Newbie --- Voigtlander Bessa-46

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jeffn, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. jeffn

    jeffn Member

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    Hi,
    It was only a few days ago I mentioned to someone I'd like to do some photography, then bought a camera at a garage sale for $15 australian, now I am wanting to LEARN LEARN LEARN............
    I now have a Voigtlander Bessa-46. Its a lovely looking camera that seems to have all the bits functioning well and in good condition........ thats where my knowledge ends. I've had modern 35mm SLR.s and digital but nothing like this.

    If anyone can tell me if this camera is "worthy" and if there are some good links for information on ......... well anything........... please tell me.
    Thanks
     
  2. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Hi, you did well to get any working Voigtlander for $15! I'm not all that familiar with the Bessa 46 but I presume that it is 15 shots on a 120 roll?
    Can you tell me what lens it has and also the shutter type. Quite a lot of old cameras have sluggish shutters, especially on the slow speeds. You can also have haze and or fungus in the lens which can affect the image quality quite considerably.
    To check this open up the camera back, put the aperture to maximum opening(2.8 or 3.5) and set the shutter to "B". Open the shutter and point it at a bright light source. If it looks cloudy or there are spidery filaments visable you may have a problem.
    Goood luck with your new camera, working properly they take surprisingly good images.
    Cheers, Tony
     
  3. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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    I'm not familiar with the Bessa-46, but it looks like it does the 6x4.5 format. I've got a Bessa II, 6x9. I get 8 shots per roll compared to your 16.
    Jurgen Kreckel has a site dedicated to folders that may help with some background info: http://www.certo6.com/ and he also does reapir work if you find a need for it.
    Check your shutter and confirm speeds are at least close to what they should be. If not, you can still work with "B" for bulb. Also, you may want to check to make sure the seals and bellows aren't leaking light.
    Best of luck with your new toy! You did well getting a Voigtlander for $15.
    Chris
     
  4. jeffn

    jeffn Member

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    It has a yellow hinged lens over the front with "Voigtlander Moment" written on it. The main lens part has "Compur" on it. I will add some pics to assist.........oh, lookign through the lens as you've described....... it looks reasonably clean...... maybe a couple of small spots ..... its a little hard to tell.






     

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  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That looks like a fine little camera!

    The hinged yellow thing is a yellow filter, for use with BW film.

    "Compur" is the shutter, those Compur shutters are very good and easy to repair if they're sluggish (or fast).

    I can't tell what the lens is, somewhere it should say something like "Voigtländer Anastigmat "Voigtar" 75mm f:4.5" or something like that. Yes, I'm guessing - but that's what I have on my 4.5x6 Voigtländer Perkeo.
     
  6. Kobin

    Kobin Member

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  7. battra92

    battra92 Member

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    Welcome to the fantastic and non-plastic world of folding cameras. If you want to start with MF, they are a great way to go.

    The first thing you want to do is to get a flashlight (torch) and take your camera into a darkroom (or just a plain old dark room will do fine too :wink: ) Anyway, shine the flashlight into the back of the bellows and in the dark, see if you can't spot any light shining through the bellows. IIRC, Voigtlanders have leather bellows so they *should* be okay but it's a good idea to check. Holes can be fixed with bits of electrical tape from the inside. Black nail polish works well too if it is basically liquid plastic with fillers and such. Wet N' WIld is a cheap brand here in the States that works well. Not sure what they have in Aus.

    The compur shutter is probably slow. If you do a search on these forums you'll find that Rosonol is a good cleaner for them but if you are like me who doesn't want to disassemble it, you can just give it a few squirts. A professional CLA is reccomended but then, that will probably be at least $80 US if not more. To me, that's too much.
     
  8. tdeming

    tdeming Subscriber

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    the lens name plate is located around the front of the lens, right under the "moment" yellow filter, but is missing from your camera, which is common in early Bessas since they were only weakly glued on. Since you have a compur shutter, and not a compur-rapid, the lens is likely either a tessar-type "skopar" or triplet "voigtar", 75 mm, f3.5 (heliars came in compur-rapids). If you are really interested, you can check the rear of the lens by opening up the camera back to see if it has a serial number, the voigtars weren't numbered pre-WW2, so if it's numbered, it's a skopar. All are good usable lenses.

    This bessa also has a film counter built in, so you need to reset this using the levers on the top front and back before you load the film, and you only need to set the film to the first frame using the rear red window, and then the camera will take care of the rest. This process is a little tricky to get right, and a stuck shutter or linkage will give you problems, so best to practice first with a dummy roll of film in the camera. IIRC, the film winder (which also allows you to fire the shutter with the lever on front) only works with film in the camera. You also have to manually cock the shutter each time before you fire. I've seen many of these where the automatic features have been removed or disabled since they probably locked up at some point. They are easily fixed if needed. I have a Bessa 66 with a similar mechanism, so if you cant figure it out, drop me a post and I'll try to guide you through it.

    These "baby" bessas are great cameras. I've used many of these, and shoot a lot of medium format using a Perkeo II and Perkeo E rangefinder, both of which have the advantage of coated lenses. I've made some nice 16x20" enlargements from these that are very sharp.

    cheers

    Tim
     
  9. jeffn

    jeffn Member

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    There is number (2286138) on the lens outer ring looking inside the camera.

    Thanks all !
    My girlfriend laughs about my internet forums (vintage audio, quadraphonic sound, vintage hondas etc)..........but they are the best way to learn......and FAST.



    Going to buy some film this arvo.......... B&W I think........
     
  10. jeffn

    jeffn Member

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    i bought film today. I expected the camera to use 120 film but inside the camera someone had hand-written "620"....... (or was it 640)........ anyway, the only stuff they had was 120 and it seemed to go in and wind-on ok. does anyone know the difference in these films and what the bessa 46 would in fact use?

    Thanks, Jeff
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    620 has narrower spools than 120, that seems to be the only difference.

    Since the Bessa is German, it would be made for 120. 620 was never really popular there.
     
  12. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    Jeff, have a look at Robert Monhaghan's Medium Format site. There you can find info on film sizes. According to this site info, the sizes of the film should be the same...

    Jiri
     
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    620 also has smaller slots in the end for the wind on spool to register with. Some cameras just about cope with it, others jam up.

    EDIT: I am refering to using 120 film in a 620 camera.

    Steve.
     
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  15. tdeming

    tdeming Subscriber

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    Voigtlander was pretty progressive in their camera design: most of their old folders will take either 120 or 620 film - they developed a special 2-part key that will self-adapt to either 120 or 620 spool slot.

    Cheers

    Tim
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Hitchhiking on this earlier thread.

    My wife bought an early birthday present for me today - A Voigtlander Bessa 66 with the Voigtar 7.5cm f/3.5 lens.

    This is the model with the built in viewfinder, and a distance scale in feet.

    I've found a manual for it on Mike Butkus' site, but it is in German, and the only phrase I know in German is "I don't know".

    It is listed as Voigtlander Klein Bessa, which I take to mean Baby Bessa.

    Can someone here help me with the use of the film counter, or a translation of that manual, linked here: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/voigtlander.htm

    Thanks in advance.
     
  17. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    Hello Matt, I will be sending you a PM re Bessa 66 instructions.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Wonderful!
     
  19. Takacsi

    Takacsi Member

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    Hello Tessar,

    Could you send it to me too? Thank you!
     
  20. Takacsi

    Takacsi Member

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    Hello!

    could you share with me any experience with this camare and film please? thx!
     
  21. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    Hi Takacsi, I'm sending you the instructions as a PDF attachment to a PM. The only tricky part is advancing the film, but this works very well once you get used to it. The camera is a lot of fun to use, really well designed/
     
  22. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I've really benefited from the copy of those instructions - thanks again tessar.

    That being said, I've taken to keeping a copy with the camera. If I haven't been using the camera for a bit, I need a "refresher".
     
  23. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    Takacsi: I can't seem to find the way to send a PM since the website was redesigned. You can send me an e-mail directly to frederik (at) shaw.ca and I'll reply with the attachment.
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Click on Takacsi's name. You will see "Start A Conversation" (that is what they are now called). Click there, and a box will open up which has room for both your message and a button for "Upload an Image or File". Use that button to link to the file. When you are finished, click on the "Start a Conversation" at the bottom of the message part.

    Takacsi will then see a red flag near the word "Inbox" on his screen. He should click on it.
     
  25. Takacsi

    Takacsi Member

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    I sent you a mail! Thank you very much!
     
  26. Keith Baerken

    Keith Baerken Member

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    Hi guys,

    I found this camera in nice shape last weekend.
    The Bessa 46 (klein-bessa, bessa baby) with leather case.
    I found some 120 Kodak Exachrome lying around to so bought them with the camera.
    25$ total.

    I managed to figure most things out and reading some parts of the german manual.

    But im having an autistic fit :smile:

    I can reset the counter to 0 on the top plate.
    Put the film in and wind it until no. 1 shows up in the rear red window. I can then take a pic.
    But when I then wind it again it doesn't stop or is not ready to take a picture at no. 2 in the little red window.

    Meaning that I wind until the shutter is ready for the next picture, but it does not match up displaying no. 2 in the little red window.

    The top plate says no. 2 but not in the little red window.

    Tried 3 films now.

    Maybe it doesn't matter?