluminum, the kind of aluminum that’s kin to those 1960’s lawn chairs you bought for a relaxing summer, only to break halfway through their first season of use. The lens? Plastic.

Now, let’s talk about its attempt to reinvent the wheel. The viewfinder takes a detour and decides to chill on the left side of the body, going through the back door like it’s trying to attend a secret party. The lens assembly pulls out like it’s playing peek-a-boo with the camera body, complete with helpful increment marks saying, “Pull out and focus.” Someone get this camera a dating profile!

The front of the lens hosts a tiny slotted switch that, when turned, cocks the shutter. Just be careful not to accidentally photobomb yourself with your own finger – the shutter release is strategically placed on the bottom front of the lens assembly, making finger photobombing a real risk. Next to the shutter release button is a shutter release cable receptacle which says “time”. There’s a tripod mount on the bottom.

And the pièce de résistance? Two metal fingers in the film compartment that are so tight, they make the film regret signing up for this adventure. Cranking the take-up knob might give you a blister, making you question if you accidentally signed up for a workout session. These metal fingers are so rebellious, they push against the back door, causing major light leaks.

In the end, this camera takes eight 1 3/8″ x 2″ images on 127 film, proving that even in the world of photography, size does matter. The viewfinder downplays it’s role as there’s more to the image area than is revealed.

Those nasty fingers.

 

 

 

McKeown’s says this camera was manufactured in 1948, an upgrade from the original Comet that was produced in 1947.

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