Detail view of the Mechau 4 projector by AEG (1930); Photo: J.K. Leopold
Detail view of the Mechau 4 projector by AEG (1930); Photo: J.K. Leopold

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DEFA Reflex

When 70 mm film was introduced internationally at the beginning of the 1960s, DEFA began its first experiments with this new film gauge. Due to an agreement with the Soviet Union, at first only Russian-built cameras were used. In 1964, the DEFA camera workshop under the leadership of the engineer Georg Maidorn developed its own camera for 70 mm film: the DEFA 70 Reflex.

DEFA Reflex (1964)
Dreharbeiten zum Pilotfilm \"DEFA 70\"

The box construction, with interior magazines that have a capacity for holding 375 m of film, made the camera largely soundproof. Measurements registered a running noise of less than 28 phons from a distance of 1.2 metres.
Through the use of light artificial materials, e.g. for the interior covering, the weight of the camera could be kept low, so that no new tripod constructions were necessary.
In 1965, cameraman Werner Bergmann shot a short pilot film with this camera called "DEFA 70". The goal of this film was to try out the possibilities of the new gauge and to introduce them to audiences.
70 mm film was not, however, as successful as had been hoped. Especially during a time of international economic difficulties, the financial and technical expense was entirely disproportionate to the results.