5 frames with...

5 frames with a Voigtlander Vito B – by Richard Williams

September 12, 2017

A while ago, I picked up a little Voigtlander Vito B in an antique shop in Lichfield. I wasn’t really looking for another camera, but that’s so often the way when you find a gem.

And a real gem it is.

Small and solid, quality engineering.  Fully manual and zone focus – it really makes you slow down and think .  It has the 50mm/f3.5 SVS Prontor lens and although it’s over sixty years old, when you get it right, it makes the loveliest pictures.  And it has the added bonus that a 35mm film canister lid fits exactly as a lens cover!

I struggle a bit with the little viewfinder as I wear spectacles, but have fitted a Voigtlander Kontur viewfinder which is fantastic. These pictures are from a roll of Agfa Vista 200 that I shot in an afternoon around the little village where we live (mostly of the old church.)

Hope you enjoy them!

You can find me on twitter here
You can also find Hamish’s review of the Voigtlander Vito B here – a review I found after buying this camera.

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  • Reply
    September 12, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Where are you getting Agfa Vista now? Poundland told me they no longer stocked it last time I went in.

    • Reply
      Richard Williams
      September 12, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      Hi Callum. Yeah the one in my town has sold out now as well and doesn’t appear to be getting any more in. I reckon they last had some a couple of months ago and I still have 6 or 7 rolls left (I don’t shoot as much as I’d like to). In a strange way (or at least forcing myself to look on the bright side) I’m looking forward to having to try out other films now though.

  • Reply
    Stig Starr
    September 12, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Great photos from a lovely little camera !

    • Reply
      Richard Williams
      September 12, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks Stig. This whole roll was shot after the Voigtlander had been on eBay for a week and not sold. Must’ve been a wobble on my part because looking at the pics I got and the camera itself, I can’t believe I wanted to part with it! I let a couple of SLRs and point-and-shoot cameras go, but I reckon it’s a sign. This one’s a keeper!

  • Reply
    Frank Lehnen
    September 15, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Guess you’re getting along fine with the Voigtländer Kontur?

    I’m still struggling a bit with it. Those framelines tend to disappear from my vision…

    • Reply
      Richard Williams
      September 17, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      Hi Frank. Yeah I get on with it just fine. It does work best though if you just lift it your eye, compose quickly and shoot. If I spend a while faffing about looking through it, the lines can dip in and out of my vision. But generally, I think it’s fantastic. I wonder if yours might be an eye dominance issue? The dominant eye is usually the same side as the dominant hand, but in some people that’s not the case. My wife for instance is right-handed, but left-eyed. Maybe you knew already, but perhaps some food for thought?

  • Reply
    jonathon Campo
    September 15, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Really nice presentation. I really like that finder also, really helps with squinty 1950’s viewfinders.
    You got some nice pictures out of that nice camera. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Richard Williams
    September 17, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Thank you Jonathon for such an encouraging comment. With my glasses on, I can’t see the whole field of view through the tiny viewfinder. I didn’t realise until the first roll through it was developed and all of my subjects were offset to the left! It really is tiny, but is aesthetically better (in my opinion) than the larger viewfinder on later models.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I too have the same camera. A friend at work gave it to me, since he knew I liked old film cameras. I followed your suggestion and used a film canister lid for a lens cap. Not all worked, I had to use a white translucent cap, not sure what film was in it previously, but it fit perfectly, thanks for the suggestion.

    So I’m looking at your images here, they are nicely composed, but they don’t seem to be very sharp. Are these straight out of the camera, or did you add some sharpness in Photoshop? I’m thinking they might have been compressed when you uploaded them, causing a little softness.

  • Reply
    Richard Williams
    September 25, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Hi Johnny. I think that any softness in the images is probably down to my lack of experience with my home scanner! I’m having a bit of a game getting images from it that are as sharp as I’d like. Lab-scanned pictures seem better, so I may be sticking with that for a bit.

  • Reply
    Compact Excellence: A Review of the Voigtländer Vito BL by Andrew Morang - 35mmc
    April 5, 2019 at 10:01 am

    […] body 1950s models: Vito B, BL, and BR (see Hamish Gill’s article on the B, Richard Williams’ 5-frames or John’s […]

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