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Voigtlander Vitomatic IIa --viewfinder issue
Old 03-12-2012   #1
pinkarmy
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Voigtlander Vitomatic IIa --viewfinder issue

i am in my "crazy for Voigtlander" period.

i got my first, a very beaten up Vito III last year,
since then i've acquired a few more. they are all lovely even some have small issues (lazy slow speeds, dim viewfinder...).
i sent the more valuable (and more mechanical complex) ones to the pro for CLA and play with the cheaper one myself.

the latest (but not the last) one is a Vitomatic IIa with Color-skopar 2.8/50,
camera body is great, meter working, sticky slow speeds as expected.
the main issue is that the glass in the viewfinder seems fallen out of it's place (plz see pic below) --i tried a few shake but no rattling inside.
i heard that the glass was glued on, so may be it just need to be glued back?



i paid some 15 euro (+postage) for it so taking it to the pro is the last step, so i might open it to take a peep first.

i can only see 2 screws, one on each side of the top plate,
are they all?
i've loosen them but the top won't come off easy.
and if the meter part come off with the top?


just want to make sure before i apply some force.
any hints are welcome.

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Old 03-12-2012   #2
batterytypehah!
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There's another screw hidden behind the advance lever (resting position).

I think the top should pull off, leaving the meter behind, but I don't know for sure. I haven't worked on a Vitomatic but I know a couple of later Vitos are like that.

As for the VF issue, I think you're looking at prism separation there. The VF should be one cemented block.
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Old 03-12-2012   #3
pinkarmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batterytypehah! View Post
...The VF should be one cemented block.
you mean, like this?
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Old 03-12-2012   #4
batterytypehah!
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^Yep, that looks right.

This reminds me, I have a Vitomatic II with a very faint secondary image, and a Vito BR (same camera without the meter) with a good one. If the BR weren't a bit of a rarity, I think I'd swap the finder block over into the Vitomatic, because I do like the match needle meter, and it's surprisingly accurate.
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Old 03-12-2012   #5
pinkarmy
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you have a...
Quote:
Originally Posted by batterytypehah! View Post
...Vito BR...
...
...mouthwatering...

Last edited by pinkarmy : 03-12-2012 at 09:04. Reason: typo
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Old 03-12-2012   #6
batterytypehah!
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I do; a lucky find on a flea market in Germany. I just pulled it out and realized that in bright light, its finder is starting to show some separation, too. Time to start looking for a beater donor camera.

Not that I'm overly excited about either of these. Now if they had the f/2 Ultron lens, that would be something...
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Old 03-12-2012   #7
pinkarmy
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the top is off (how can i miss the 3rd screw...yes it is just behind the advance lever)

the prism glass is a cube block, nothing is falling apart (intact on the outside at least)
which has that mysterious diagonal 'slit' across inside
">
--it should be crystal clear, right??...(OH PLEASE, not a internal crack i hope)

AND
the movable part (the reflect mirror) of the rangefinder is hanging loose
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Old 03-12-2012   #8
pinkarmy
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btw

mine has a serial no. 00549
does not has the 'nail-shape strap lug',
no V/X/M on the side of the lens
has a flash socket hole
and a independent self-time lever (seen below the lens, second pic of my first post)

can anybody id it? is it a early or late model?

Last edited by pinkarmy : 03-12-2012 at 23:55. Reason: typo
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Old 03-13-2012   #9
batterytypehah!
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Anybody? The IIa must be different from my II, due to the meter needle being reflected in the VF.
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Old 03-13-2012   #10
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I'll try to have a look in mine tonight. Should I do so, and you ever come across a spare screw for the top cover, I'm missing one...

Adrian
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Old 03-13-2012   #11
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OK, I have a nasty feeling that this is bad news. Here goes...

This is what the viewfinder should look like - sort of! As you can see, the prism lies at the bottom of the viewfinder. I think its purpose is to reflect the needle of the meter in the vf. I don't know how it is fixed in that block, and my one won't budge to see what the bottom looks like. However, I agree that it looks like the prism has come adrift.



Here's what the rangefinder mech looks like on mine, which is working. You will see the part that you highlighted is in a different orientation. I can also see the arm to its right that moves is "off the scale" according to mine - closer to the meter window than it will go on mine. There's also a whole bunch of stuff missing that I can see on mine, but not on yours, but one part of that I can see in your pic of the vf block... so I don't now how much you've taken out!

Incidentally, might it NOT be the mirror from the RF? There is one hiding under the lenticular window under the meter needle, which reflects it towards the prism.



Dunno if that helps I hope so, if it does, if you ever come across a truly dead Vitomatic, I'd appreciate being thought of!

Adrian
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Old 03-14-2012   #12
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that really is bad news
i've read that the glass block was actually glued together so after some half-a-century the glue might dried out and fall apart..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muggins View Post
...There's also a whole bunch of stuff missing that I can see on mine, but not on yours... so I don't now how much you've taken out!
the rangefinder mechanic are all there (my bad digi-photos are just too dark to show), they are just not hanging there...may be missing a screw to hold them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muggins View Post
...Dunno if that helps I hope so, if it does, if you ever come across a truly dead Vitomatic, I'd appreciate being thought of!

Adrian
your pictures are the best i could find on the web, you've already help.
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Old 03-14-2012   #13
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Ah, that explains why I could see a bit in one photo that I couldn't in the other. I wonder if a spring has gone AWOL, and left your rangefinder mech floating free. Might be time for a parts camera...

It doesn't always work, but if your camera will let you I find zooming in to something from a distance and using flash as well will give the detail without the flash wiping everything out - ie take a photo from four or five feet.

Adrian
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Old 03-14-2012   #14
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to look on the bright side:
this camera just kill off my obessesion for another Voigtlander...for the moment.
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Old 03-14-2012   #15
batterytypehah!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkarmy View Post
i've read that the glass block was actually glued together so after some half-a-century the glue might dried out and fall apart.
Yes, that's what I meant by separation in my earlier posts. Sorry, I should have explained. These optics are made up of several glass pieces held together by Canada balsam. That was the best (only?) available optical cement at the time. It's a natural product and becomes brittle with age. A huge problem with Leica M3 and M2 finders, too.

Comparing the photos, to me it looks like you're missing the spiral that appears about half way between the finder block and the shutter release in the 2nd photo from Muggins. It might still be in there, or you might be able to replace it with something similar, like from a ballpoint pen.
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Old 03-14-2012   #16
pinkarmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batterytypehah! View Post
...looks like you're missing the spiral that appears about half way between the finder block and the shutter release...
thanks for the knowledge and tips!
i read from some mainland chinese blogs that some did eventually glued them back, and they even talking about polishing the glass /pasting some reflective material onto it to bring back a brighter view...
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Old 03-14-2012   #17
Jack Conrad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkarmy View Post
the top is off (how can i miss the 3rd screw...yes it is just behind the advance lever)

the prism glass is a cube block, nothing is falling apart (intact on the outside at least)
which has that mysterious diagonal 'slit' across inside
">
--it should be crystal clear, right??...(OH PLEASE, not a internal crack i hope)

AND
the movable part (the reflect mirror) of the rangefinder is hanging loose
">
Have you tried simply remounting (reglue) that reflect mirror?
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Old 03-14-2012   #18
pinkarmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Conrad View Post
...tried simply remounting (reglue) that reflect mirror?
not tried yet...i feel so depressed i can do nothing at the moment
...just kidding...good suggestion!
thanks Jack.
(i almost consider taking the camera to the pro for a quote)
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