This Space for Rent

Three generations, camera-style


My mother gave me her father’s Voigtlander cameras this afternoon, and it’s kind of interesting (in a horrifying way) to see the evolution from a Voigtlander Vito BL (from 1958) through a Pentax Auto 110 (from 1979) to my *istDS (from 2004.)

The *istDS, which I used to think was a nice tiny camera, is really huge when it’s compared to the Auto 110, and it’s kind of hideous when compared to the big chunks of machined metal that make up the Voigtlanders.

Pity I can’t get an affordable digital back for the more modern of the two Voigtlanders (I can’t cheat and use a 4/3rds sensor like I could for the Auto 110; no, I’d have to get a full 35mm frame sensor, which would be more money than I care to think about.)

When compared to the *istDS, the Vito BL is amazingly primitive; there’s no rangefinder focus on the thing, so I need to use the shoe-mounted external focus to find the range, manually key that range into the lens, then hand-calculate the appropriate f stop and exposure before firing the camera. I remember my grandfather using this camera almost every Christmas when we were dismantling the presents, and I’m *amazed* at just how much manual work he must have needed to do on the run to keep the pictures from containing anything other than blurry humanoid streaks.

(and, speaking of blurry streaks, the blurriness in this photo is because I was using a little Kodak point and shoot which /ran out of battery/ when I was taking the picture. And now the poor Kodak is lying there, lens half retracted, waiting for the battery to get enough of a charge to be able to finish collapsing the lens.)


Hi i just bought the voigtlander vito bl… can you help me .. i not sure who to use it… thank you very much

Hans Rivadeneira Sat Aug 29 20:15:32 2009

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