1939 6x9 Voigtlander Bessa Rangefinder CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
Did I hear you say you were looking for an enjoyable classic prewar camera with a coupled rangefinder? One that you can slip into a jacket pocket or a back pack and fold out to take lovely 6x9 photos on 120 roll film? Than this may be the one… This is the famous Voigtlander Bessa Rangefinder. It featured excellent performance and superb handling and many of these cameras were used by war correspondents on many sides of the conflict during WWII.
The Bessa has a built in coupled rangefinder that never leaves you guessing about the distance or the focus. Just point the camera at your subject, turn the knob and the rangefinder enables you to set the focus quickly and easily. The rangefinder works smoothly, accurately and is easy to use. The camera also has an additional advantage that it can close focus down to one meter. The ability to get in close with its 105mm lens is of course convenient for tighter portrait work. The reason the Bessa can get this close is because the Bessa’s lens and shutter moves together as a unit when focusing. Another nice feature is that if desired, you can also pre-focus the camera without opening it by simply using the distance scale located around the focus knob.
The Bessa was a very popular and successful design. It folds open and closed quickly and easily. It has a good balance. It also features a shutter release lever which 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 helps reduce camera shake at slow shutter speeds. I’m also fond of the black lacquer finish, the hint of art deco styling. In short, the Bessa is a great 6x9 medium format camera for a photographer with historical interest.
This camera has been completely serviced and is ready for immediate use. It’s been cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The rangefinder is easy to see, easy to use and works well. Focus is achieved by turning the large focus knob on top of the camera. The real leather bellows are supple and light tight. The top of the line Compur-Rapid shutter works very well and all speeds (T,B & 1 sec- 1/400th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy.
The lens is an excellent f3.5/105mm Voigtlander Helomar lens, it’s serial number indicates it was produced in circa 1939. The design of the lens is based on a classic Cooke design (three elements in three groups). It produces a very lovely image. Open up the lens or narrow the depth of field by getting closer and the focus rolls on and off quite smoothly.
I’ve included a sample photo of flowers taken with an identical camera fitted with an identical Helomar lens.
The lens is exceptionally clean and clear. There is no haze, no separated elements, no fungus or other problems. There are no scratches and it’s capable of producing lovely images with modern color and B&W films.
All in all, a wonderful classic camera. 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.