Small, sweet little scale-focus classic from Voigtlander. One of those cameras that you really need to hold in your hot little hand to appreciate. My sample is the 'budget' version, with 4-speed Pronto shutter instead of the better Prontor-SVS shutter. A later model (BS) has an oversized viewfinder that while more practical, in my opinion throws off the 'look' of this sleek little package.
The Vito B sports the same semi-legendary Color-Skopar found on the everpopular Vito II and other Voigtlander classics. It is a sharp Tessar style lens, occasionally found in the faster 50/2.8 configuration. f8 and better is quite impressive. The shutter is very smooth and silent even in this model, and with the scale focus this becomes a great stealth camera.
Notable features: manual frame counter setting, the counter is subtractive (counts backward) so after loading set it to the number of exposures and let it count down to zero. Also the shutter is locked until you put a film in the camera, sometimes that will allow you to get a seemingly 'broken' one as a bargain.
Shutter went 'click'without opening, even with a film in (I have a scrap roll I use to test shutter/wind on my new acquisitions). Then I noticed that the self-timer was cocked, and gently but firmly persuaded it back into position. The shutter clicked and after that all seems fine. This is not uncommon with older mechanical self-timers, which are governed by notoriously weak springs, as I've mentioned elsewhere.
Tips & Tricks
Film loading: pull the tab under the camera down to unlock the flip-down door, which then allows the back to open. Put your film in, wind on, and set the frame counter to 24 or 36. Close it up and enjoy. To rewind, pop up the rewind knob hidden beneath the film speed reminder by pressing the little latch on the side that looks like it opens the back, but doesn't.
Like its predecessor the Vito II it's a scale focus camera, but they made zone focusing easy for you - when at f5.6 or smaller, you can set to the triangle on the distance scale for objects in the 8-15 foot range, or the circle for objects in the range of 15 feet to infinity. Otherwise you can learn to estimate distance (not too difficult with a little practice) or use an accessory rangefinder. Some Vito II models have an accessory shoe to make it easier to use such a device.
- Living Image has a blurb on the Vito B
- Nice Page at Marriott World, very informative
- Another informative site at MacPherson's classic cameras page, you have to dig around but it's worth checking out