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  1. #1
    Perry Way's Avatar
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    Can someone help me figure out what this Voigtlander is all about?

    I'm having a little bit of a difficult time trying to piece fragments of information together about this camera. I just picked it up at a yard sale the other day and I want to use it.

    The strap reads "Avus" in script. There are no other model names or numbers to help identify the model of this camera.

    In my investigation I am finding only Voigtlander Avus models in the 2.25 x 3.25 or 6x9cm format. But this one measures exactly 9x12cm. I found other Voigtlanders of the same era and basic general appearance in the 9x12cm format but they are named "Vax" not "Avus". So I'm kind of stumped. Here's some cellphone photos. This camera is in tip top shape considering the age. The only problems are the deteriorating leather (what leather isn't from that era?), and the complete lack of film holders!

    By the way it has the Skopar f4.5 135mm Anastigmat lens with shutter speeds T, B and 1/1 to 1/200. I've seen photos on the internet taken with an Avus (the medium format 6x9 one) that really make me want to shoot this camera. The rich grayscale and tone of skin.. just something not easily done with todays optics.

    Anyway, if anyone knows more, I'd appreciating being educated! thanks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG00045-20100427-1134.jpg   IMG00048-20100427-1136.jpg   IMG00049-20100427-1136.jpg   IMG00050-20100427-1136.jpg   IMG00046-20100427-1135.jpg  

    IMG00047-20100427-1135.jpg   IMG00051-20100427-1137.jpg  
    I love the wilderness and I love my trail cameras, all Fuji's! :) GA645, GW690 III, and the X100 which I think is the best trail camera ever invented (to date).

  2. #2

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    It's a 9x12 plate camera. The Avus was the middle-grade model between the Vag and the Bergheil; as far as I know it always comes with a Skopar lens. You have front rise/fall and shift but no further movements (the silver knobs on the front standard). It looks like a fairly late model to judge from the rimset Compur shutter---late 1920s or early 1930s, probably.

    I don't see any film holders in the pictures (oops, edit: and you mentioned not having any); they can be bought separately sometimes, but probably the easiest way to find them is bundled with another camera (this is a major reason for so many of us to have a ton of plate cameras).

    That back isn't original; the original ground glass backs say "Voigtlaender" across the diagonal. Does it have glass in it?

    These are pretty simple cameras, and as long as the bellows doesn't have leaks and the shutter works, you should be in good shape. The Skopar is a Tessar-type lens, perfectly good for most purposes, especially for large format.

    -NT
    Last edited by ntenny; 04-27-2010 at 03:04 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: clarification of wording
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  3. #3
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    The body, bellows and front standard is fairly generic and was available from many manufacturers under different names. I had one almost identical to yours but with a Zeiss Tessar 13.5cm lens.


    Steve.

  4. #4
    Perry Way's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    It's a 9x12 plate camera. The Avus was the middle-grade model between the Vag and the Bergheil; as far as I know it always comes with a Skopar lens. You have front rise/fall and shift but no further movements (the silver knobs on the front standard). It looks like a fairly late model to judge from the rimset Compur shutter---late 1920s or early 1930s, probably.
    I'm no pro at this part, but the "feel" I got was about 1920 based on the styling. I am kind of in awe of the workmanship. The spirit level still has spirits! WOW! What modern bubble level do you know still has fluid in it after a handful of years? And here is darn near a 100 year old camera and it's still in very good shape.



    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    I don't see any film holders in the pictures (oops, edit: and you mentioned not having any); they can be bought separately sometimes, but probably the easiest way to find them is bundled with another camera (this is a major reason for so many of us to have a ton of plate cameras).
    That's roughly what I found on eBay as well. I found some commentary somewhere about plate versus film holders for the Avus. I would like to use film in this, not plates. If that is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    That back isn't original; the original ground glass backs say "Voigtlaender" across the diagonal. Does it have glass in it?
    Looks original in all ways to me. I saw those ones you're talking about but they seem to be from another era. And yes, it has the ground glass and it's in really good condition too. Same thing with the popup hood.

    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    These are pretty simple cameras, and as long as the bellows doesn't have leaks and the shutter works, you should be in good shape. The Skopar is a Tessar-type lens, perfectly good for most purposes, especially for large format.
    -NT
    From what little I know, it doesn't seem to be a Tessar type. I've taken the front elements off and they appear to be sandwiched not separated by air. But maybe I'm not able to see it clearly.

    Well thanks for your information. I'd like to shoot this camera without buying another one just to get some film holders.
    I love the wilderness and I love my trail cameras, all Fuji's! :) GA645, GW690 III, and the X100 which I think is the best trail camera ever invented (to date).

  5. #5
    Andy38's Avatar
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    Voïgtlander Avus plate cameras exist in 6,5X9, 9X12 and 10X15.
    There are two 9X12 vertical models, made from 1914 to 1935; and yours is the later.

  6. #6

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    [Anastigmat-Skopar 135/4.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Way View Post
    From what little I know, it doesn't seem to be a Tessar type. I've taken the front elements off and they appear to be sandwiched not separated by air. But maybe I'm not able to see it clearly.
    Well, you could be right; I'm just trusting the description in the Vade Mecum. I've never tried to dissect the one I have. Maybe some of them were reversed (which Voigtlaender do seem to have done; the Vade Mecum calls it a "rasset" design), which would put the cemented element in front...

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  7. #7
    Perry Way's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy38 View Post
    Voïgtlander Avus plate cameras exist in 6,5X9, 9X12 and 10X15.
    There are two 9X12 vertical models, made from 1914 to 1935; and yours is the later.
    This site is excellent: http://www.cinci.de/plat_avus2.html

    And it seems to prove your point.
    I love the wilderness and I love my trail cameras, all Fuji's! :) GA645, GW690 III, and the X100 which I think is the best trail camera ever invented (to date).

  8. #8
    Perry Way's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone who contributed. If anyone has some plate holders (with the film insert) they want to sell or trade, I'm looking for them. I have some Hasselblad focus screens I can trade (got them too at the yard sale) or $'s.
    I love the wilderness and I love my trail cameras, all Fuji's! :) GA645, GW690 III, and the X100 which I think is the best trail camera ever invented (to date).

  9. #9

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    Nice camera!

    I have a Zeiss Maximar - which is very similar.

    I always thought the Skopar was a Tessar type, too... I'm sure the later ones are. But, companies tend to keep recycling the brand names, mavbe a 1920s Skopar isn't much to do with a 1950s or 60s Skopar?

    Please can you measure the width of the focussing screen, accurately, in millimetres?

    Not all 9 X 12 film holders will fit... (the same is true of most other sizes, too. The glass plate sizes were standardised, the external dimensions certainly weren't!)
    Steve

  10. #10

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    Philippe Grunchec

    "The fundamental problem any artist faces in regard to craft is that it must be largely ignored" Richard Benson.

    http://philippe.grunchec-photographe.over-blog.com/

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