The Voigtlander Vitessa: Most elegant rangefinder folder 35 of all timeThe “Mercedes 300SL” of cameras it was doomed by its brilliant design!

Well, the F if it's a plain prism. But the Photomic is an abomination unto heaven... ;)
Hey, wait a minute... !! ;) :D

... A Nikon F Photomic FTn was my first SLR camera. I loved it, still do. Big, heavy, wacky meter prism, and all. I gave my last one to my good buddy who continues to shoot with it, keeping an early F plain prism for myself. Ah, memories of a long distant time...!!

G
 
For those thinking about mounting DKL lenses on an M, the adapter shown earlier doesn’t RF couple. However there is a sort of solution. I have used Bessamatic 50mm lenses (Color Skopar and Septon) with RF coupled on an M using a DKL-Pentax K adapter and then the Shoten R50 RF coupled PK to M adapter. It worked well enough but it was for fun and I haven’t done exhaustive testing yet.
 
Back to the subject of this thread.

I caved. The Vitessa is such an unusual and interesting camera, and "real" Voigtländers have always been such good shooters, that I looked around and saw a bunch of very clean looking ones in the $250-$290 range. "Ah, too much for what will essentially be a toy." Three of the ones I'd bookmarked as potentials ($190, $150, and $210) sold over the weekend.

I was just checking the sale prices to see what the auctions closed at and another popped up, a fresh advert posted only a few hours before. Absolutely sparkling clean and new looking in every photo, including a period light meter and a case in vg condition. And $160 buy-it-now price.

It's on the way to me. Like any 60 year old mechanical camera, it will probably need a full service. But heck, it's cool and "elegant"... Even if it spends most of its life sitting on the shelf next to my Vito II and Perkeo II. LOL! :D

G

vitessa.jpg
 
Back to the subject of this thread.

I caved. The Vitessa is such an unusual and interesting camera, and "real" Voigtländers have always been such good shooters, that I looked around and saw a bunch of very clean looking ones in the $250-$290 range. "Ah, too much for what will essentially be a toy." Three of the ones I'd bookmarked as potentials ($190, $150, and $210) sold over the weekend.

I was just checking the sale prices to see what the auctions closed at and another popped up, a fresh advert posted only a few hours before. Absolutely sparkling clean and new looking in every photo, including a period light meter and a case in vg condition. And $160 buy-it-now price.

It's on the way to me. Like any 60 year old mechanical camera, it will probably need a full service. But heck, it's cool and "elegant"... Even if it spends most of its life sitting on the shelf next to my Vito II and Perkeo II. LOL! :D

G

View attachment 4838806
As the song puts it, "if it makes you happy" :)
 
Back to the subject of this thread.

I caved. The Vitessa is such an unusual and interesting camera, and "real" Voigtländers have always been such good shooters, that I looked around and saw a bunch of very clean looking ones in the $250-$290 range. "Ah, too much for what will essentially be a toy." Three of the ones I'd bookmarked as potentials ($190, $150, and $210) sold over the weekend.

I was just checking the sale prices to see what the auctions closed at and another popped up, a fresh advert posted only a few hours before. Absolutely sparkling clean and new looking in every photo, including a period light meter and a case in vg condition. And $160 buy-it-now price.

It's on the way to me. Like any 60 year old mechanical camera, it will probably need a full service. But heck, it's cool and "elegant"... Even if it spends most of its life sitting on the shelf next to my Vito II and Perkeo II. LOL! :D

G

View attachment 4838806
NICE!
it is a lot of fun once you learn the quirks of the camera
The compur is pretty solid, check the 1s speed and exercise it a few hundred times :)
 
Back to the subject of this thread.

I caved. The Vitessa is such an unusual and interesting camera, and "real" Voigtländers have always been such good shooters, that I looked around and saw a bunch of very clean looking ones in the $250-$290 range. "Ah, too much for what will essentially be a toy." Three of the ones I'd bookmarked as potentials ($190, $150, and $210) sold over the weekend.

I was just checking the sale prices to see what the auctions closed at and another popped up, a fresh advert posted only a few hours before. Absolutely sparkling clean and new looking in every photo, including a period light meter and a case in vg condition. And $160 buy-it-now price.

It's on the way to me. Like any 60 year old mechanical camera, it will probably need a full service. But heck, it's cool and "elegant"... Even if it spends most of its life sitting on the shelf next to my Vito II and Perkeo II. LOL! :D

G

View attachment 4838806
Enjoy it! If the plunger and shutter release work smoothly I'd say you're in good shape. If it's a little rough that may indicate servicing is needed. (I'm really not sure who works on these anyway -- there was a guy in North Carolina (?) named Wolf Umbach, but he's retired (may be deceased)). And based on what others have said, if the RF is a little out vertically I'd live with it, since adjusting the rangefinder is by all reports really tedious.

You should look for a manual (butkus.org) since there are a few things that aren't intuitively obvious, like just popping the lens open (push on the plunger so it springs to full extension, then push the shutter release to open the barn doors).
 
Enjoy it! If the plunger and shutter release work smoothly I'd say you're in good shape. If it's a little rough that may indicate servicing is needed. (I'm really not sure who works on these anyway -- there was a guy in North Carolina (?) named Wolf Umbach, but he's retired (may be deceased)). And based on what others have said, if the RF is a little out vertically I'd live with it, since adjusting the rangefinder is by all reports really tedious.

You should look for a manual (butkus.org) since there are a few things that aren't intuitively obvious, like just popping the lens open (push on the plunger so it springs to full extension, then push the shutter release to open the barn doors).
Mr Umbach used to like in the coast of NC (Oriental), he passed away in 2010. I met him in person in the early 2000s

Manual here: https://www.cameramanuals.org/voigtlander_pdf/voigtlander_vitessa_n.pdf
Good point, use your hand when opening the barn doors to make both the barn door and plunger "pop" smooth. They tend to be quite violent otherwise
 
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To close:
The little red “half-moons” on the top and bottom of the lens housing indicates where to push with your thumbs to close the lens assembly. :)

IMG_2846.jpeg
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Mr Umbach used to like in the coast of NC (Oriental), he passed away in 2010. I met him in person in the early 2000s

Manual here: https://www.cameramanuals.org/voigtlander_pdf/voigtlander_vitessa_n.pdf
Good point, use your hand when opening the barn doors to make both the barn door and plunger "pop" smooth. They tend to be quite violent otherwise
That's right, Oriental NC. I I always thought that was an exotic name for a town. I sent him a Vitessa L because it had a light leak. Alas, he didn't fix it. I may take another look at it and see if there's something I can do. Too bad since it has the Ultron.

But I'm not aware of other repairers in the US who work on these cameras.
 
Is the light leak on the bellows?
a new one is unobtanium, but you can make a temporary fix with black textile paint (I buy my at Michales for 2 or 3 bucks)
It has worked fine in the Agfa bellows which are way worse than voigtlaenders

PS Oriental used to be a quiet coastal town on the other side of the river by NewBern. Now the secret is out and thousands of people have invaded
 
Is the light leak on the bellows?
a new one is unobtanium, but you can make a temporary fix with black textile paint (I buy my at Michales for 2 or 3 bucks)
It has worked fine in the Agfa bellows which are way worse than voigtlaenders

PS Oriental used to be a quiet coastal town on the other side of the river by NewBern. Now the secret is out and thousands of people have invaded
That was the first thing I was going to check. I have some "Liquid Electrical Tape" that has worked for me in the past. If it's somewhere else, that may be beyond my capabilities -- no way I would be able to take the camera apart (beyond removing the back).
 
Regards servicing, I'll check with my usual camera repair shop. They've done a lovely job with my Kodak Retina IIc and some other oddballs. I have a Voigtländer Vito II as well that desperately needs a thorough cleaning and service, so I have an excuse to call them today anyway. :)

Regards the instruction manual: thanks for the link! I downloaded the manual from butkus.org even before looking for an example to buy, and read it cover to cover, as I usually do. The Vitessa is a quirky little machine for sure, lots of specific small things you need to know to use it successfully (and not damage it!).

The one I bought was listed with about twenty-thirty photos, and looks practically brand new. The seller says the bar doors and plunger work smoothly and work correctly, couldn't offer much else, but it's obviously a camera that someone cared for and kept nicely.

I look forward to the adventure. :D

G
 
The Retina IIa does have automatic parallax compensation, it moves the whole finder image through a shifting lens element in the viewfinder, though I believe it only achieves horizontal parallax compensation. This was dropped on the C folders. Though the IIIS has a wonderful finder with automatic switchable automatic parallax compensating framelines in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions, something I don't think the Vitessa T had something comparable to.

Does the Vitessas viewfinder do both horizontal and vertical parallax compensation or just one of the two?
I just had my Retina IIa repaired and serviced by Bill Moretz, the ace camera repairman who fettles my vintage classics. After partially disassembling the camera and bringing it up to spec, here are his observations on the range/viewfinder:
"In most combined range/viewfinders the rangefinder patch moves as the lens is focused so it coincides with the viewfinder image. However, in the Kodak Retina IIa the rangefinder patch remains stationary as you focus the lens, and an external lens moves laterally across the front of the viewfinder to make the viewfinder and rangefinder images coincide. This lateral movement of the finder images is not parallax compensation, and in fact the viewing image moves in the opposite direction from what would be needed to provide lateral parallax compensation. Evidently this oddball system was only used in the Retina IIa and in the later (1946) version of the Retina II, the first Retina with a combined range/viewfinder."
 
The Retina IIa does have automatic parallax compensation, it moves the whole finder image through a shifting lens element in the viewfinder, though I believe it only achieves horizontal parallax compensation. This was dropped on the C folders. Though the IIIS has a wonderful finder with automatic switchable automatic parallax compensating framelines in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions, something I don't think the Vitessa T had something comparable to.

Does the Vitessas viewfinder do both horizontal and vertical parallax compensation or just one of the two?
 
I just had my Retina IIa repaired and serviced by Bill Moretz, the ace camera repairman who fettles my vintage classics. After partially disassembling the camera and bringing it up to spec, here are his observations on the range/viewfinder:
"In most combined range/viewfinders the rangefinder patch moves as the lens is focused so it coincides with the viewfinder image. However, in the Kodak Retina IIa the rangefinder patch remains stationary as you focus the lens, and an external lens moves laterally across the front of the viewfinder to make the viewfinder and rangefinder images coincide. This lateral movement of the finder images is not parallax compensation, and in fact the viewing image moves in the opposite direction from what would be needed to provide lateral parallax compensation. Evidently this oddball system was only used in the Retina IIa and in the later (1946) version of the Retina II, the first Retina with a combined range/viewfinder."

No, I'm pretty sure it's moving the correct direction to provide lateral compensation.

If you hold it vertically so that the viewfinder is above the lens, focusing closer moves the field of view down, so that a subject in the viewfinder moves higher, which will require you to tilt the camera upwards slightly to re-center the subject, correcting for the parallax. This is the same direction as several other cameras I have that do automatic parallax compensation.
 
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