This piece is taken from Classic Camera Magazine
number 22, and is provided to try to demonstrate the style of the magazine.
Note that the magazine article is illustrated, but in order to keep download
times to a minimum, I have omitted the illustrations from this version.
All back issues of Classic Camera Magazine are available;
see the main Classic Camera Magazine page for
The Pullin Optical Co. Ltd., of Phoenix Works, Great West Road, Brentford, were involved in the immediate post-war period with the development and production of a number of photographic and related products, which were unusual and often innovative in design, and manufactured to high standards of engineering and finish. Besides the rangefinder, the company made a neat little selenium exposure meter, professional-standard slide projectors and lenses and an excellent 35 mm. emlarger.
In the 1950s, even a modest amateur camera cost the equivalent of the average weekly income; the perceived desirable feature of a coupled rangefinder was completely out of the reach of the majority. The 'second-best' option was to acquire a separate rangefinder, and a large number of different makes and designs was available.
The Pullin instrument is of a unique design. Not only does it accurately measure distances between 2 feet and infinity, but in addition an ingenious system is provided to indicate the depth of field for lenses of two inch, three inch and four-and-a half- inch focal lengths. Whilst the Pullin rangefinder is comparatively large, when compared with most other designs of camera rangefinder (and quite unsuitable for 'on-camera' mounting), it is easy to read, and is of robust construction, capable of withstanding abnormal shocks without losing accuracy.
What is unusual about the Pullin rangefinder is the absence of silvered or semi-silvered mirrors. There is a tendency for these items to deteriorate with age, resulting in a loss of clarity and brightness when viewing. In the Pullin, two fixed prisms are used. These are held in position by spring-loaded mountings, which provide the resistance to shock damage. The adjustment for distance is provided by a movable wedge in the form of a pair of lenses mounted in front of the right-hand prism, and connected to the reading scale. It is claimed that this system gave four times greater accuracy than the conventional 'movving mirror' system used on most other rangefinders.
The actual view provides a combination of 'split-field' and 'coincident image' types. The field is divided into three horizontal zones, and the upper and lower zones give a 'split-field' view; the central zone overlaps the images, giving a 'coincident image'. The view is adjusted until the three images coincide, and the distance is then read from the scale.
Adjacent to the distance scale, is the depth of field scale (described in the instruction book incorrectly as 'depth of focus'). This follows the common pattern used around camera lenses, where a central position indicates the actual focus setting, and the depth of field scale shows the area of reasonably sharp focus at apertures from f/3.5 to f/16 on the scales for three inch and four-and-a half- inch lenses, or from f/3.5 to f/11 on the scale for two inch lenses.
The depth of field scales are selected by pulling out the spring-loaded milled knob adjacent to the viewing window, and turning it in either direction until the required scale comes into view.
The Pullin rangefinder is nicely finished in black, with a satin-chromed top plate. It originally arrived in a cardboard box with a comprehensive instruction and explanatory leaflet. The price in 1951 was £4 17s. 6d. and a leather case was offered at 5s. extra.
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