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Voigtlander Vito Cameras - Vito BL

by Stephanie Marriott

The Vito BL is based on the Vito B, with the addition of a light-meter. The camera was introduced in 1956, at which time it was fitted with a Bewi-Automat meter. This is operated by pressing a button on the camera back and pointing the camera at the subject. After about a second, a shutter-speed/aperture reading can be taken.

Later versions of the camera have an exposure value scale and are fitted with the Bewi-Automat or a Light Scale Exposure Meter which has a meter needle display. This display can be misleading, as the reading is indicated by the end of the needle, which will rest in one of the alternating black and white zones. The zone should be followed back to the scale and the reading taken; black zones have numbers and white zones can be inferred from the numbers on either side. In the illustration in the 1957 advertisement, the reading is '10'. Although part of the needle is over the '11', 11 is not the correct reading. The meter has no provision for adjustment according to film speed, and an engraved table is provided to convert the figure given to an EV value which can be used to set the shutter and lens. This table covers speeds 6 - 200 ASA.

In 1957, two versions of the camera were available, one with the exposure value scale, which was fitted with the f/2.8 Color-Skopar and 9-speed Prontor SVS (cost c£36) and one with no exposure value scale which offered a choice of f/3.5 or f/2.8 Color-Skopar.

By 1958, a brightline finder had been added to the list of options.

The camera has a die-cast alloy body covered in leather; metal parts are finished in satin chrome and black enamel. An incident light attachment can be fitted to the honeycomb plastic meter front. The camera has lever wind, delayed action, a cable release thread in the shutter release and a frame counter which shows the number of unused frames. As with other similar models, the exposure value scale gives exposures which are obtained using "B" in green. By 1959, the prices were about £37 (with f2.8 lens), £33 (with f3.5 lens and brightline finder) and £31 (with f3.5 lens and no brightline finder). The camera appears to have been discontinued in the early 1960s.

1957 advertisement for the Vito BL

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