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Voigtlander Vitessa-T collector
Old 01-02-2007   #1
ArnoldHarris
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Voigtlander Vitessa-T collector

I'm not at all certain which part of your forum(s) I should read and post to.

I am a specialized collector of Voigtlander Vitessa-T 35mm rangefinder cameras manufactured in Braunschweig, Germany during 1956-1959. Presently I have 60 of these cameras, with a 61st on the way. I also have a large collection of the interchangeable lens used with these cameras, along with the usual collection of 40.5mm filters, eveready leather carrying cases, and other accessories.

I acquired my first Vitessa-T in late 1971 and have photographed with them across north America, southern and central Europe, and the Mediterranean basin. I have preferred slides. And I am glad of that, now that I'm told I can use PhotoShop to correctly restore color to a large collection of old Ektachromes.

Rangefinder cameras are the only ones in which I have any serious interest. I purchased an old Pentax K1000 clank-and-bang 15 years ago, and more recently a couple of similar Voigtlander Bessamatics. But I never liked these mechanisms.

My only use for digital cameras is to be able to quickly post photos on eBay of something I want to sell. But I would not consider using them for "photography".

Recently, I have acquired what little amount of published repair manuals I could find for the Vitessa-T and their Synchro-Compur CN-1110-030 shutters and interchangeable lenses. So I've been teaching myself cleaning, lubrication and adjustment of the shutters and repair of problematic film transport and double-interlock mechanisms.

I'm always seeking junk cameras from which to scavenge shutters and other irreplaceable parts. But all too frequently, what I have bought on eBay as "parts" cameras proved to be cameras that I could easily restore to operational status.

I probably will resell these cameras one at a time. But not unless and until and I get any such camera in more or less original working order.

So. What specialized segment of the RFF forums ought I to turn to?

Arnold Harris
Mount Horeb WI USA
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Old 01-02-2007   #2
Silva Lining
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Hi Arnold

Wow 61 Vitessa T's! I thought I was doing well with my Vitessa T and the full range of lenses! I love the camera though and particularly the Skoparet 35mm lens. I generally use Black and White film in mine, but have always loved the images the camera produces.

I am a bit of a Voigtlander fan and have one of most of the models from the 1920's onwards. My favourite Voigtlander is the Vitessa T (Hence my Avatar) but I also like the folding Vitessas and a 1936 Voigtlander Rangefinder folder.

Have you ever considered any other Voigtlanders and what is it that attracted you so much the Vitessa T?

Silva
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Old 01-02-2007   #3
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Arnold, welcome! That's an extremely impressive number of one camera -- I wonder if anyone else on this forum has anywhere near that many of any one camera -- working or not?

I think we'd all be very interested in seeing pictures you've taken with this camera and lenses, so those would be of general interest to the forum. If you're thinking of selling any cameras or lenses, the Classifieds would be the place to go. (I'd love a complete T set myself.) And, if you have some repair expertise to impart, that's an item of general interest for us all as well.
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Old 01-07-2007   #4
ArnoldHarris
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Silva and KoNikon,

Thank you for the compliments. Some time in 2007, I intend to digitize my slide collection, much of which dates back almost 36 years, Then I hope to learn how to use PhotoShop to do color restoration. I'm told this is all useful and possible with Ektachrome slides and similar film. Assuming achievement of all of the above, I will select what I think are some of my better photographs and post them to RFF.

One photograph I may add will be one that I will take with a digital camera some time this spring. It will show all these cameras lined up in rows, with their lenses, lens caps, filters, Turnit rangefinders and about 25-30 "eveready" leather carrying cases in various states of repair.

I have no idea whether mine is the largest private collection of a single make and model of camera. I think I mentioned earlier that I stayed strictly with Vitessa-Ts partly because I like them and partly because I thought it would be easier to learn expertly to service a single make and model of camera, and to have a ready source of spare parts.

I already have done some work correcting film transport and shutter cocking/release problems. And I've learned some useful stuff about disassembly and reassembly.

Now I'm waist-deep in shutter disassembly and re-assembly, which will seem endlessly complex until I master it. I have two cameras which came from eBay auctions in pieces. They seem seem to me to represent a good opportunity to learn shutter shutter CLAs and related work. Actually, a few parts were missing from each of these two shutters. Unless I can purchase these parts as spares from an old collection of repairmens' Synchro-Compur and Compur shutters parts boxes, I may have to combine what I have into a single workable shutter and keep the rest of the assemblies for other camera repair projects.

One of the considerations that bothered me earlier about Vitessa-Ts is the selenium exposure meter built into this camera model. Selenium cells are supposed to weaken with time. But upon examination of all these 60 or so cameras, all of which left the factory beween 1956 and (I think) 1960, show only 2-3 of them have dead exposure meters, and nearly all of the rest have exposure meter needles that all but snap to attention and salute when they are exposed to any kind of light.

So I now think that moisture may have more to do with corrupting the selenium cell than light exposure over time. I also have read on other forums that camera rebuilders have successfully restored micro-wattage output from the selenium cell by cleaning them thoroughly with acetone, and in some case by re-soldering the small connections between the selenium cell, the resistor and the galvanometer. In any case, if all that fails, I have learned that Magnetronics in the UK can cut and fit new selenium cells for cameras.

One addtional task I hope to accomplish is to write up a small but easy to read manual for clearing, lubricating and repairing the inner works of Vitessa-Ts, and publish these segments in various forums as a series of service types.

One other item about the Vitessa-T series I haven't discussed very much and that is information about lenses. Other than removing filter mount ring dents with a standard tool that I bought and practiced with, I know next to nothing about the insides of interchangeable lenses, including how to repair problems such as element separation of spots on lens coatings. But my instincts tell me that the screw-in mail elements in these lenses probably are as interchangeable as the entire lens units.

Anyway, I look forward to getting back to RFF on any and all of the above as I proceed.

Arnold Harris
Mount Horeb WI
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Old 01-07-2007   #5
Silva Lining
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArnoldHarris

Anyway, I look forward to getting back to RFF on any and all of the above as I proceed.

Arnold Harris
Mount Horeb WI
Arnold, I for one look forward to you future updates! Your post has already led to me taking my Vitessa T out with me instead of my R3M! I'll post some pics once I get round to developing them!

Silva
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Old 01-07-2007   #6
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Hi Arnold. You have T's only? I'm longing for some time for an L / ultron. Although it doesn't change lenses, I like the barn doors as solution for obtaining a portable camera.
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Old 01-07-2007   #7
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Welcome to RFF, Arnold! That's an impressive concentration of attention on one model. I am not a collector, though stuff seems to accumulate, and I don't have any more than 2 of any one specific model.

Of course RFF doesn't offer extensive discussions on Vitessas or Compur shutters, but I hope you'll enjoy the broader fora foci...
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Old 11-02-2008   #8
neilsadwelkar
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My father had a Voigtlander Vitessa T which he (presumably) bought as a student at Harvard in the 60s. Almost all my childhood pictures are shot by this camera.

I still have it here in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) India. And it still works. The meter still seems to work. And one of these days I'm going to load a film and try shooting pictures with it.

I visit Amsterdam once a year, and London more often. Was there a month ago. And I'm in Vegas every year in April. (No, I don't gamble, I come there to attend a Broadcast show. Yeah right!)

If any of you Voigltander enthusiasts are around these parts, let me know. I'd love to show this old but totally working relic to anyone who's enthusiastic about it.

Neil B Sadwelkar
Mumbai, India.
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Old 11-12-2008   #9
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Can't wait to see some of the shots you've taken with the cameras! We had a Vitessa here at the store last year about this time. The one where the front sorta clamshell opens and the lens pops out. I have to admit it was the coolest camera I had ever seen. I am sorta kicking myself now for not buying it. It must have sat here for months. I never even shot a roll through it... Ah well. Maybe another will show up!

I'm starting to develop a weak spot for old funny cameras like these. I mean not only are they of great quality, but the are just COOL!!! Who need's a Nikon FM2 when these exist!
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Old 11-12-2008   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuubL View Post
Hi Arnold. You have T's only? I'm longing for some time for an L / ultron. Although it doesn't change lenses, I like the barn doors as solution for obtaining a portable camera.
Welcome on the forum Arnold and congrats for such a collection. As Chris above I'm curious to see some photos you took with your vitessas.
I have one vitessa with ultron 50/2 which I enjoy using regularly; it's a great pocketable solid camera, with a fast and sharp lens.

Huubl, the camera can easily be brought in the pocket of any trousers!

Ciao
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Old 11-12-2008   #11
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Old 04-19-2010   #12
southman81
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Hi there!
Iīm fighting right now with my vitessa T shutter problem...
The camera is in exellent shape, but i think it was stored in the leather case for too many time. The shutter leaves are like frozen, first i try with some solvent, the shutter work for a while, but when the solvent drys, leaves stuck again, so i start the long and windy road to disarm the little thing.
After a few hours, i finally get into the "compur" heart, and i see that everything seems to be in place. With a little of light oil, i lubricate the shutter mecanism (exept the metal leaves of course) And the shutter turns alive!!
So hoping this last for at least a few years...
Donīt want to have this experience again any time soon!
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Old 04-19-2010   #13
Brian Sweeney
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Well Done! Not many people would disassemble one of these cameras.

I adjusted the Rangefinder on my Vitessa N, and that was a trick. The Vitessa T has never given a problem.
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Old 04-19-2010   #14
radi(c)al_cam
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Dear Arnold,

welcome here.
I' also a T-owner, but just one copy.
BTW, I notice about my Skoparet the same effect which is often seen inside the Rokkor-M 28mm. Is this common or just my copy of the Skoparet?

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Not bad at all -- in one of its donjons my village has a Unicorn-Museum...
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Old 05-03-2012   #15
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Mr Arnold Harris, are you still here? are you still busy with your shutter disassembly and re-assembly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArnoldHarris View Post
...I'm waist-deep in shutter disassembly and re-assembly, which will seem endlessly complex until I master it...One addtional task I hope to accomplish is to write up a small but easy to read manual for clearing, lubricating and repairing the inner works of Vitessa-Ts, and publish these segments in various forums as a series of service types...I look forward to getting back to RFF on any and all of the above as I proceed...
i tried some search on the web for repair info regarding Vitessa T and everytime it led to your posts (here and kyphoto.com)

i am sure i am not the only one to look forward to your updates.

Best regards
pinkarmy
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