Focabell Bellows Systems

An overview of the products made by Miranda


Focabell bellows were offered from the earliest times of the Orion Camera Co. The Mirax outfit (shown elsewhere on this site) came complete with an early Focabell, marked "Orion Camera Co." and equipped with a moveable focussing stage, lever locks, and the 44mm thread mount only. The lens supplied for this Focabell was a "Supreme" 105mm f2.8 lens in short mount.

MHS Newsletter Volume 4 Number 3/4 reports four different types of early Focabell bellows labelled "Miranda Camera Co." All of these units were based on the original Orion model, and are very solidly made, satisfying instruments in use. Focussing gearing is smooth without backlash, and rigidity is very high.  I have seen three of these types, noted below.

Type 1: dual rail, lever locks, 44mm threads only, no magnification scale
Type 2: dual rail, lever locks, both 44mm threads and bayonet mounts, no magnification scale
Type 3: dual rail, lever locks, both 44mm threads and bayonet mounts, central magnification scale
Type 4: dual rail, wheel locks, both 44mm threads and bayonet mounts, central magnification scale

One collector also has an unusual variant, with wheel locks and no magnification scale. The name plate for this item is mounted differently to the standard types above.

Later models of the Focabell were more compact and considerably lighter in operation. These were initially a supplementary budget model to the dual-rail Focabells. I have seen several quite different designs, most with the folding rail.  There were three versions of the last (very lightweight) design, one of which came with an automatic diaphragm mechanism.

The Focabell illustrations below are a Type 2 bellows serial number 621384.

Focabel_Mir_621384_top_thqtr.jpg (23779 bytes)

Focabel_Mir_621384_lhs.jpg (30080 bytes)

Focabel_Mir_621384_rhs.jpg (55437 bytes) Focabel_Mir_621384_bottom.jpg (43338 bytes)

General view

Left view, showing levers for locking standards and focussing stage Right view, showing focus wheel View from underneath
Focabel_Mir_621384_top_nameplate.jpg (27360 bytes) Focabel_Mir_621384_front.jpg (34246 bytes) Focabel_Mir_621384_back.jpg (32556 bytes) Focabel_Mir_621384_lever_dtl.jpg (47222 bytes)
Nameplate and serial no. Front shows dual mount, no magnification scale Back shows latch allowing 90 degree rotation on camera Detail of lever locks

For comparison, here are a couple of similar views of the Orion Focabell, and the Type III Focabell with magnification scale. For interest, I'm also picturing the Orion with its original "Supreme" lens provided by Orion Camera Co.

Focabel_Orion_top_name.jpg (43539 bytes) Focabel_Mir_III_front_thqtr.jpg (48422 bytes) Supreme+bellows.jpg (57056 bytes)
Orion name plate, showing screw-only front mount on this model Miranda Camera Co. early Focabell type III, showing magnification scale protruding through the front plate at the center The same model bellows, this time with the legendary 105mm "Supreme" lens sold with the Mirax and Focabel for Leica and Nikon/Contax RF cameras.
Typical  Focabel S, very compact,   but  quite light in construction and rigidity (from the examples I have seen, anyway !)
Four different versions of the last design of the single-rail Focabell, all with folding rail. The unit on the left is marked "Miranda" but actually has an Exakta fixed front mount !  I will put more details and illustrations up concering these units as data becomes available.
Focabell_S.jpg (26118 bytes)

photo courtesy
Focabel_small_4types.jpg (39768 bytes)