Voigtlander Vito BL

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Voigtlander Vito BL

After the Vito B, Voigtlander followed with a similar body camera, with an added light meter, as the Vito BL. And, as with the Vito B on its four models, there were two models under the same name. The early model had a rectangular window on top, with a needle over a zebra crossing and a reference table. The camera I have, the second model, has an intimidating round dial, a Bertram Bewi Automat meter. I take it that the early model had a short run, as I have not seen any passing by or offered for sale.

The camera is a direct descendant of the Vito B II, with a similar height and a large and bright viewer with parallax marks. Lenses were the same as offered with the Vito B. About there the similarities end. The camera is heavy, 650 gr, compared to the Vito B 500 gr. 23oz vs. 18oz. Not sure what they added there.

The camera has an impressive shutter speed range from 60 seconds (!) to /300. The shutter speeds and the F stops are locked together in a set EV combination that is guided by the meter.

To use the meter, first set the film speed against the red dot in front of the dial. Aim the camera, and press the button at the back fascia under the meter dial. A hovering black dot will determine the EV and the speed options against the F stops. It takes getting used to it, assumingly cutting-edge technology at the time. To enable the speed/aperture change, dial the F stop ring, holding the protruding serrated ears.

Good to know

  • As with the Vito B, the lever pulls the film, which cocks the shutter as the perforation goes over a cog. If there is no film, the shutter will not fire.
  • The timer is on the same lever as the synch settings, marked ‘V’.
  • To rewind, pull backward the serrated lever at the left, just under the fascia. The rewind knob will pop up.

This model was the first of many metered compact cameras by Voigtlander, having a good run for a decade.

List number 206
Brand Voigtlander
Model Vito BL
Manual Butkus
Value At camdex.ca
Format 35mm
Introduced 1956
Country Germany
Qty made
Initial price 198
Currency DM
Type Viewfinder
Body material Metal
Mode Manual
Weight 650 gr,  Body with lens
Class average weight 460 gr,  Body with lens
ASA range 12-800
Kit lens 3.5/50
Lens make Color Skopar
Filter size 30mm
Lens mount Fixed
Mount size
Shutter Leaf
Shutter make Prontor SVS
Light meter Selenium, external
Winder Lever
Lock No
Speeds 60/30/15/8/4/B – 1-300
Mirror N/A
Viewer Viewfinder
DOF preview No
Exposure lock No
Exposure compensation No
Shoe Cold
External sync X/M
Sync speed
Timer Yes, mechanical
Battery, original N/A
Battery, replacement N/A
Battery voltage N/A
Integral flash None
Service / repair links See camerlog.com
More 35 MMC


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