1938 Voigtlander 6x9 Bessa Rangefinder with Coated lens, case and reduction mask! CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
This is a freshly serviced prewar Bessa Rangefinder camera produced in Germany in 1938 just prior to the second world war. It was built in a time and a place when the world looked very different than it does today. This 80 year old camera has traveled may years and many roads and if it could talk I’m sure it could tell a tale or two… Despite the years, the camera works beautifully thanks to the attention we’ve given it. It’s been carefully serviced and it’s ready to be put back to work. In uses easy to find 120 film roll fil and features a coupled rangefinder which makes focusing quick and easy.
I’ve been collecting and using classic cameras for well over 40 years and the Bessa rangefinder is a true classic camera. I appreciate how easily the Bessa opens and closes, the excellent handling and I especially like the shutter release lever that folds automatically out from the lens door. This shutter release is very smooth and requires very little pressure. This really adds to the joy of shooting and also helps reduce camera shake at slow shutter speeds. It also has a built in coupled rangefinder that never leaves you guessing about the distance or the focus.
This camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The rangefinder is easy to see, easy to use and works well. The bellows are supple and light tight. The quality Compur-Rapid shutter fires well and all the speeds from 1 sec to 1/400 are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy. (I should mention that the self-timer doesn’t work, so if you want to take “selfies” you may want to look at one of our other cameras.)
The lens is an extremely rare COATED f3.5/105mm Helomar. (Please see photos) Normally prewar lenses were of course uncoated because the coating process was a proprietary technique invented by Zeiss and used on military wartime optics during WWII. This camera’s lens was coated sometime after it left the factory. It was expensive to have this work done but affluent photographers felt it gave them an advantage and so from time to time, it’s possible to find prewar cameras with coated lenses. 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 lens for a photographer (such as a WWII reenactor) who want to work and shoot with a vintage lens regularly.
Another nice feature is that you can actually pre-focus the camera without opening it, via the scale on the large silver knob. This means I can actually unfold the camera, frame the composition and shoot in less than two seconds, assuming the exposure is already set. (I always pre-set my cameras to a suitable shutter speed and aperture when I’m walking around with them.)
It comes complete with an original brown leather case and a rare 6x4.5 reduction mask. (This allows you to produce 6x9 or 6x4.5 format negatives with this camera.)
All in all, a wonderful classic camera that’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films. The perfect camera for photographers with a historical interest. Load it with your favorite film and keep it handy for that perfect shot you’ve been looking for. You know the one... the one with the perfect Ansel Adams light breaking through the dark storm clouds that leaves you wishing you had a classic medium format camera with you.
I’ve also included a sample photo taken with a Bessa Rangefinder camera. The lens on that camera was an uncoated 3.5/105mm Helomar.