Vintage Heyde’s Aktino Photometer


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Vintage Heyde’s Aktino Photometer

This relic of photographic history is a Vintage Heyde’s Aktino Photometer made when cameras came without their own internal exposure meter (photometer), range finder, self timers, and electronic flashes.

It was made by Gustav Heyde KG (GHD), Dresden, Germany; a company founded by Gustav Heyde in 1872 and known for their mechanical optical measuring devices.  Gustav Heyde went into receivership in 1932 and was superseded by the Feinmess company, which is still in existence today.

This is one of several known variants of the Aktino-Photometer: Heyde’s Aktino Photometer Modell II Blende 8-Version and dates to the early 1900s and probably WW1!

Labelled Heyde’s Aktino- Photometer D.R.G.MDeutsches Reich Gebrauchs Muster (pre-WW2 Germany) Registered Design. A form of early German copyright.

In good, unboxed, cosmetic condition with some superficial surface scuffs. However, the photometer is not working and the selling price has been reduced to reflect this. There is something loose rattling around inside and I haven’t been able to open it up to discover the cause. Despite the fact it is not working, this early exposure meter is still a great collectible. A nice addition to your collection of photographic accessories or vintage technology ephemera.

Approximate Dimensions
  • Diameter: 7.3cm
  • Depth: 2.7cm

The scale is calibrated in exposure times ranging from 1/64 to 1500 seconds and f-stops from f 8 to f 45. Depending on the incidence of light, the measuring sensitivity (level 1, values 0-10 / level 2, values 10-20) is set using the small lever on the viewing side.

For more vintage photographic equipment, please click on the following link.

Mode of Use

  1. View the subject through the meter eyepiece and rotate the lever until the scene disappears.
  2. An arrow on the back of the casing will point to an outlined section on the meter scale.
  3. Each section lists a series of shutter speeds, and corresponding to each speed, its associated lens aperture (f-stop).
  4. Any of the listed shutter speed/f-stop combinations can be chosen for a correct exposure.
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Additional information

Weight 0.6 kg