Voigtlander Prominent

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by tjaded, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Hi all--
    I just bought (and am awaiting) a rather impulsive buy. Specifically a Voigtlander Prominent with a 50mm Ultron f2 lens. I've always kind of wanted one but the prices were more than I wanted to pay. This one was about $150 which seems like a decent price. My questions are sort of stupid now that I already bought the damn thing, but does anyone here use one/have opinions of it? Which lenses should I watch for, etc?
    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  2. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Most people have favorable comments about the Voigtlander Prominent.

    My opinion: Love the lens. Despise the body.

    That was a very good price for the body + lens.
     
  3. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    How much do they usually go for? I haven't followed the prices very closely.
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    In my opinion, rather like the Kodak Retina Reflexes, absolutely nothing on the camera seemed to have been designed so that a human set of hands, eyes, could use it conveniently. The "human" part of engineering solutions did not seem to be part of the German design parameters. Meine zwei Groschen.
     
  5. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Many of Voigtlander's cameras had quirky ergonomics, and the Prominent is among them.

    The left-handed focus by knob is a popular Voigtlander feature. And advancing the film when the shutter is set to 1/500 requires a huge amount of effort.

    But I think it's best if you handle the camera and come to your own conclusion.

    If I recall, there should be a 35mm Skoparex and a 100mm Dynarex. The Voigtlander lenses were quite good.
     
  6. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    Love mine, and MF and LF are my usual weapons of choice. It's fashionable to decry the layout of the body, but for the left-eyed it's good (not sure about the right-eyed, mine is terrible thanks genetics!).

    It built like the proverbial brick (out)house.

    I have the Voigtlander VC II meter attached which matches the Prominent winder and focus nicely, but is obviously not essential. My problem was remembering that there is no linkage between the meter and the lens, ya gotta do it manually. The manual, somewhere online, will advise you to assist the cocking of the shutter at 1/500 with your hand.

    There are a few lenses, but I'm happy with the 50mm Ultron.

    Regards - Ross
     

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  7. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Well, I am a left eye, so I guess I have that to look forward to!
     
  8. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The Prominent has its fans, and it's possible that you'll fall in love with the camera.

    The Ultron lens is excellent and coupled with the body, you have a very sturdy camera.

    Shutter speeds are on the ring around the lens mount, and the lens has detents (click stops) for the various apertures. Or at least my Ultron has these.

    As I said, give the camera a good workout. That's always how you learn if a particular camera works for you.

    I think I paid $175 about five years ago, which at that time seemed to be slightly on the lower end of what people were paying for the Prominent. I think that you got a good deal.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2008
  9. Francis in VT

    Francis in VT Member

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    My first 35mm camera was the Prominent w/the 1.5 Nokton all purchased new at a BX while stationed in England. I also had the 35 and the 100mm lenses plus all the hoods the finder I had everything but the reflex 150mm tele. That was back in the mid fifties and to this day I regret getting rid of it because I wanted wider and longer. I think I took some of my best photos with that set up. I don't remember having any problems when using it with my right eye. Ross is correct in saying the cocking lever should be assisted when using 1/500 sec.
     
  10. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Now I am very eager to get it back and run some Kodachrome through it!
     
  11. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Don't push too far -- otherwise you'll engage the self-timer. Not a big deal, but you'll be wondering why the shutter didn't release. Meanwhile, the self-timer will be happily buzzing away. And just when you decide to take a look at the camera, it will release and you'll have a nice out-of-focus shot of your chin!

    By the way, here are a couple of photos from the Prominent. The Ultron is really a sweet lens.
     
  12. Simplicius

    Simplicius Subscriber

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    I am hunting for one of these inside my budget for a while.
    I being left handed, left everything, except brained love the Voitlanders ergonomics generally .. I was amazed at the quality of lens even on the wee VITO B with Colour Skopar I have ... Seeing Elekm's pictures with the f-stop attached just made me want a Prominent all the more. !
     
  13. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    I have a Vito B as well, it's actually a really good compact 35mm. I sent it to Carol Flutot for a CLA and it is SUPER smooth and fun to use!
     
  14. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    The lenses are the best available from the 1950s. The bodies are not. But they are fun to use, more quirks than a Barnack Leica. It is worth reading the manual. The shutter has two sets of blades, and one set was stuck on mine. A LOT of floof cleaning solved the problem. BUT- the camera worked fine with just the one set of shutter blades operating.

    Calibrating the RF can be a pain.
     
  15. bighilt

    bighilt Member

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    I have had a Voigtlander Prominent with a 50/3.5 Skopar for a number of years. I use it regularly and absolutely love it. But then I must admit I am left-eye dominant and the quircky focussing works just fine for me.
     
  16. bighilt

    bighilt Member

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    Mike, those are absolutely beautiful images!!
     
  17. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Let us not forget the f1.5 Nokton
    Mark
     
  18. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    I guess I lucked out. I got a Prominent I with a 50mm Nokton, a 35 Skoparon, a 150 Super-Dynaron, a 35-100 viewfinder with the 150 mask, the close up lenses and some other stuff for $45. Of course, then I was obligated to find a 100 Dynaron which cost me more than everything else. Then, I got a minty Prominent I Type II with another Nokton and another Skoparon for $95.
     
  19. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Dang! Where do you shop for cameras???
     
  20. bighilt

    bighilt Member

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    Awesome, Outwest! Be sure to post some pictures.
     
  21. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    Well, Bighilt, oddly enough, the first kit came from Franschhoek!
     
  22. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    I found an advertisement for a Prominent in a 1955 photo magazine: $220. Just out of curiosity, I plugged it into the online Inflation Calculator. According to that, when adjusted for inflation, the 1955 price would be $1746 in 2009 dollars. It's hard to imagine that the camera could cost that much.

    Nathan
     
  23. niho

    niho Member

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    USD 1746 in todays money - Wow !!! I think I just maked a great deal - My dear neighbor came by and asked me if I would have his late fathers old cameras - it showed up to be a beaty of a Voigtländer Prominent II with a Ultron 1;2/50 mm and an Exakta with several lenses, filters and some other old photo pickpack - Price: If I would take some portraits of his daugther, I could have them for free !!!
    "Come on in darling - have a seat, while I put some film in the cameras and light-up the old Photolita lamps :smile:"

    NIHO