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Voigtländer Vitomatic II, 35mm rangefinder camera c1958

Voigtländer Vitomatic II coupled rangefinder camera, a German built and comfortably sized 35mm camera. Based on the Vito B, the construction is 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 a similarly finished casting 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. The exception to this is the top housing which is pressed from ductile steel, presumably due to the amount of stretch required during forming. A frame counter is supplied with the read out being in a small curved window let into the base plate. 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. 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 shutter will not work without a film in the camera. The camera is fitted with a front mounted selenium cell powering a needle for the matchmeter located in the top housing. To operate, the user pointed the camera at the scene and the two centre knurled rings around the lens barrel would be adjusted until the matchmeter and indicator needles aligned. Then the rear ring would be manipulated to either the shutter speed or aperture desired, depending upon requirements, the exposure being maintained. 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. A disadvantage brought about by counting down, rather than up, as the start point could be either 36 or 24, depending upon the film loaded. This immaculate example is unusual in that it was purchased for the collection in September 2023, a rarity as we have actively discontinued new acquisitions in recent years. 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.

Voigtlander Vitomatic II, 35mm camera c1958

Body No. None
Shutter, Prontor SVK-V Serial No.4890198. The V is stylized as per the Voigtländer typeface, so presumably was only intended to them, speeds B, 1, 2, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125 & 300th
Lens, Color Skopar 50mm f/2.8
Condition, 5F

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