Rare! 1934 Voigtlander 3x4 Perkeo, 127 film, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
This is a desirable and rather hard to find prewar Voigtlander Perkeo with a fixed optical viewfinder. Originally designed as the smallest member of the Inos model line-up, its diminutive size was so endearing that employees fondly referred to it as the “perkeo”. (Perkeo is the German word for dwarf.) It was such a suitable description of this little camera, that the name stuck. And it is a little. Despite its larger 3x4 format, this camera is only a bit bigger than the original 35mm black Retina.
The serial number of the lens indicates that it was produced in 1934. This camera produces sixteen 3x4 exposers on a single roll of 127 film. In case you’re wondering, 127 film is still available on the internet. In the early 1930’s the 127 format was very popular with photographers. Due to the relatively large negative and the compact size of the cameras many photographers actually preferred them to the early 35mm cameras.
This hard to find example is about as good as it gets. It has a lovely patina. It’s hard to believe that it managed to survive the rigors of WWII in Europe and all the subsequent decades and look this nice. I personally love its 1930’s Science Fiction, Flash Gordon kind of look. It has attractive dials and buttons and a complex looking depth of field chart. The two pierced dials, used to focus the camera and advance the film, have a fine gripable texture while at the same time providing the camera with a unique look. It's a look that was rather fashionable at a time when Zeppelins and aircraft design were at the cutting edge of technology and that technology was obsessed with losing weight and mass with lightening holes and grooves.
Not satisfied with just good looks, Voigtlander also arranged things in such a way that you can even focus the camera when it is closed. The focus can be preset whenever desired and when the camera is opened, the lens automatically slides out of the body to the correct focus, allowing you as a photographer to concentrate on finding the right composition and the decisive moment. Used properly, a shot could be taken within seconds of unfolding it, combining compact size with speed.
This camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The quality Compur shutter works as it should. The slow speeds buzz along very smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy. All speeds (T,B & 1 sec - 1/300th) are appropriate. The spring loaded linkage that automatically slides the lens forward when the camera is opened, works as it should. The bellows are in excellent condition and are completely light tight.
The lens is a 3.5/55mm Skopar, (a top quality four element lens similar in design and performance as the Zeiss Tessar). The glass looks virtually like new. 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 B&W films.
All in all it’s a wonderful gem of a camera. A perfect addition to your collection and a perfect companion in the hunt for that perfect photo. 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 camera with you.
Note: I shot nearly all of the photos with the camera propped up on a small battery. It was only when I’d finished that I realized that I forgot that this camera has a very clever, folding foot. I’ve included an additional photo to show that the foot is present and works well.