Superb! 1947 Voigtlander 6x9 Bessa Rangefinder with COATED-HELIAR lens, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
Rare post-war version with REAL LEATHER
Forget the socks... What he really wants for Christmas is vintage camera.
This is a rare black postwar Bessa rangefinder camera. It’s in exceptionally fine condition, it’s been freshly serviced and everything works as it should. It’s a lovely camera that easily slips into a jacket pocket or a back pack and yet folds out to take 8 beautiful 6x9 exposures on a 120 roll film. So whether you’re interested in large prints, fine grain, rich tonal gradations or lovely colors, this camera can do all of that and may just become your favorite photographic companion..
This camera is also capable of producing 6x4.5 exposures. This hard to find mask is included with the camera.
The Bessa rangefinder is a famous design and features a coupled rangefinder that makes focusing quick and easy. However what makes this camera special and sets this camera apart from the other Bessa RF’s we’ve sold and serviced is the fact that this example is a rare black post-war version.
Many collectors aren’t aware it but after WWII, Voigtlander managed to produce a small number of black Bessa rangefinder cameras. Presumably they were constructed from parts that had managed to survive the war. However if you examine one of these rare postwar cameras and compare it to a prewar Bessa, the changes becomes apparent. The later camera is covered with thick Moroccan leather (instead of the original leatherette), it’s fitted with a black faced Compur shutter without the Voigtlander logo and there a coated lens in a new style mount that allows the use of slide on filters and shades.
Some sources indicate that only perhaps 2000 of these cameras were ever built and others mention even lower production numbers. After Voigtlander finished restoring their production line, they went on to produce the chromed Bessa II and never again produced a black version again. In any case, this is a very difficult camera to find. In forty years of collecting classic cameras I have only seen six examples of this camera! Personally I suspect that only a few hundred of them have survived to the present day. This camera is from my personal collection.
Normally I would not consider selling it however I’m in the process of reducing my collection and I’m certain that the new owner will be very happy with it.
I’ve been collecting and using classic cameras for many years and the Bessa rangefinder are one of my favorites. They are great cameras and I often recommend them to friends. I’m fond of its black lacquered finish (and how it complements my black Leica II which I also enjoy using.) I also appreciate how easily the Bessa fold open and close, the excellent handling and especially like the shutter release lever that 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 also helps reduce camera shake at slow shutter speeds.
This camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted and it’s ready for immediate use. Everything works as it should. The rangefinder has also been cleaned, the image very bright and focusing works smoothly and easily. The bellows are supple and light tight. The quality Compur Rapid shutter fires smoothly and all the speeds from 1 sec to 1/400 are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast ones are clean and snappy. This shutter is flash synched and it works with a normal electronic flash. It’s been tested and a flash will fire correctly at any desired shutter speed. (This is of course a very convenient feature for flash fill.)
To top it all off, this camera is fitted with a very desirable coated f3.5/105mm Heliar lens. (A superb legendary design with five elements in three groups.) This is the rare, first production version of the postwar coated Heliar. (Only the very early coated Heliars were not marked “Color-Heliar”, for marketing reasons this lens was quickly rebranded as “Color-Heliar”.) If you’re familiar with these cameras, you’ll immediately notice that the lens is now black and chrome and it no longer has a folding yellow filter. This is the lens that was also used in the 6x9 Bessa II.”
The Heliar lens is exceptionally fine condition. There are no scratches or cleaning marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films. What collectors and photographers love about this lens is the beautiful rendition in the fore and back ground. It’s something the Japanese refer to as bokeh. Simple said this lens has a very lovely bokeh. Open up the lens or narrow the depth of field by getting closer and the focus rolls on and off quite smoothly.
It comes complete with a 6x4.5 reduction mask and a lovely brown leather case.
All in all, a wonderful 6X9 rangefinder 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 clouds that leaves you wishing you had a classic medium format camera with you.