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Voigtlander Vito Cameras - Vito II

by Stephanie Marriott

The Vito II was introduced in 1949, a period which still saw import restrictions in force between Great Britain and Germany. There are many variations of this camera, partly due to the number of changes which were made during the life of this model and partly due to the number of options available.

When it first came out, the camera was fitted with a Color Skopar f/3.5 lens in an X-synchronised Prontor S or Compur Rapid shutter. The film transport uses a more familiar sprocket feed, replacing the feeler spindle which features in the original Vito, but in most other respects it resembles the Vito upon which it is based, including the use of a release bar on the camera front panel which moves into the operating position when the camera is opened. The filter mount is 29 mm. push-on.

In 1950 the release bar was replaced by a release button, although bar releases were shown on cameras advertised as late as 1954 and British advertisements in 1953 describe the button release as "new".

In 1951 a fixed take-up spool was fitted and a pop-up rewind knob introduced.

By 1954 an accessory shoe had been added: a 1954 advertisement explains that the accessory shoe is fitted to the four-speed Pronto shutter model and an add-on shoe is supplied free with the eight-speed Prontor-S shutter model. By the end of 1954, the eight speed Prontor SV with XM flash synchronisation is being advertised, and the following year it is referred to in more familiar terms; the Prontor SVS.

Advertisements for this camera make much of the fact that a half-used film may be removed from the camera and replaced at a later date to be finished. This is possible because on the back of the camera there is a lever which releases the double-exposure interlock. This makes it possible to advance a previously-exposed length of film without making any exposures; the frame counter advances and it was recommended that two blank frames should be allowed before taking more pictures. The double exposure release lever conceals the wheel which is used to reset the frame counter.

The distance scale has a triangle at 11 ft. and a circle at 33 ft., which are intended for snapshots. It is recommended that the lens is stopped down to f/5.6 at least, and that subjects closer than 16 feet are focused using the triangle, while those further than 16 feet away are focused using the circle.

There is a separate lever to tension the shutter. Note that when tensioning the shutter, the lever is pulled up if it is a Compur-Rapid or Synchro Compur shutter and down if it is a Prontor-S or Prontor-SV shutter. The Prontor shutters have a delayed action release, operated after focusing, exposure setting and tensioning the shutter. With the Prontor SV it is important to ensure that the sync. lever is set to the red dot (X) before operating the delayed action. The Compur-Rapid and Prontor-S shutters are X-sync only. The Synchro-Compur and Prontor-SV are XM sync.

Original prices for the camera vary; in 1953 the price was from about £20 for the four-speed Pronto shutter model to about £23 for the eight-speed Prontor-S model. A 1952 test report quotes the price of the Compur-Rapid model as about £37, but this could be a mis-print, or attributable to variations in purchase tax.

Advertisement from 1954

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