This is one of the earlier Rapid models produced around 1954 (note that the instruction manual refers to it as the Rapid A). It is quite a compact camera, with a nice robust feel about it. The main claim to fame was the the introduction of the 'Rapid' film advance lever, as the name implies. Interestingly, the film advance lever is operated by the left hand, which is not all that unusual in itself. What is strange, though, is that the film chamber (rather than the film take-up spool) is directly below the lever. When you advance the lever, the mechanism appears to push the film away from the film chamber to the take-up spool on the other side of the camera. In fact, the 'rapid' lever is connected to the take-up spool by means of linkages under the top plate. Iloca reverted to a more conventional right-hand lever position on later Rapid models.
In other respects this camera is fairly orthodox with Prontor (1 to 1/300 sec plus B) or Vero (1/25 to 1/200 sec plus B) shutters and 45mm Cassar F2.8 lens. The Prontor models also had a choice of 'M' and 'X' flash settings plus a 'V' delayed action (self timer) setting. The left-handed film advance is surprisingly comfortable to use and easily enables the photographer to take (dare I say it) a rapid sequence of shots. The camera has quite a nice feel to it, which I am sure would have appealed to plenty of buyers in its day.
This model has no metering and no rangefinder - features that were introduced progressively into later models. The viewfinder reduces the image considerably, but you can still achieve reasonably accurate framing and composition once you get used to it. Close-ups, however, are a different story. With an offset viewfinder, you need to allow plenty of space around the subject to make sure you capture everything you want. The lens gives quite good results for a camera of this type - not pin-sharp but not bad either, and colours seem to be rendered quite well.
All in all, this is a relatively compact, well-built camera that is pleasant to use. Follow this link to view photo galleries produced by this camera.
One tip for opening the back on these cameras - pull the rewind knob upwards to its full extension. Then twist slowly clockwise and the springloaded mechanism should release the back. When replacing the back on earlier models, make sure the red dots on the camera back and the camera body are aligned. On later models, the camera back is not symmetrical and only fits one way.
A neat, compact 35mm camera, with a nice feel. Robust and well-built, it is capable of producing quite good results under the right conditions. The left handed 'rapid' film advance lever is surprisingly comfortable and practical to use.
Specifications: Iloca Rapid
Camera Type: 35 mm Compact Camera
Format: 35mm film format producing image sizes 24mm x 36mm
Shutter: Prontor–SVS with speeds 'B', 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/300 sec, with V delayed action setting and M, X flash synch settings; or Vero with speeds 'B', 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 sec and flash socket
Lens: Steinheil München Cassar 1:2.8 / 45 mm, focus range 3 feet (0.9 metre) to ∞
Aperture: F2.8 to F16
Delayed Action: Approx 10 seconds (Prontor shutter model only)
Flash Capability: Flash Contact Socket
Frame Counter: 0 to 36
Other Features: Accessory Shoe, Tripod Mount, Leather Camera Case, Instruction Manual, Box