Near Mint! 1936 Voigtlander 6x9 Bessa Rangefinder. Freshly Serviced, CLA'd.
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 can be slipped into a jacket pocket or a back pack and folds out to create beautiful photos on 120 roll film. When it comes to photography, bigger is better and with this camera you can create a 6x9 negative that is about 6 times larger than the average 35mm snap shot. So whether you’re interested in big prints, fine grain, rich tonal gradations or lovely colors, this enjoyable vintage camera can do all of that and may just become your favorite photographic companion.
The lens serial number indicates it was produced in circa 1936 in Germany at 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.
The Bessa’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 as it should 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.
Because of its performance, WWII war correspondents on all sides of the conflict used the Bessa Rangefinder. They were in high demand and in short supply. These brave photographers often reached for the Bessa when they needed to produce a larger, higher quality shot than a Contax or Leica could produce. They were used intensively and as a result many cameras were worn out, damaged or lost during the hostilities.
This camera is a dual format design and it’s capable of producing 6x9 and 6x4.5 negatives. The extremely hard to find original reduction mask that’s used for this is included.
The Bessa is one of the best prewar designs. 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. Because of its excellent handling and performance, the Bessa is a great 6x9 medium format camera for a photographer with historical interest who wants to work with a classic camera regularly.
As you can see, this camera is in excellent condition. Additionally, this camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. 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.) The lens is exceptionally clean and clear. There is no haze, separated elements, crystallization or other problems. There are no scratches or polishing marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photo 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 6x9 camera with you.