Voigtlander Vito B

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John Wiegerink

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This little bugger has been setting on a shelf in my darkroom for many years as a display camera. I had many other cameras that were what I thought better and easier to use. I'm now moving my darkroom up to my cottage and while in the cleaning process I decided to take the Vito B down and load some HP5+ in it just for kicks. I was amazed at the results this little guy puts out. It is every bit as good as my Rollie 35T or my Minox 35 in that style of camera. Anybody else with some experience with the Vito B as a picture taker? Mine has the Skopar f3.5 lens and not the f2.8 Oh, and the feel/weight of the camera speaks first class. I might even try and find the f2.8 lens Vito B for a shelf mate or user.
 

Kino

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I have one too and I don't shoot with it as much as it deserves.

They are very capable cameras and quite well built.
 

tokam

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I have the f2.8 lens version plus the original slip on metal lens hood. Beautifully constructed and the chrome finish has to be seen to be believed. The f2.8 lens has a 12 blade iris for the aperture.

The lens is a little cracker and with the use of hyperfocal focussing techniques most of my pics were very sharp and exposures on FP4+ were well exposed.

Haven't used it in a while as it has a couple of issues to be addressed:
- Shutter is a bit baulky at speeds less than 1/4 second and I haven't been brave enough to attempt a shutter clean.
- There is a bit of something stuck on the pressure plate which gives a fine scratch line on the negatives. I've tried various solvents to remove it and it feels smoother. Just have to try another short length of film to see if the problem persists. My thoughts on a final fix to this problem would be to use something like teflon tape on the pressure plate to cover the problem area. Any other thoughts regarding fixing this?
 

albada

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I've shot with a Vito B, 3.5 lens like yours. And like you, I was surprised at its sharpness.

12emery.jpg

The stitches in his shirt and detail in his hat are clear. And this was guess-focused.

Mark
 

Kino

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- There is a bit of something stuck on the pressure plate which gives a fine scratch line on the negatives. I've tried various solvents to remove it and it feels smoother. Just have to try another short length of film to see if the problem persists. My thoughts on a final fix to this problem would be to use something like teflon tape on the pressure plate to cover the problem area. Any other thoughts regarding fixing this?

I would not use teflon, or any other tape, as the adhesive would migrate out and cause further problems.

Try buffing it out with your fingertip and some old-style toothpaste like Colgate that has calcium carbonate/talc/chalk as an abrasive.
 

tokam

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I was thinking of buffing / scouring but a bit concerned as to the metal used on the pressure plate. If I remove the coating I am worried about future corrosion. Have also thought about using a fine blade, at an acute angle to try and 'shave' off the high point causing the scratch. Maybe something like a razor blade.
 

Kodachromeguy

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The Color-Skopar 50mm ƒ/3.5 lens on my Vito BL is a remarkable little optic. It shows no obvious distortion, is high resolution, and has minimal flare. Being rigidly mounted on a precise body surely helps. Some examples:

https://worldofdecay.blogspot.com/2019/01/further-decay-and-loss-port-gibson.html

Some background on the Color-Skopar lens:

https://www.35mmc.com/05/04/2019/voigtlander-vito-bl-by-andrew-morang/

Possible rust on the pressure plate? Hint, use a jewelry rouge cloth (such as you would polish silver) and/or a pencil eraser.
 

titrisol

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The Skopar is another great German Tessar-like lens.
I have the BL with the 3.5 and the CL with the 2.8 Color Skopar
Both are great performers. However the 3.5 seems to be sharper, the 2.8 is probably the limit for such small size.

IMHO Voigtlanders were really nice cameras, lots of attention to detail, from the ergonomics to the leather cases.

PS for the pressure plate, see if you can feel the roughness with your finger, check also in the film guides rollers.
I clean mine first with a pencil eraser, then with a polishing cloth and if all that fails then something stronger.
 
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momus

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Corrosion inside the back shouldn't be a problem, but you never know. I would try polishing it out first w/ something like Autoglym, Zaino, Detailers Pride, or Griots. These are very mild automotive polishers that people use on paint and expensive mag wheels. They use big power polishers for those jobs, so for such a small area as yours hand polishing would probably be the way to go.

I think they can even be used to remove the fog from the new acrylic auto headlight covers. When you're done, just take a piece of undeveloped film and firmly press it against the pressure plate and move it back and forth a bunch of times to confirm that you have it sorted out. And yes, absolutely ck the rollers very carefully. A finger nail is good for that, a good magnifying glass may be better,
 
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John Wiegerink

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Your examples pretty much mirror mine. I like the Vito B series for being very well-built, unit focusing lens, small size, simple operation and very, very good lens. Nice camera to pick up on the way out the door and slip in your pocket, purse or hip pouch/fanny pack. Mine is in the car right now and if we ever see sunshine again I'll put it to use.
 

tokam

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I think they can even be used to remove the fog from the new acrylic auto headlight covers. When you're done, just take a piece of undeveloped film and firmly press it against the pressure plate and move it back and forth a bunch of times to confirm that you have it sorted out.
Thanks for the tip about running a piece of old film through the camera. I should have thought of that, Doh!!
Ran an old film through twice and no signs of marking on either side of the film.

Shutter speeds from 1/10 and slower are definitely sluggish. The camera has an interesting shutter speed sequence from 300, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, 2, 1 and B.

I have a swag of bulk loaded film that is now 5 years expired, (but always refrigerated) and I'm going to try a roll today. Rollei Retro 80S which I have never managed to get full film speed. Not really surprising as I believe this film is also sold as an ISO 25 film. I'll see how it goes.

Thanks to all the other posters with tips on how to clean the pressure plate. I think I'm all good now.
 

Kodachromeguy

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Thanks for the tip about running a piece of old film through the camera. I should have thought of that, Doh!!
Ran an old film through twice and no signs of marking on either side of the film.

Shutter speeds from 1/10 and slower are definitely sluggish. The camera has an interesting shutter speed sequence from 300, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, 2, 1 and B.

I have a swag of bulk loaded film that is now 5 years expired, (but always refrigerated) and I'm going to try a roll today. Rollei Retro 80S which I have never managed to get full film speed. Not really surprising as I believe this film is also sold as an ISO 25 film. I'll see how it goes.

Thanks to all the other posters with tips on how to clean the pressure plate. I think I'm all good now.

Exercise the shutter, time and time again. Use a scrap roll of film because it turns the little wheel that cocks the shutter. I bet the speeds will clean up nicely after a few hundred test clicks.
 

tokam

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I'll keep running the scrap film through it for a while to see if the slow shutter speeds improve. Because there is no separate button required to allow rewinding it's a simple matter of shoot 24 frames / rewind (no need to unload) / shoot 24 times.... repeat until get bored of doing it or the shutter starts to improve.

Took me a second or so to figure out the frame counter as it is a count-down device rather than count up device on every other camera I have.
 

titrisol

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I'll keep running the scrap film through it for a while to see if the slow shutter speeds improve. Because there is no separate button required to allow rewinding it's a simple matter of shoot 24 frames / rewind (no need to unload) / shoot 24 times.... repeat until get bored of doing it or the shutter starts to improve.

Took me a second or so to figure out the frame counter as it is a count-down device rather than count up device on every other camera I have.
you can move the internal cog-wheel with your fingers instead of using film.
you'll feel resistance twice and the camera is ready to shoot.

1-15 are in the slow speed escapement, so those will be slow. Start with the 15, and move down to 1. Then move back up to 15 a few times.
 

tokam

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Thanks for that. I knew about cocking the shutter by rolling the cog-wheel manually. At the moment I have a scrap film loaded and it's easier / quicker to use the film wind on.

Didn't know about the slow speed escapement although I've heard of it in other cameras. I suspect in my case this controls speeds from 1/10 to 1 second. In this case there's hope that my faster shutter speeds are OK. I'll keep exercising the shutter and I'll find out when I shoot the next film.
 
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