It is the mid-1960s. Dad is coming through the door – home from work at last. Hanging from his neck he has two cameras – a Rolleiflex for people pictures and his trusty Voigtlander Vitomatic II for practically everything else. In his hands are two cases. One for his papers and the other for his film paraphernalia: leather-cased Weston light meter, bright mustard-yellow boxes of medium format and 35mm film, lens brushes, filters, cable release. He places the cameras and cases carefully in the hallway. They are sacred tools not to be touched by children.
Sixty years later, I have brought the Voigtlander out of hibernation. It is a phenomenal piece of overbuilt West German engineering which, though small, weighs the better part of 900 grams. The viewfinder is large and clear and the dual-image rangefinder easy to master. There is a built-in selenium-cell light meter which is still working perfectly. (The secret is to keep it covered when not in use.) The lens is a fixed Voigtlander Color-Skopar f2.8 50 mm with a Prontor SLK-V shutter.
These cameras were highly-prized by serious amateurs in their day. And well-kept Vitomatics in good condition currently appear to be overlooked, making them excellent value if you fancy trying a quality rangefinder and want to build up your biceps.
When on holiday Dad liked to get up early and steal away to catch the golden hour before breakfast. I did the same to take these pictures of places he knew and loved along the coast at Bosham Harbour and Selsey just south of Chichester, England.
The stock is Kodak Gold 200.
The header image and the final photo were taken by my father. The first is me on my go-cart and the second shows my younger sister beating me at draughts, again!
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