From having tried only one Voigtländer before, I have now been given two and have just received another. This is one of the donated ones. It came with the Perkeo II as an after thought by the giver, but honestly, I love it. I much prefer it over the Perkeo, hence I spent a bit of cash getting it serviced.
When it first arrived, it was in a bit of a state having not been used for quite some time. All the functions were stiff and the focusing part seemed really loose. Inside was an undeveloped film which I sent off just in case there was anything recoverable. There really wasn’t, just this one shot of a dog in a garden playing frisbee.
As you can see in the first photo of the camera, Yorkshire was having a bit of a snowstorm. On that walk I found out that cold and old don’t mix when it comes to cameras. AND, what was just a bit stiff, totally seized up. Not only that but the mirror, which was already an issue, became worse and covered in condensation.
When I finally got home I left the camera in a tub of rice for a few days.
That dried it out, but didn’t solve the issues. What to do?? Develop the film and see if it actually worked, then decide.
This is where I made one of my usual mistakes and I didn’t use enough chemicals. I have two developing tanks and I think I can remember the amounts for each in my head…I obviously can’t. So I solved that issue thus…
Here are some of the results from that wonky, half developed fomapan 100 film, I cropped some of them. These were taken just before the snow hit.
Well, despite the issues…it seemed to work. So I loaded it up again with fomapan, as it is cheap, and set off for another walk…oh no 😦 This is when the snow hit and the camera seized.
The focus wheel had disconnected from the actual lens during the first walk. The results were plain to see on the second roll…all out of focus. Was it worth sending it to be fixed?? The last camera I had CLAd cost me a fair bit. I did a bit of searching for a new place and came across this website. I hadn’t used them before, but the owner seemed very friendly and best of all, it was very reasonably priced. Less than a week later I got the camera back all fixed except the mirror. I found one of those on ebay in America and ordered one. The camera repair guy explained how to remove the viewfinder to access the old mirror and once it arrived I set to installing it myself.
The old mirror was glued to the body, I had to smash it to get it out, gosh I hope I could get the new one in ok.
Wow, once installed, the new mirror really made the viewfinder brill-I-ant. Plus when I took the camera out on another cold day… no seizing.
Another roll of fomapan 100. Oh and I switched to ID-11 for developing. It is cheaper…shame about my super markings on the jug, but the amount lines are still useful.
The snow had gone, but the wind was bitingly cold. As you can see the camera worked a treat. I used to have a yashicaflex that I took to Iceland, but it stopped working so I sold it. I wish I knew about the repair camera workshop before that. But, this seems like a perfect replacement. I think I will use it on my next holiday…when that is allowed.
So, what about the actual camera? It is from 1945 and has a top speed of 1/500th. You can read about the history of the Brillant line on Mike Eckman’s very detailed post of an earlier version. I chatted with him and he mentioned that you might be able to squeeze 13 frames out of this camera. I haven’t yet due to the issues I had with the camera in the beginning, but I do think it is possible. If you load the camera and start taking photos on the last or middle dot before the number 1 in the red window, then the camera should have enough space for 13 shots. I will try it on my next roll. He also mentions how this camera is the father of the Lubitel.
I have since become a bit enamoured of this line of cameras and I am tempted to get some more. Some of the other versions seem to be pretty cheap, but not this one and I can see why. It is the only one that can be focused in the very bright viewfinder. I wish the filters were still in the side compartment of this one, but no. I wish the red window mask hadn’t fallen off when I used it the second time, but a bit of black tape solved that minor issue.
Thank you to the previous owner for sending me this and the other camera.