I got this recently and love it so it’s jumped to the top of my list for reviewing.

This is a folding camera (similar to the Kodak Six-20) but has a built in rangefinder for accurate focussing.

The Bessa RF camera had a very long production run so not sure of the exact age of this one.  It has a  1/400 Compur-Rapid shutter and has the Skopar 3.5/10.5 cm lens.

Make Model Film/format Year Lens Shutter Aperture
Voigtlander Bessa RF 120 Folding Rangefinder c1940 1:3.5 10.5mm T, B, 1, ½ 1/5/ 1/10,1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 and 1/400 sec F3.5-22

I found a great guy for fixing that and Jurgen Kreckel at http://www.certo6.com/ was able to service the camera and replace the bellows with an original used set of the period at a very reasonable price.  He also sells good cameras.  I shipped it off and got it back in good time so now I have a perfect useable camera.
I have been looking for one of these for a while and picked it up for a good price on that auction site, the bellows had a tear which I guess put most people off.

I immediately took it out for a test drive and I am very happy with the results. It has two viewfinders one for the rangefinder the other for composing.  Focussing this via the large knob on the top, winding on is underneath.  you can do two sizes with the appropriate mask (which I don’t have) 6×9 and 6×4.5.  There are two windows to allow winding for the respective sizes.  There is also a small knob to move a built in mask into the viewfinder to help with composing should you be shooting in the smaller size.  There is no double exposure protection so this is possible if like me you don’t pay attention.  It opens automatically when you press the release button and retracts when you push the release bar below/in front of the lens; all works smoothly.  There is a flip down filter holder right in front of the lens; I don’t have a filter for this (yet) but it seems a convenient feature.

There are many reasons for liking this camera; it’s a voigtlander and I am a fan of those as the build and optics are of the highest quality (i now have 6), It’s medium format so nice big neg’s, it’s a folder and that makes it easy to carry around, it’s a rangefinder so focussing is pretty accurate.  One other thing that makes this easy to use is unlike most folders the shutter release is available close to hand at the operating end of the camera.  Most folders have a small lever on the lens at the front but this has a nice linkage to a lever just where you want it.

Pictures from Downtown LA shot on Ilford Delta 400

 

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