This is an early example of a Voigtlander Vito 1, which
was first introduced in 1940. It's difficult to date precisely when this
was made because actual production ceased during the war years and resumed
in 1945. This is a double cartridge type for use with non perforated 35mm
film. This would suggest that it is early in the production line because
the sprocket spindle for perforated film came in shortly after the restart
of production. Originally this would have used paper backed film which was
advanced into a receiving cassette. Unfortunately this one is missing the
cassette but a previous owner has modified a standard cassette which
works, albeit crudely.
In defiance of it's age it is in
generally good condition and the only weak points are the front door has a
spring missing from the release pin and the slow speeds are a bit
sluggish. The lens itself is in good condition with only a few tiny marks
on the inner element. I've never been a Voigtlander fan, for the same
reason as with Leica or Zeiss, too much hype leads you to think that the
marque is special in some way, a kind of designer label. Given that this
camera is sixty years old and still in almost perfect working order I have
to admit that this is special and truly a classic, not based on it's name,
but based entirely on it's quality. I have managed to load some film into
it and I am really looking forward to using it to see if it's performance
is up to the mark.
I think I can safely give that a yes.
The detail resolution of the lens is amazing and bear in mind that this is
an early Skopar lens which is uncoated, not the later colour Skopar.
Handling is a little bit awkward but that's probably because I'm not used
to cameras of this type. I'm accustomed to cradling the lens in my left
hand, as with SLR, but this doesn't work well with bellows type cameras
especially when the door is hinged to the side. The manual wind on is a
bit stiff but not too bad and the camera in general was a joy to use, it
will definitely be out again. The film I have used here gave me something
of a problem until I threw my mind back a few years. All the pictures were
printing with a distinct pink tinge then I realised I was using Agfa
colour film which historically has had a reddish cast. A small tweak in
the colour levels corrected this and now they look great. When you
consider that this camera is over 60 years old this is a superb
performance well worthy of the Voigtlander's reputation.
promised it has now been out for a second outing and the results are even
better than the first. I'm getting used to the handling now which has
helped. I have to say that this really is a classic camera and great fun
to play with.