Rare! 1939 Voigtlander “Klein Bessa” 66 with Heliar lens! CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
This is a Voigtlander 6x6 medium format camera which was produced in Braunschweig Germany. This model is the Bessa 66 with folding viewfinder, also referred to as a ‘Klein-Bessa’. ‘Klein’ means ‘small’ in German and it’s an apt description. It’s just a bit wider than the roll of 120 film that fits into it. (And that’s due primarily to the wind knob.) It illustrates that the designers did their best to make sure everything was as compact as possible.
This version is popular with European collectors and photographers and it’s easy to see why. It is certainly one of the nicest, smallest and best handling 6x6 cameras ever built. I especially like the sculpted lines of the lens door, the scripted “V” for Voigtlander, the way the shutter release lever protrudes automatically from the lens door, whenever the camera’s opened.
Folded up it slides easily into a pocket. Unfolded it takes 12 beautiful 6x6 exposures on a 120 roll film. When it comes to photography, bigger is better and this camera will produce a negative that’s more than four times larger than the average 35mm snapshot. It’s a negative that will provide fine grain, great tonal values and lovely colors.
This camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. Everything works well and will continue to do so for many more decades to come. The real leather bellows are supple and light tight. The top of the line Compur-Rapid shutter works well and all speeds (T,B, & 1 Sec – 1/500th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along nicely and the fast speeds are clean and snappy.
The lens on this camera is the world-famous Voigtlander Heliar 3.5/7.5cm (75mm) lens. The Heliar is recognized as a masterpiece and features five lens elements in three groups. It was an absolute top quality lens of its day renowned for its fine rendition and lovely soft backgrounds which is referred as bokeh. The serial number (located inside the camera around the edge of the rear element) indicates that it was produced in late 1939 / early1940.
The lens is in exceptionally fine condition and looks virtually like new. There are no scratches or cleaning marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and b&w films. (As with all prewar & wartime cameras we recommend keeping the sun behind you for best performance.)
All in all, a very rare and very enjoyable camera. Load it with your favorite film and take it with you on 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 had a medium format camera with you.