The Fellsphoto Vintage 6x9 Gallery
1939 Voigtländer Bessa
with f4.5 Skopar lens and Compur-Rapid shutter
(1935 model: for more about the date of this version of the Bessa see end of page)
the lens serial number 2401478 dates this camera to October 1939 production
New model with spring-open viewfinder and trigger release in the folding bed launched 1935.
Price £9/17/6 in 1939 (2009 equivalent: £454 using RPI; £1730 compared to average earnings)
(Price comparisons from www.measuringworth.com. 2010 figures not yet available.)
lens serial number 2401478 dates this camera to October 1939 production
the month calculated by dividing the year's production by 12 and assuming that monthly production was constant
if that was so, then, war having been declared Sept 3rd, this camera would have originally been in German ownership
confirmed by it having metric focussing scale. Perhaps another camera 'liberated' by the allies?
Photographs taken with this camera:
the Skopar lenses capabilities: this enlargement detail (30" print) defines individual branches and reveals an open barn in the hazy distance
click on pictures to view enlargements ~ click again to get back
|evening light, Gael by a fen drain||reeds in a fen drain||February sunset|
|trees on the bridleway|
Illustrations from the Voigtländer 1939 Catalogue
above is a more affordable example fitted with the 3-element Voigtar lens s//n 2055249 (May 1937) and Voigtländer shutter speeded to 1/150th sec.
The 'Voigtländer' shutter is, in fact, a re-badged Prontor shutter.
At smaller apertures lens
performance of the Voigtar can be expected to be
the same as the Skopar.
Technically: the extra fourth element of the Skopar sharpens up the edges and corners at wide apertures.
The Skopar is Voigtländer's "Tessar" type lens. The Zeiss 'Tessar', conceived in 1902, was named from the Greek word τέσσερα (téssera, four) to indicate a four-element design.
Other Tessar-type lenses include the Schneider Xenar, Agfa Solinar, Rodenstock Ysar, Enna's Ennit & Kodak Ektar.
About the date of this model:
However, several of these cameras, like the example below, have been seen for sale on ebay with 1935 lens serial numbers.
s/n 1096478 is 1935.
The conclusion is obvious: this model must have been launched in 1935. If the frame finder version is also 1935 that would explain why they're relatively uncommon. It was replaced in the same year as its launch.
associated Bessa links:
all about Voigtländer Camerapedia
low spec Bessa on Shutterbug
Bessas in the Cinci.de collection
Bessa specifications in Camera Classics collection