A classic car photographed with a classic camera. The Porsche 356 Speedster taken a classic camera, the Voigtländer Bessa RF, and its uncoated Skopar 105mm f/3.5 lens:

(From: Jonathan Barrett Adams)

I had the luck to find one on a flea market for EUR 40 (the camera, I mean;). Hopefully it is still working, as I intended to use it. It’s loaded with Portra 160 now (for 20% of the cost of the camera). 120 film for 6x9, 56x88 mm^2 frame size to be presize (resulting in 5.7 times as big frames as with 35mm film).

I didn’t expect to use much of my own photos on this blog (and still don’t do), but let’s give it a try now..

(From: Clemens Lee)

(From: Clemens Lee)

(From: Clemens Lee)

2016-07-31, with Sony A7 and Contax 28mm C/Y, plus extension ring for the last two shots.

On The Online Darkroom has a fun post about the RF. Bruce Robbins talks a bit about the challenge of using the tiny viewfinder. Personally I thought the photo was on purpose this way.

(From: Bruce Robbins aka The Online Darkroom, with Skopar 105mm f/3.5)

I'd just finished having a moan about the Voigtlander's viewfinder which leads me neatly on to the photo at the top of this post. It's a shot of the stairs in my house which I thought looked quite appealing in the morning sunshine the other day. It was handheld at something like 1/25th of a second, slower than I would have liked but setting the tripod up on the stairs would have been a right pain.  
What you see isn't what you get

I like it but you've maybe noticed the composition isn't up to my usual peerless standards (ahem!). That's because the bloody awful viewfinder suffers from bloody awful parallax. Hence the rather large expanse of not-a-lot on the left hand side of the frame. I could have cropped it, of course, but then I'd have nothing to write about. Actually, the framing isn't too bad and I reckon I can just about get away with it.


The black triangle is actually the edge of the frame. All four corners are shaped like that but I haven't looked to see if it's by accident or design. If the viewfinder had been better or there had been a cold shoe where I could fit an external finder I'd consider hanging onto it. I wouldn't like to glue a shoe on top because it's actually worth a fair amount.

(From: Bruce Robbins, with iPhone)

Seeing the photo with the look through the viewfinder it reminds me, I see even much less on my camera. Must find this switch to move from 4.5 back to 9 format :).

The Bessa RF came with three different lenses, named Helomar, Skopar, and Heliar (cost was RM 147, 167, 187 respectively for each, as can be seen on this old advertisement from 1936 below).

(From: cameras@tigin.de)

The Skopar is a Tessar like design. The cheaper Helomar design has been used previously for the viewing lens of the Voigtländer Superb TLR (twin lens reflex).

After the war only the Heliar lens has been used, in the last year of production in 1949 even coated (according to Schöbels Voigtländer Archiv). But I could not find any example picture with the coated Color Heliar and the RF.

With Helomar Lens

(From: Steve from HK, with Kodak Ektar 100)

(From: Steve from HK, with Kodak Ektar 100)

(From: Steve from HK, with Kodak Ektar 100)

With Skopar Lens

(From: Koji from Tokyo)

(From: Thomas Bayes)

(From: Nasir Hamid)

(From: nathan last photography, with Skopar 105mm f/3.5 and Fuji Acros 100)

(From: tonicito)

(From: tonicito)

With Heliar Lens

(From: Xiaole Ju)

(From: P3tr)

(From: Steve M.)

And with Lens Unkown

(From: J-Works)

(From: J-Works)

There is no dedicated group on Flickr for the Bessa RF, but you can still search after Bessa RF tags.

Bonus: Color Skopar

If you want the Skopar coated, you have to go with the Bessa I and II. Have a look here what that coated lens, now name Color Skopar, can do for you:

(From: Richard Turenne, with Voigtländer Bessa I, Color Skopar 105mm f/3.5, and Kodak Portra 160)