Italy 1954 – Compact – 35 mm – Very rare.
Starting in 1949, Domenico Chinaglia of Belluno in north-west Italy started producing the Kristall Cameras, Italian copies of the Leica II.
Chinaglia was an incredible character and produced cameras in various locations. He collaborated with several other entrepreneurs of the times ultimately giving birth to several brands like Wega or Afiom. This explains why several similarities exist across models and why numerous signatures appear on the various cameras.
The productions were mostly small series and the Kristall R produced in 1954 is the latest and rarest of the Kristal series. Only 300 were ever produced mainly for the British market.
The Kristall R is a beautiful camera, rather a “Leica II inspiration” than just a copy. Its stainless steel body was much advertised at the time and gives it a very distinctive look and weight. It is said that if the ISO Bilux can be considered as the Italian Leica Queen, the Kristall definitely deserves to be the Princess.