Shooting the Voigtländer Vitomatic IIa with Kodak Tri-X

The Voigtländer Vitomatic IIa is an all manual 35mm rangefinder-camera equipped with a sharp 50mm f2.8 Color Skopar-Lens.
Last year I made a pretty lucky deal on ebay and got one of these in my hands for just a few Euros. Typically this camera isn’t a bargain but well worth a good research!

I just completed a roll of Kodak Tri-X with this camera and want to show off my results and give you an idea of how shooting works with this camera from 1957.

I also tested a new developer for me which is the classic Kodak D-76 to get a finer grain-structure compared to Rodinal/Adonal.

Technical details

Type: 35mm compact rangefinder-camera
Size: 115/80/75 mm
Weight: This thing is heavy! Estimated value is about 800 grams.
Lens: Voigtländer Color Skopar 50mm f.2.8 – min. focus-distance 1m –> infinity
Viewfinder: Optical Viewfinder with illuminated 50mm framelines and averaging finder (Leica-style 😉 )
Light meter: build-in selenium cell light-meter

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Controls

The controls are as simple as they could be! All controls are directly accessible on the lens: With the ring on the front of the camera you set the focus distance, the second ring is a combined one for your ISO and aperture. And finally the last one’s for your exposure time.

 

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No need for batteries!

The Voigtländer Vitomatic IIa works completely without batteries! The light meter works with a selenium cell so I don’t really recommend using the build-in light meter for measuring the correct exposure time 😉 For my photo-walks with this camera I used an external lightmeter which btw. works with a selenium cell too but seems to get a more specific metering. The rest of the camera works complete mechanically 🙂 The shutter is a leaf-shutter which means that the Vitomatic is doing an almost not noticeable “click” when shooting on the street. So this cam could even make a nice little street-shooter if you want to!

 

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Luckily my camera came with the original “ever ready-case” which was sold with the camera back in 1957 I think. Why can’t modern camera manufactures ship a nice case like this with compact cameras anymore? Would love to have a case like this for my Fuji X100T but the original case from Fuji is not pretty affordable 😦

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Most of the Vitos you’ll find on Ebay or anywhere else will come with this case 🙂

 

The results

Beside the joy of shooting a pure and raw camera like this you probably wonder how the results look.

All shots are taken with Kodak Tri-X, home-developed in Kodak D-76 and scanned with the Reflecta ProScan 10T.

The shots were 1 to 2 stops overexposed to get more shadow-detail. Worked pretty well 🙂

 

So how’s the shooting experience?

First off I have to say that the Voigländer Vitomatic IIa is an absolutely awesome good looking camera! This has nothing to do with the experience itself but to be honest: If a camera looks beautiful, shooting the camera becomes even more beautiful don’t you think? 😉

This one is a big candidate for becoming my new favorite camera. It is small, fully manual with all controls you need and has a 59 year-old lens which in my eyes is completely sharp! Turning the aperture and exposure-time ring can sometimes be fumbly as both rings are cuppled and if you turn one of them over a certain point, the other will turn too.

The viewfinder is a big plus for me! It’s not as clear as a Leica M6-Viewfinder but has big and visible framelines to frame your shot and a totally accurate focussing-indicator.

If you love shooting old cameras GET ONE! You can even check out the original manual online here: Voigtländer Vitomatic IIa full manual

 

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3 thoughts on “Shooting the Voigtländer Vitomatic IIa with Kodak Tri-X

  1. Pingback: RETUELF
  2. I got the same camera, but without the rangefinder I think… but I’m not too sure right now because I’m not at home to check. A nice camera for sure, but mine got a semi-sticky shutter especially on the longer shuttertimes. I have only run one film through it this far, but will have to pick it out again soon to give it another go. A very fine camera indeed, even though I might like my little Voigtländer Vito B even better for some reason. My Vito B got the f/3.5 lens attached, which is a smaller lens but totally lovely anyway 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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