1936 Voigtlander 6x9 Bessa Rangefinder with Skopar lens 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. It’s a lovely camera that easily slips into a jacket pocket or a back pack and folds out to take 8 beautiful 6x9 exposures on normal 120 roll film. When it comes to photography, 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 camera will do all of that and may just become your favorite photographic companion.
The lens serial number indicates it was produced in 1936 in a time and a place when the world looked very different than it does today. It uses normal 120 film and features a coupled rangefinder which makes focusing quick and easy.
This camera’s built in rangefinder 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 its lens and shutter move 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.
It comes complete with its hard to find original reduction mask which allows this camera to also produce 6x4.5 negatives.
Because of its fine ergonomics and its excellent performance, war correspondents on many sides of the conflict used the Bessa Rangefinder during WWII. These brave photographers often reached for the Bessa when they needed to produce a higher quality shot than even a Contax or Leica could produce on the grainy films of the era. As a result many Bessas were used intensively and many cameras were worn out, damaged or destroyed during the hostilities.
Now-a-days the Bessa is considered one of the most enjoyable vintage rangefinder cameras you can buy. It has a nice balance. It folds open and closed quickly and easily. 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 smoothness 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 the rangefinder’s top cover. In short the Bessa is an excellent 6x9 medium format camera for a photographer with historical interest who wants to work with a classic camera regularly.
This camera is in excellent condition and it’s ready for immediate use. It’s 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 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 a 3.5/105mm Skopar (a four lens element design that’s nearly identical in design and performance to the Zeiss Tessar.) This lens even has the original yellow filter and folding filter holder. The holder is very fragile and often missing on most cameras. The lens is beautiful and looks virtually new. It’s clean and clear. There are no scratches, no cleaning marks an it’s capable of producing very lovely photos 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 camera with you.