I bought this 1949 Voigtländer Brillant after using the S version. I was looking for other versions and saw this on Facebook Marketplace for a cheap price. The seller didn’t know if it worked and I didn’t really care, I wanted the filters on the side. I knew these were often missing and I hoped they would fit the S version I already had…they didn’t 😦
Oh well, maybe the camera would work or I could try to fix it. At least I would learn something from the process.
Once it arrived I checked it over. The shutter seemed to work really well on all speeds, the aperture blades opening and closing as they should. Could I be that lucky?
The side of the camera looked exactly like the S version, with a winder release and a counter with counter reset. On this example they didn’t work. But there was a red window which meant I could use the camera anyway by lining up the film numbers.
I tried to load a roll of Fomapan, but found that the advance knob was a little bit loose, not connecting with the spool. It meant the film would not move forward, the knob just span. By adding a small piece of card to the left of the spool it engaged the gears. Then it wound on perfectly.
Then I noticed a second, minor issue. I couldn’t see the focus markings on the lens barrel, they were extremely light. I could see them if I took a photo with a light shined on them so I made sure I knew where infinity and 1m was. I then added a silver pen marker to each place to help me in the field.
With that all sorted I took it on a walk around my recent usual place. Here are the results…of the 8 shots. Yeap 8, not 12. The red window seems to be in the wrong position for modern film markings. It showed the marking for 6×9 shots not 6×6 which the camera is. That resulted in images with big gaps inbetween.
So here are most of the results.
I left the camera on infinity, due to the issue of seeing the markings for all but one of the shots. The photo of the ivy on the ground is set to 1m, so I could see if the lens was aligned properly, it was. The shot of the stairs is fogged due to the issue I had winding the film at the beginning. Other than that, the camera worked really well.
I kept the yellow filter on throughout the film but I didn’t use the other filter.
There are a few reasons for that.
1. I didn’t know what it was at first.
2. When I did find out what it was, it wasn’t really very useful.
So what was it? I had never seen one before. I did a search for a “Brillant filter red C”. Eventually I hit upon the term, “extinction meter“, I had never heard of that. When you added it to the top lens, its use became pretty obvious. This was the view in the finder.
I tried matching the EV value it read to the 100asa reading on a light meter and it just didn’t match up. So even though it was lovely to have, I didn’t use it on this outing as it was dull outside. I might try it on a brighter day.
The issue with the side mechanism gradually got worse, stopping the film from winding on altogether. Due to the cheapness of the camera, I decided to remove it altogether. I could have got it serviced, but that would have cost more than a replacement camera. Plus when I opened it up a spring sprang out onto my carpet and I couldn’t find it. As the mechanism is independent of the shutter the camera would still work, it just wouldn’t stop the film when it should. That means I now have to rely on the red window…which doesn’t match up, but I am sure I can work around that issue if I ever use the camera again.
At the end of the day, the shutter and lens are fine. I will use it as a holder for the filters, you never know what cameras I will get in the future. I might even get some more Brillants.