4other Voigtlander cameras in my collection:

 

Voigtlander Vitomatic I [1957 - 1960]

 

Background

The Vitomatic cameras had coupled light meters, were originally derived from the Vito B, and developed in parallel to the Vito BL and BR.

There were four generations of Vitomatic. Only the first two generations resembled the Vito B: the camera design was changed for later generations and more resemble the Vito C (and I'm therefore not too interested in describing them here, suffice to say that the 3rd generation Vitomatics (1964-1966) were the bs, and the 4th (1967-1971) were the CSs).

Vitomatic Is are viewfinder cameras. Vitomatic IIs are rangefinder equipped.

The second generation a models have a meter pointer mirrored in the viewfinder (as did the 3rd and 4th generation models).

• The 1st generation (1957-1961) comprised the Vitomatic I (viewfinder) and Vitomatic II (rangefinder).
• The 2nd generation (1961-1963) comprised the Vitomatic Ia and Vitomatic IIa.

 

Overview

Voigtlander Vitomatic IThe Vitomatic I shares many features with the Vito B including: a compact size, hinged baseplate, pop-up rewind crank, Prontor shutter, Color-Skopar lens, and a fine build quality. Like the Vito BL, it has a built-in Selenium light meter, but unlike the BL, the Vitomatic's is coupled to the aperture/shutter speed settings.

Similarly to other Voigtlander models, no doubt there were specification variations in addition to those listed below for my camera. It certainly seems to have started production with a 1/300th sec., Prontor SLK shutter (rather than the SLK-V).

I have not been able to establish the original cost of the Vitomatic I, but it may be the case that it wasn't sold in the UK (and it certainly appears to be less common than the other Vitomatics).

 

 

Specifications

Viewfinder: Simple with parallax markings. Shows image at about 1:1.

Focus: Manual. Imperial distance scale with zone focusing symbols.

Lens: Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.8 (4 elements in 3 groups).

Close Focus: 3' 5".

Diaphragm: Six blades, f/2.8 to f/22.

Shutter: Prontor SLK-V shutter (B, 1, 1/2nd, 1/4th, 1/8th, 1/15th, 1/30th, 1/60th, 1/125th, 1/250th and 1/500th sec) + built-in 8 second self-timer.

Cable Release: Standard threaded socket in shutter release button.

Meter: Coupled Selenium.

Exposure: Manual match needle in top-plate window.

Film Speed: 12 - 800 ASA / 12 -30 DIN

Filter Size: 32mm push fit.

Flash: Cold shoe and PC terminal with X and M synchronization selector.

Film Advance: Long stroke lever.

Frame Counter: Manually set, countdown style.

Rewind: Pop-up crank with automatic tension release.

Back Opening: Pull out base plate latch with quarter twist, opens the whole back and a hinged door beneath the film canister.

Size: 114 x 79 x 74 mm (L x H x D).

Weight: 735g

 

 

My Camera

My Vitomatic I was purchased in June 2016 for £10.50. The serial number (4957887) dates the camera to 1959 (Voigtlander camera serial numbers can be found here). The most noticeable feature of the Vitomatic is how heavy it is; at 735g (or 1lb 10oz in English - as today the UK has voted to leave the EU) it's 50% heavier than the original Vito B. The condition is not mint, but for a 56 year old camera, it's pretty fantastic, plus everything works ... including the meter. That's why I like these Voigtlander models; they were made to last.

 

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Voigtlander Vitomatic I

Voigtlander Vitomatic I

Voigtlander Vitomatic I

Voigtlander Vitomatic I

These cameras are often misdiagnosed as not working, because the film advance lever does not directly drive the shutter setting mechanism: a film must be in the camera for the shutter to tension.

Winding the drive cog (found at the top/middle of the camera when the back is open) with your finger/thumb has the same effect as a film would, and cocks the shutter (listen for a couple of clicks).