|Voigtländer Vito B, 35mm camera c1954|
This Voigtländer Vito B is a delightful, beautifully engineered and compact camera.
What does strike you upon picking one up is the weight, there's a lot of brass in the lens assembly. Construction is entirely conventional for the period consisting of a zinc/aluminium die cast body painted satin black overall and finished with natural leather. Onto this is mounted a Gauthier supplied shutter mechanism. The rear hatch is similarly die cast and finished with the base plate and hinged film removal hatch being pressed parts from unidentified metal. The same material appears have been used for the remainder of the bright parts which are satin chrome plated. A frame counter is supplied with the read out being in a small square window let into the top housing and centred just over the lens and shutter barrel. This counter does not reset automatically, the user being required to set the film counter to the number of frames expected from the roll, the display counts down, indicating the number of pictures remaining, contrary to most cameras. This particular version is the compact model with the small finder window and short top housing. The camera is also unusual in that the the film being pulled over the sprocket is actually the shutter cocking mechanism. The upshot being that the camera shutter will not work without a film in it. The Vito family had an interlock binding the shutter speed and aperture together, the user being required to press a tab to disengage the interlock to set the correct exposure. After that changing either speed or aperture preserved the exposure, providing the lighting conditions hadn't changed. In order to keep the design clean, the rewind knob was designed to retract flush with the the top housing, a discrete serrated tab being operated to cause it to pop up, this action also disengaging the sprocket clutch. As the film was wound back into the cassette the film counter would count back up so, providing a film with the same number of pictures was used next, it could be considered to have been reset. Another version had a much enlarged viewfinder - go
to it. Voigtländer 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, Voigtländer cameras have tended to
exhibit quality in both build and optics. The name continues to adorn
a small range of cameras into the 21st century, albeit in name only.
Body No. None
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