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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. Picture shows the camera fitted with a Photopia rangefinder in the accessory shoe. 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.

Voigtlander Bessa 1, folding 120 roll film camera C1950
No serial Nos.
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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