The King Regula RM is a 35mm rangefinder camera manufactured by King as part of the King Regula line, and produced between 1956 and 1959. The Regula RM can be considered a fixed lens version of the IIId model, sharing many similar features and functions.
In terms of construction, the Regula RM follows the same design as its predecessor, featuring a predominantly metal body with plastic components limited to trim around windows, the film take-up spool, stuck-on leatherette, and the light meter scale. This sturdy build ensures durability and reliability.
The camera featured a range of four different lenses, each sourced from Enna, Rodenstock, Steinheil, and Zeiss.
It is equipped with a coupled rangefinder and an uncoupled Bewi light meter. The light meter is activated by a red button located on the top of the camera and reads the light value (LV) scale. The lens of the Regula RM employs an LV priority style shutter/aperture system. However, it is worth noting that the aperture lacks the f/22 setting found in the IIId model.
The rangefinder control of the Regula RM is reminiscent of the Cita/Cita III cameras. The focus ring is positioned behind other components next to the camera body. This arrangement can make focusing somewhat cumbersome, as at the extreme ends of the focus scale (1m or infinity), one’s fingers may obstruct either the viewfinder or rangefinder windows.
One notable improvement of the Regula RM compared to the IIId is its larger and better viewfinder/rangefinder. The viewfinder incorporates view lines with parallax correction marks, enhancing accuracy and facilitating composition. The rangefinder overlay is also clearer due to its larger and rectangular shape, as opposed to the round overlay in the IIId.
The King Regula RM stands as a testament to King’s dedication to producing quality cameras within the III series range. Despite not bearing the series name explicitly, it inherits the reliable construction and functional features of its predecessors. The improvements in the viewfinder and rangefinder systems contribute to an enhanced user experience, ultimately making the Regula RM an intriguing choice for photographers seeking a vintage 35mm camera.
King, established in 1936 by the King family, initially focused on producing electrical and wireless components. In 1938, the company, known as King KG at the time, relocated from Pforzheim to a factory in Bad Liebenzell, where they continued their manufacturing operations. Pius and Herbert King, father and son, were associated with Regula-Werk & Bauser GmbH in the late 1970s. Pius founded the company in 1936, likely to produce radio-related components during the German war effort. Following the war, much of the factory equipment was confiscated by the Allies. In 1949, King KG shifted its focus to camera production under the Regula brand.
At some point before the 1970s, Pius handed over the daily operations of the factory to his son Herbert and his son-in-law Wilfried Bauser, who was married to one of Pius’ daughters. Consequently, the company name was changed to include “& Bauser.” Bauser also served as a director of Concord Camera Europe, a U.S.-based producer of affordable cameras and photographic equipment, until 1993.
Volkmar Kleinfeldt, an avid collector and well-versed in Regula’s history and products, possesses extensive knowledge of the brand. If desired, I can reach out to him to gather additional details. The earliest models of King Regulas were likely completed as early as July 1949 and showcased at a local exhibition, although the specific event is unknown as the renowned German camera show, Photokina, did not commence until 1950.
We would like to thank Mike Eckman and his readers for their archaeological work in searching for information about the German camera manufacturer King and the history of King Regula cameras. You can find more information on his website: https://mikeeckman.com/2022/06/king-regula-rm-1956/
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