The Camera Site

Voigtländer Company, Germany


Old and Famous

Voigtländer is one of the oldest camera makers in the world. Foundation of the company was carried out in the year 1756. Optical manufacturing begun 1807 by Johann Friedrich Voigtländer, the establisher.
German name of the company before the "globalization" was Voigtländer & Sohn AG, Braunschweig,Germany

 I bought this Voigtländer Vito CL camera in Poland from the flea market. It is in extremely good condition. Only thing which I could hope to be otherwise is the lens. It could have been Color Skopar which is considered better. Vito CL is one of the range of Vito C cameras which were manufactured by the Voigtlander company of Braunschweig, Germany.  The C series was a redesigned and restyled camera range which first appeared in 1960 and included many of the features of the Vito B range. There were four models in the series which covered a variety of specifications of lens and shutter combinations in association with exposure control ranging from simple manual to semi-automatic operation.

General Features

 The Vito CL is a neatly designed, rigid 35mm camera, designed for general amateur photography.  It is of streamlined design with recessed controls and fitted with a good quality lens although as I mentioned, Lanthar is preferred second to The famous Color Skopar

 The camera is designed to use standard 35 mm film of up to 36 exposures and is manufactured from die-cast alloy with a satin chrome finish and covered in black grain leather.

 This Vito CL is fitted with a three element 50 mm Color-Lanthar lens. Focusing range is from one meter to infinity and the focusing mount also carries three zone marks as an aid to  rapid focusing.  The maximum aperture is f2.8 and the shutter is Prontor LK leaf shutter.  Shutter speeds are 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and B, and it includes a self timer and flash synchronization . The shutter is cocked by the film transport lever. Shutter release button is mounted on the camera front. Selenium cell exposure meter is match needle type. The viewfinder is direct vision optical type and it is outlined by a suspended frame which has near focus marks for parallax compensation. Camera dimensions are 130 x 83 x 70 mm (L x H x D) and it weighs 503 g.

About the Company

The History of VOIGTLÄNDER (©.

1756 Foundation of the company by Johann Friedrich Voigtländer in Vienna
1763 Protection-decree by empress Maria Theresia
1797 Authority of the country for fabrication of measuring devices
1807 Johann Friedrich Voigtländer extends optical manufacturing
1815 Imperial privilege for periscopic spectacles
1823 Imperial privilege for "dual-theatre-perspective" (lorgnettes)
1840 Shortly after publication of the invention of photography in 1839, VOIGTLÄNDER
launches the first analytical calculated lens in the world (Prof. Petzval).
With it, from this time on, photography became workable. Instead of 20-30 minutes
now only 1-2 minutes exposure time!
The first metal camera in the world is produced!
1849 Foundation of the branch office in Braunschweig, at that time the central junction of the European rail network.
1962 Completion of the 10 000th Photo-Lens
1868 Peter Wilhelm Friedrich Voigtländer is ennobled by the Austrian Emperor and received a heritable knighthood
1898 Transformation of the family business into a stock corporation
1925 Schering Ltd., chemical factory and manufacturer of photographic material (films) acquires majority of shares.
From this time on, the photochemical products of Schering Ltd. are sold with the brand VOIGTLÄNDER.
Expansion of series production starts.
1930 The 6x9-cm-roll-film-camera BESSA captures the market
1931 The 6x9-cm-roll-film reflex-camera BRILLANT increases the success
1937 Completion of the 2 000 000th lens
1939 The 35-mm compact camera VITO is a bestseller right from the start
1953 The 35-mm compact camera VITESSA sets standards by means of rapid film transport
1955 Completion of the 4 000 000th lens
1956 200th anniversary of the company
1925 Schering Ltd. sells its interests at the VOIGTLÄNDER AD to the Carl-Zeiss-Foundation 1958 The 35-mm compact reflex camera BESSAMATIC is put on the market
1959 The VOIGTLÄNDER ZOOMAR, the first universal lens in the world with changeable focal distance for 35-mm compact cameras caused a world-wide sensation
1960 The DYNAMATIC, the first fully automatic 35-mm compact camera in the world with fully automatic programmed shutter hits the headlines
1963 The VITRONA is the first 35-mm compact camera in the world with built-in electronic
flash and sets with it new standards
1965 Foundation of the Zeiss-Ikon/VOIGTLÄNDER - marketing company
1972 The Carl-Zeiss-concern terminates out of economical reasons the production of the cameras in consumer price-levels because of the Japanese competition1973 Rollei takes over VOIGTLÄNDER and produces in own factories in Singapore and Braunschweig/Uelzen VOIGTLÄNDER products again. With an own sales organization, the VOIGTLAENDER Ltd., a complete photo-equipment range is sold.
1981 225 years VOIGTLÄNDER
1982 With the ruin of Rollei VOIGTLÄNDER is passed over to Plusfoto GmbH & Co
1996 240 years VOIGTLÄNDER
1997 VOIGTLÄNDER is purchased by RINGFOTO GmbH & ALFO Marketing KG
2006 250 years VOIGTLÄNDER

©2004 Reijo Lauro