James's Camera Collection: Voigtländer Bessy AS

Voigtländer Bessy AS West Germany Company History Owner's Manual Cartridge
Voigtländer Bessy AS
Camera type: Cartridge
Film type: 126 cartridge
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1966
Approx. original price: TBD
Approx. street value: $10 for curiosity value

Voigtländer jumped on the 126 cartridge format with their Bessy series of cameras. This is the AS variant, which differs from the S mainly by having a swing-out, aimable reflector for peanut flash bulbs in addition to a socket for Magicubes, whereas the S only uses Magicubes. The K and AK look identical to the S model to me. It's all very confusing.

Kodak brought out the Instamatic series to capture the mass-market point-n-shooters who the 35mm format but didn't want the problems of loading film, jams, accidental exposures, etc. The cartridge eliminated most of those problems, and other camera makers offered their own 126 format cameras.

Almost all of them are like this: plastic and very simple. This camera at least has a focusable lens (a 38mm f2.8 Color-Lanthar), but there are no other controls. There's a photocell meter but I'm not sure if it actually varies the exposure or simply decides whether to use the flash.

I paid something like $10 for it because I like Voigtländers, but I've never run film through it.

©opyright by James Ollinger. All Rights Reserved.
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