James's Camera Collection: Voigtländer Automatic I

Voigtländer Automatic I W. Germany Other Voigtlander Cameras 35mm cameras
Voigtlander Vito Automatic I
Camera type: Rangefinder
Approx. date of manufacture: 1962
Approx. original price: $75
Approx. street value: $25

I am very fortunate with this camera: Modern Photography tested it in March of 1962, so I actually have some solid information about it. I am going to quote the test in its entirety below. Mike Butkus has the original instruction manual in pdf format, and that helps as well.

The Modern Photography review was written by Beverly Ravera-Chion:

The Voigtländer Vito is a completely automatic 35mm camera featuring a self-setting shutter and aperture mechanism. It has no rangefinder or reflex focusing, so you must guess the distance and use the footage scale. With the Prontor-Lux shutter, when you set the exposure index, you also set the shutter speed—EI 160 sets the camera to 1/500th sec., EI 100 to 1/125th, EI25 to 1/60th and EI 10 to 1/30. The meter then selects the proper lens opening between ƒ/2.8 and ƒ/22 when you press the shutter release. For flash, all apertures can be set manually at a shutter-speed of 1/30 sec.

Voigtlander Vito Automatic advertisementThe automatic shutter mechanism of the Prontor-Lux shutter gives no indication of the actual lens aperture setting at which you are shooting, although in bright sunlight with an EI 160 speed film you can be sure that you are shooting at your smallest aperture and fastest shutter speed.

We used the Vito outdoors with both black-and-white and color film. The exposures produced by this Voigtländer were all acceptable except for backlt scenes. As with most electric eye cameras, the automatic mechanism can be fooled by extraneous light outside the scene, thereby causing underexposure.

The low-light warning system situated inside the viewfinder warning system situated inside the viewfinder shows green when the light is adequate and red when inadequate. If you wear glasses, however, it's hard to see since you can't get your eye close enough to the viewfinder.

The frameline is adequate but lacks sufficient contrast between it and the viewfinder image under bright sunlit conditions.

Enlargements of 8x10 in. from black-and-whites made with this Vito camera were acceptably sharp from corner to corner, indicating that the lens was more than good enough for making snapshots.

Modern Photography magazine camera test: March 1962

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

©opyright by James Ollinger. All Rights Reserved.