This early Bessa came with four lens options (in increasing quality): Voigtar, Vaskar, Skopar, and the Color Skopar. There were also three leaf shutter options (also in increasing quality): Prontor, Compur, Compur Rapid. My Bessa has a lowly Voigtar lens. The lowest f-stop is 7.7!!!! I'll leave it at home when shooting low-light and action--you can bet on that. I'm still trying to figure out which shutter it has...probably the Prontor. There is a handy cable release in addition to the traditional lever, just to up the vintage factor and make for steadier shots. Photographs are framed via the visual finder (landscape) or the waist level finder (portrait). There is no sophisticated winding mechanism on this camera. You simply wind the film until the next backing paper mark appears through the red window on the back. No double-exposure prevention, of course, but that may make for some interesting, creative images.
Vintage Camera: Voigtländer Bessa
I'm shooting a lot and am on the road this week, so no new High Line or other original images for a few days. Instead, enjoy "vintage camera week"! To start things off, check out my latest tag sale find, a
Voigtländer is one of the oldest names in camera history. It was founded in 1756 to produce optical instruments. In 1840 Voigtländer started to make cameras and lenses. During the 20th century, the company was bought, sold, folded, and was revived by the likes of Zeiss Ikon, Rollei, and Cosina. Today, the name is largely associated with rangefinders.
Voigtländer is also famous for calling many of its models "Bessa", which can get confusing.