1927 Voigtlander 9x12 Bergheil Camera with HELIAR LENS! Freshly serviced CLA’d
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
Forget the socks… what he really wants for the holidays is a classic camera.
This is a Voigtlander Bergheil 9x12cm camera in excellent condition. It was built in prewar Germany as a top quality, double extension camera. It was carefully constructed of metal and covered with real Moroccan leather. The double extension feature is a valuable feature since not only does it allow the camera to focus at very close distances with the standard lens, it also means that could be fitted and used as well. An interesting historical fact is that the Voigtlander Bergheil was Brassai’s favorite camera. This photographer used a Bergheil extensively to record images of Paris in the 1920’s and ‘30’s. If you’re not familiar with Brassai’s work, I recommend looking him up on the internet.
The serial number of the lens indicate that it was produced in circa 1927. It’s fitted in a quality, dial set Compur shutter. This shutter has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. All shutter speeds (T, B, 1 sec – 1/200th) work well and all speeds are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the faster speeds are clean and snappy
The lens on this camera is the famous Voigtlander Heliar 4.5/15cm (150mm). (A superb design with five elements in three groups.) The Heliar lens is well known, well loved and is recognized as a master piece of design. It was a top-quality lens of its day. For decades it was a benchmark of sharpness, but its greatness is not simply defined by high resolution. What photographers and artists love about this lens is the beautiful rendition in the fore and back ground. It’s something the Japanese refer to as bokeh. Simply said, this lens has a gorgeous bokeh. Open up the lens or narrow the depth of field by getting closer and the focus rolls on and off silky smooth as cream… Soft out of focus foreground moves lovingly into sharp focus on your subject matter and then off again into gently blurred background. There are few lenses that do it as nicely as this. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, well then you’re in for a treat….
The superb Heliar lens is exceptionally clean and clear. There are no scratches, no cleaning marks and it’s capable of producing very lovely photos with modern color & B&W film.
I should mention that this camera has three viewfinders. The first - is a a small waist level finder, the second- an optical viewfinder that pops out of the body and the third - a removable back which feature a ground glass with folding shade. (The small waist finder is missing its mirror.)
This camera is designed to use vintage Voigtlander 9x12 plate holders / film holders. However, it is possible to use 120 film with this camera if you have a suitable roll-film back your collection. (Roll-film back not included.) Roll-film backs were produced by “Rada” and “Rollex-Patent” as well as many other companies. They show up frequently on eBay and are easy to acquire. Most of them will allow you to produce 6x9 negatives with this camera.)
All in all, a very lovely classic camera with a legendary Heliar lens. It’s enjoyable to use if you’re so inclined but alternatively you can easily fit the lens and shutter to your favorite view camera. It’s easy to remove and reinstall as desired. (Ask us, and we’ll even leave the locking ring loose for you.)
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