Superb Voigtlander 6x9 Black Bessa rangefinder with Heliar lens! 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 camera can do all of that and may just become your favorite photographic companion.
The lens serial number 2087560, indicates it was produced in circa 1939 in Germany at a time and a place when that country looked very different than it does today. It features a built-in coupled rangefinder which makes focusing quick and easy. That 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.
This 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.
The Bessa RF is a dual format camera which means that in addition to the large 6x9 negatives, it can also be set up to produce smaller 6x4.5 negatives. To do so requires the use of a reduction mask. These masks are rare and often missing. Fortunately we had a mint example in our inventory and it's included with this camera. (Please see the last two photos.)
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.
The Bessa is one of the best prewar designs. It folds open and closes very quickly and easily. It’s balance in the hand is superb. 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.
The camera is in superb condition and you’d be hard pressed to find a finer example. Additionally, we’ve used our 25 years of experience to carefully cleaned, lubricate and adjust it. 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.
This Bessa was the top of the line version and it’s fitted with the very desirable f3.5/105mm Heliar lens (a legendary five element design with five elements in three groups). It also has its original folding filter holder complete with a yellow filter. (These holders are quite fragile and are often missing.) The lens is exceptionally clean and clear, looks virtually new and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
All in all, a wonderful classic camera in exceptionally fine condition. 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 rangefinder with you.