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Voigtlander Vito 1

 

The technical stuff:

Type: Folding Viewfinder 35mm

Lens: Voigtlander Skopar 50mm f3.5

Shutter: Prontor 

 

 

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.

As 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.

 

 

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