1933 Voigtlander 6x9 Folder with HELIAR lens, CLA'd FRESHLY SERVICED!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
This vintage camera easily slips into a jacket pocket or a back pack and yet folds out to take 8 beautiful 6x9 exposures on a 120 roll film. Bright exposures alive with all the vivid details, lovely colors and rich tonal range that only medium format can provide. When it comes to color, bigger is better and with this camera you can create a negative that is about 6 times larger than the average 35mm snap shot. So whether you’re interested in large prints, fine grain, rich tonal gradations or lovely colors, this classic camera will do all of that and may just become your favorite photographic companion.
This is the prewar Voigtlander 6x9 medium format folder with a very desirable lens. It was built in Germany in about 1933 and is popular with users and collectors, and it’s easy to see why. This camera is fitted with the same lens that was used on one of the Voigtlander Bergheil. That lens is the legendary Heliar. (Heliar lens no. 660567)
The Heliar lens is well known, well loved and is recognized as a master piece of design. It was an absolute top quality lens of its day. For decades it was the 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 beautiful bokeh. Open up the lens or narrow the depth of field by getting closer and the focus rolls on and off very smoothly… 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 a Heliar. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, well then you’re in for a treat.
This camera uses 120 roll film, (whereas the Bergheil which is actually a plate camera, which will need an adapter if you want use 120 film.) So the advantages of this camera is clear, it’s a relatively small camera which uses 120 film and allows you to experience a classic Heliar lens at a modest price. I also appreciate is that in a period when most folding cameras focused the image by using “front cell focusing” (in which the first lens element is screwed in and out) this camera took a different approach. Its lens and shutter moves back and forth as a unit. Focus is controlled by a lever which is moved by the user over an ivory colored distance scale. This improved optical performance quite a bit, especially when working up close. As a result, when most cameras of the period only close focused to 2 meters and even the superb Zeiss Ikonta lingered at 1 ½ meters, this Voigtlander and can focus down to nearly one meter. That makes its 105mm Heliar pretty very useful for shooting portraits.
This vintage camera is in good condition and thanks to the careful attention we’ve given it, it’s ready to be used. The bellows are light tight. The shutter has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The quality Compur shutter works smoothly and all speeds (T, B, & 1 sec – 1/250th ) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy.
The desirable 4.5/105mm HELIAR, was one of the best lenses of its era. It is a five element lens (the Voigtlander Skopar and the Zeiss Tessar had four elements.) The lens is in exceptionally fine condition. Interestingly, this lens is coated. Normally prewar lenses were of course not coated because the coating process was a proprietary technique invented by Zeiss and used on German military wartime optics during WWII. However after the war there were companies in Europe specialized in coating lenses. It was relatively expensive to have them disassemble, clean, coat and reassemble a lens but photographers who could afford it, felt that it gave them an advantage. So from time to time, it’s still possible to find a prewar camera with a coated lens. The nice thing about all of this is that the coating doesn’t change the optical signature of the lens, so you end up with a lens with produces a very attractive vintage look but is easier to use and less likely to flare. This makes it an ideal for a photographer who want to work and shoot with a vintage lens regularly.
The Heliar lens on this camera is in exceptionally fine condition. The coating is a pale blue There are no separated elements, crystallization or other problems. There are no scratches or polishing marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and black & white films.
All in all, an enjoyable camera and a great introduction to the Heliar lens. A fine companion in the hunt for that perfect shot. You know the one… the one with the Ansel Adams light breaking through the dark storm clouds that leaves you wishing you had a classic 6x9 camera with you.