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Voigtlander Bessa 1, folding 120 roll film camera C1950

The Voigtlander Bessa I is a simple German, strut braced, self erecting folding roll film camera for 8 frames 6 x 9cm format or 16 frames 4.5 x 6cm format, the latter achieved with a removable mask fitted at the focal plane. When the mask is fitted it retracts a blind built into the rear hatch allowing both red windows to be used, this is to allow each frame number to be used twice. Compensation for the consequential viewfinder change is by four rotating masks in the viewfinder, two for distance and two with correction for parallax error when the subject is close to the camera. Construction is primarily of stamped steel plate riveted together to form the main body, this being painted gloss black externally and satin black inside. The body covering is faux leather. The front hatch is a slightly heavier gauge steel pressing, with faux leather and black paint with the lens support riveted in place and finished in crackle paint. The bellows follow long established practice and are natural leather with card stiffeners and linen liner. The satin chromed top housing is pressed from brass and the majority of the workings are from turned brass too. The Bessa series started out in the early 1930s when it was just known as the Bessa and came with a variety of shutter and lens combinations. A rangefinder version was introduced in the mid 1930s known as the Bessa RF. The Bessa II was introduced around the same time as this Bessa I, but had a coupled rangefinder. This example was acquired in 1983 and was the first purchase for the embryonic Living Image.

Voigtlander is decidedly unusual in that the company predates the invention of photography by some 90 years, scientific instruments being its business initially in Vienna then Germany from the mid 1800s. Following the year after the first commercially available photographic processes were announced the company developed the first mathematically computed lens, the f/3.7 Petzval, named after the mathematician who did the tricky bit. With such heritage, Voigtlander cameras have tended to exhibit quality in both build and optics. Eventually the company went the way of many and ceased operations in 1982. The Voigtlander name was bought out by RINGFOTO GmbH & Co, and subsequent licensed use for the Voigtlander Bessa L and R cameras made by Cosina from 1999.

Voigtlander Bessa 1, folding 120 roll film camera C1950
Voigtlander didn't trouble themselves with serial numbers.
Shutter, Prontor-S, speeds B, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50. 100 & 250th
Lens, Color Skopar, 105mm f/3.5
Condition, 6H

Cover AW

 

 

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