Italy 1947 – Compact – 35 mm – Infrequent.
The Duca was the second camera produced by Durst, an Italian company headquartered in Brixen, South Tyrol.
It was first presented at the 24th Milan Trade Fair in September 1946 and went into production until 1952. The Duca is a quite basic and yet solid device that would go unnoticed if the Durst engineers had not worked on a unique vertical and particularly compact design.
Despite having the appearances of a 8 mm cine camera, the Duca is indeed a full frame still camera making 12 exposures on 35 mm film. The central position of the film (loaded in Agfa Karat cassettes from a side panel) allowed a very appealing ovoid shape that perfectly fits in a hand or pocket and leaves space for an integrated viewfinder on top. The Duca has no salient edges making it a “friendly” device one likes to hold and manipulate. Another very interesting design detail is the frame counter that is simply and efficiently positioned on the winding lever itself.
The Duca came with a beautiful and very unusual crinkle-finish paint in black, red, white, blue and brown, with five different colored leather bags to match the cameras. The result is a stylish and desirable collectible.
Just like the Comet III, the Duca is a very good example of how great Italian design can make up for otherwise pretty simple cameras. It is very probable that the vertical approach of the Duca actually inspired Bencini when designing the Comet III.