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120 film RF Folders 120/220 Format Folding Rangefinders, including the various classic Zeiss Ikontas, Voigtlander Bessas, and their Ruskie copies.

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Voigtlander Bessa I 2nd Version
Old 01-18-2017   #1
DFigueira
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Voigtlander Bessa I 2nd Version

Hi guy's,

I know this camera isn't a RF but what I'm going to ask is to turn it into a rangefinder.

Basically this camera is the first one that I've partially CLA'd for fun.
But now I want to use the camera but it would help me to have a rangefinder (I have some perception problems and guessing range isn't really for me).

My question here is, would any "cheapish" rangefinder do for this camera or there are some things I must look for?

And I have another question. Since this camera is really old, the camera had some problems that I did to "resolve" in a short time but that in a long way, I know it won't go away.
This camera, from what I recall, has been on the leather case since the late 50's. Aside from the smell, the leather that needs to be restored (I have no experience so I skipped on this), the lens dirtyness and the need to be cleaned, the camera was In shape to get a roll into it except for one thing - rust.

The rust has attacked the frame itself on the inside (where the film gooes by) and the shutter mechanism. On the frame, It was simple to clean it, oil it to preserve and paint it with an anti-rust paint. The problem is the shutter mechanism. It works, but it has a lot of rust around parts. It won't break now (and I oiled it to preserve too), but since I won't open the upper plate (Scared to break this), I know that in the future, either the pin or the spring will break.

What could I do to restore this part? Do I really need to open the upper plate?
And the leather? It's really really dry. Can I "revive" it or I need to change it?

Thank you very much!
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Old 01-19-2017   #2
johnnyrod
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Any auxiliary rangefinder will do (they go for about 10GBP/15USD/12Euro on the Bay of Pigs) but try to get one with markings that match the focus scale as much as possible. e.g. if the focus scale marks are 2m, 4m, 6m, then an RF marked at 2m, 3m, 5m is a bit of a pain.

re. cleaning, this is a Compur shutter? Lots of information on here and on the internet. No guarantee things will break inside but if the lenses are dirty and you think the mechanism isn't working very well then you're going to have trouble taking good pictures. Can you post a pic of your camera/shutter, for info?
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Old 01-20-2017   #3
ozmoose
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First off, have you asked yourself if restoring this relic of a long bygone era is worth all the time,effort and likely and likely a goodly infusion of money, you will have to put into it?

From your description, I would rate it as pretty much a basket case.

Bessa Is fetch maybe US$25-$50 on 'Bay of Pigs'. They are basically 1930s designed cameras,admittedly by Voigtlander, a respected marque. The bellows may be full of holes. Look for fungus, grunge, haze and possibly malfunctioning blades in the lens.Shutter speeds will most likely be wonky. And as you say, rust galore.

Unless the lens on it is a Skopar or a Color Skopar, I would say not worth the effort. Okay, at the very least a Heliar. If it's an Apo-Lanthar, quick! send it to me, I'll refund your P&P, give you US$100 and throw in a bottle of good whisky to sweeten the deal. Joking... But at the very least, a Skopar.

Me, I would give it a good basic clean, and then put it on a shelf, for display.

Now, if you were to come across a Bessa II...

Anyway, my two cents' worth. Whatever you decide, my good wishes to you for the best of luck with the job that lies ahead.
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Old 01-20-2017   #4
Pioneer
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I believe Voigtlander themselves manufactured an external rangefinder that would fit the accessory shoe. That is probably your best option.

I say restore it if you wish. Not seeing the camera, we can't be certain, but a lot of people have restored similar cameras more for the experience and the love of the equipment than for any hope of financial gain. Rust is not the end of the world and can certainly be cleaned up. Likewise the Compur shutters are quite repairable or, if it is too far gone to work with, replaced relatively easily. Bellows are available new and lenses can be cleaned.

The Color Skopar, Color Heliar and Apo-Lanthar lenses are well known but the three element Vaskar is an excellent lens in its own right. I am actually a bit partial to the Vaskar since it was frequently mounted in a Prontor or Prontor II shutter, which for me are much easier to clean. And, of course, it is usually a very inexpensive entry into the fine Voigtlander folding cameras.
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Old 01-20-2017   #5
KoNickon
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I agree with Pioneer about this camera -- the parts are fixable and restorable. And it's worth repairing, even if it's "only" the Vaskar version.

If you are uncomfortable with opening up the shutter, I understand. The question is why you think it will break in the future. Do all the speeds work currently? Do you feel like you are forcing things when you charge the shutter? It would be good to know which shutter you have -- either the Compur or Prontor is a good shutter, and lots of people here can give you advice about servicing them.
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Old 01-20-2017   #6
johnnyrod
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Lynn's Vaskar lens shot
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...postcount=2609
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Old 01-22-2017   #7
DFigueira
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Sorry for not saying anything nor posting any photos but I've been away from home and only today (night) I've been with the camera again.

It's a vaskar and a prontor-s shutter.

Well, the camera is working in excelent order, except for the self timer.
With all this, I've found someone yesterday that works with these type of cameras and wish to see the camera and to teach me how to repair it - of course, it's worth it.
Rust around these parts are very easy to clean but easier to appear, since it's close to the sea.
Anyhow, if he say's that with time-money, it won't be worth to spend time and products in repairing it, it will go next to the first camera I've used on the shelf. With a nice flash with a bulb in it, I think it will go great.

See you all in a few days with news about it!

BTW: Has anyone restored leather for this type of cameras? I recall one time I saw that older leather should be cared differently than new leather. Around pre-60's and after that. Is this true?
And what care should I give to it? Or sometimes is easier to buy leather and cut as I want?
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