other Voigtlander cameras in my collection:
Voigtlander Vito IIa [1955 - 1957]
A statement frequently published on the Internet says that - by 1957 the Vito IIa was described as the last of the folding 35mm cameras - but I'm not so sure it was? For example, in 1960 Kodak was still selling a couple of Retina folders; the IB, IIC and IIIC (according to Amateur Photographer magazine's June 1960 Annual Camera Guide). It might have been the last of the Voigtlander folders - which is entirely different.
The Vito IIa was offered with two shutter options; the four-speed Prontor and the eight speed Prontor SVS. Later models, as seen on my camera, have the additional option to set a light value, and synchronise shutter speed and aperture settings.
The camera appears to have cost £25 when new, which was almost equivalent to 2 weeks UK average pay at that time (£15.13).
If you are wondering where I get this historical UK average wage information from, here's the link to Yahoo Answers.
I like to establish the original cost of cameras, because it puts their quality into clearer perspective. It's hard to appreciate today, when items are produced by high speed machines and operated by electronics, just how much hand assembly once went into manufacturing a camera, and the consequential high cost of these items.
Most of my data on original selling prices comes from a very small collection of old photography magazines, which are mainly editions of Amateur Photographer.
Viewfinder: Simple reverse telescope - shows image at about two thirds of natural size. No bright line or parallax.
Focus: Manual, Imperial distance scale with zone focusing symbols.
Lens: Color-Skopar 50mm f/3.5 (4 elements in 3 groups).
Close Focus: 3' 5".
Diaphragm: f3.5 to f16.
Shutter: Prontor SVS shutter (B, 1, 1/2nd, 1/5th, 1/10th, 1/25th, 1/50th, 1/100th, and 1/300th sec) + built-in self-timer.
Cable Release: Standard threaded socket in shutter release button assembly.
Exposure: Manual, although there is a facility to synchronise the shutter speed and aperture once set.
Filter Size: Not known.
Flash: Cold shoe and PC terminal with X and M synchronization selector.
Film Advance: Long stroke lever.
Frame Counter: Manual reset (via a small button on the back of the camera), count-up style.
Rewind: Pop-up crank with automatic tension release.
Back Opening: Full width lift-up bar.
Size: 125 x 77 x 42 mm (L x H x D) when closed.
I bought this camera because I was seduced by it's style. This was my first folding camera. The Vito cameras are all relatively small, but this folding version would be very easy to slip into a pocket. However, it's a difficult camera to use, because the numbers on the lens dials are so tiny they are hard to read. My eye sight isn't bad, but I think I would need to carry a magnifying glass with me to be able to use this camera. But, the issue isn't going to arise.
I paid £5.00 for this camera in August 2013, after some negotiation, due to the fact it was sold with a serious undisclosed fault: the wind lever does not drive the film spool. The serial number (4219145) dates the camera to 1956 (Voigtlander camera serial numbers can be found here).
Great care needs to be taken when cleaning these cameras, because the printed details on the rewind knob are very easy to accidentally remove. The ink seems to dissolve when it comes into contact with any sort of moisture.