What's New

About Me



Fixed Lens


XTL & X-1000




Other Mamiya


Related Links

35mm Camera
Auction Prices

SLR Lenses
Auction Prices

Rest of



Mamiya 35mm

How To!

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

Your contributions
help fund this site.
Thanks for your
continued support!

My German Cameras
Most of my collection is devoted to Mamiya 35mm cameras, although I do have a modest collection of other cameras, from early Kodak folders to a beautiful old (still functional) Burke & James 8x10 View Camera. The cameras on this page were all manufactured in Germany and are currently in my collection. However, I do not have any technical data related to them, beyond what you read here.

A Brief History
The German cameras that are in my collection come from three distinct companies: Zeiss Ikon, Voigtländer and Agfa Camera-Werk. A very brief description of each follows.

Zeiss Ikon
Prior to 1926, Zeiss cameras were made by Carl Zeiss Jena, a company originally founded in 1846 for the manufacture of specialty glass lenses. In 1902, Carl Zeiss began also making cameras, and his camera company became part of Ica in 1909. The company Zeiss Ikon was formed in 1926, when Ica joined with the camera manufacturers Contessa-Nettel, Ernemann and Goerz to form a single company. After WWII, there were Zeiss factories operating in each half of divided Germany, and the trademark was much disputed. The East German Zeiss operation marketed under that name (and the name Pentacon) in eastern bloc countries. The West German operation marketed in NATO countries. Zeiss Ikon camera assembly ceased in 1972.

The original Voigtländer company was founded in 1756 as a maker of scientific instruments. Peter Wilhelm Friedrich Voigtländer, the grandson of the founder, helped develop the first mathematically computed lens (f/3.7!) in 1840, and also designed an equally incredible camera to use the lens. Camera production was a major part of the business for more than a century. Zeiss bought Voigtländer in 1956, and the production of Zeiss Ikon Voigtländer cameras ended with the demise of the Zeiss camera business in 1972. In 1997, Ringfoto GmbH acquired rights to Voigtländer and relaunched the company. They continue to market the Voigtländer Bessa-L and Bessa-RF, excellent cameras with outstanding optics certain to be sought-after collectibles in the future.

Agfa Camera-Werk
Actien Gesellschaft für Anilin Fabrikation, or Agfa, was formed in 1867. The first Agfa name on cameras, however, was not until 1873. Agfa USA joined with Ansco in 1928 and eventually became GAF. Agfa AG, the German Agfa, merged with Gavaert of Belgium in 1964.

NOTE: write to me if you have Zeiss Ikon, Voigtländer or Agfa information.

Zeiss Super Ikonta B (532/16)   Zeiss Ikon Lens in Compur Rapid Shutter    embossed Super Ikonta
Zeiss Super Ikonta B (532/16)
The cornerstone of this portion of my collection has to be this fabulous Zeiss Super Ikonta B (532-16) (above, c.1939). A single window rangefinder/viewfinder with the lens/shutter housing in black enamel (it was chrome after 1948, until 1956). It has an 8cm Carl Zeiss Jenna Tessar f/2.8 lens (serial number 2166641) in a Compur-Rapid shutter. Shutter speeds range from B, 1-1/400 and it uses 120 film. The Zeiss Ikon logo is embossed on both the front and back leather, and the words "Super Ikonta 532/16" are debossed into the leather on the back.

Zeiss Box Tengor
This inexpensive Zeiss Box Tengor 54/2 (right, c.1934-39) takes a 4.5x6cm (half frame) image on 120 film. It has an f/11 Goerz Frontar lens (with only one other f-stop adjustment, to f/22), with rotating waterhouse stops of B, T & I, and one close-up lens, controlled from the front of the camera. It has a single-speed (approx. 1/25) shutter and, surprisingly, a flash synch. Film is advanced via the diamond-shaped wind knob on the side.

Zeiss Box Tengor
Baby Bessa

Voigtländer Bessa 66
"Baby Bessa"

The Voigtländer Bessa 66 was produced in two periods; first from 1930-40 and again from 1948-50. It was available in several viewfinder combinations: an optical finder incorporated in the top housing, a folding optical finder or, like this one in my collection (left, c.1948), with a folding frame finder. This camera has a 75mm f/3.5 lens in a Prontor-II shutter. This camera has a missing "beauty" trim ring on the front lens housing, where the permanently-fitted Voigtländer Moment yellow filter mount was normally hinged. Other than that, it is in exceptional working condition.

Voigtländer Bessa 1937
The Voigtländer Bessa (right, c.1937) was a folding rollfilm camera using 120 film, usually in a 6x9 cm size, although there were some with film-aperture masks in a dual-format (4.5x6cm). It was also made in various lens/shutter combinations, including Voigtar, Vasker or Skopar lenses in Singlo, Prontor or Compur shutters. This particular camera (c.1937) was the basic 6x9cm model and only had the folding frame finder (no brilliant finder). It has a 10.5cm Voigtar f/6.3 lens in a Compur shutter.

Voigtlander Bessa 1937

Zeiss Ikon Signal Nettar
The Zeiss Ikon Signal Nettar (right, c.1949) is a modernized version of the original Nettar, which was introduced in 1933. Extremely popular in the UK, it has a body release and chrome top plate, with the squared-off finder window. It has a synthetic leather-covered aluminum body. It was also known as the Zeiss Ikon 518/16 or II(b). The Signal Nettar features double-exposure prevention, because it is impossible to release the shutter until the film is wound and the shutter set. A red signal (hence the name) also appears in an opening next to the camera body release, indicating the film is ready for picture taking. It produced 6x6cm images on 120 rollfilm and was generally sold with an f/4.5 or f/6.3 Novar coated anastigmat lens in a Velio 5-speed shutter (1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and 1/200).

Zeiss Signal Nettar
Zeiss Nettar 515

Zeiss Nettar (515)
The Zeiss Nettar (515) (c.1937-41) is a folding rollfilm camera for 6x9cm exposures on 120 film. It has a body release and a folding optical finder (that may have been optional, since there are examples without one). Best of all, it really does fold and fit into your pocket, unlike a lot of the so-called "pocket" cameras from our friends at Kodak! It came with a 10.5cm f/6.3 Zeiss Novar lens in a Vario shutter. There were four shutter speeds: B, 1/25, 1/75 and 1/200. Interestingly, it also has a PC flash sync! There are two tripod mounts, both a bit awkward to use, one in the spindle ends and another in the bellows door.

Voigtlander Bessa (1930)   Voigtlander Bessa (1930 Lens
Voigtländer Bessa (1930)
The Voigtländer Bessa was introduced in 1929. It was the first self-erecting rollfilm camera from Voigtländer, making 6x9cm images. This model, produced in 1930, is slightly smaller than the original, and has flat body ends (the original 1929 version had rounded ends). This later model also had nickel trimmed body edges and a folding frame finder, which the original lacked. It has a leatherette covered body with three-point front cell focusing (Landscape, Group and Portrait, written in German in red letters below the lens), and a 10.5cm f/6.3 Voigtar lens in an Embezet shutter.

Voigtländer Avus
A series of double-extension folding plate cameras, the Voigtländer Avus was introduced in 1914. They had a leather-covered aluminum body and a U-style lens standard with rise and shift for parallax correction. This later model (c.1930) has the brilliant finder centered over the lens, and uses an f/4.5 13.5cm Skopar lens (1 - 1/200) in a Compur shutter.

Voigtlander Avus Lens in Compur Shutter

Voigtlander Avus
Voigtländer Vitoret (D)
The Voigtländer Vitoret cameras (right, c.1962-71) were part of a series of inexpensive, basic 35mm rangefinder cameras. The first part of the series (1962-65) had the traditional Voigtländer "round" body, while the second part of the series (1966-71) had a noticably angular and "square" body. Both had uncoupled selenium exposure meters, accessory shoes, and a "countdown" film counter, showing unused exposures. Their brightline finders also had an indication for parallax correction. The early model in my collection (shown here, c.1962) has a fixed 50mm Voigtländer Lanthar f/2.8 lens in a Prontor 300 shutter.

Voigtlander Vitoret D

Voigtländer Bessamatic Deluxe
The Voigtländer Bessamatic 35mm SLR was made in several versions from 1959-69. One of several in my collection, this camera (right, c.1962) is the "Deluxe" version, which was a name used only in the US (it does not appear on the camera). It is recognizable by the small T-shaped window above the built-in selenium meter cell. The diaphragm and shutter speed were visible in the finder (in the "regular" version they were not). It has a 50mm Voigtländer Color-Skopar f/2.8 lens in a Synchro-Compur shutter. Another version, the Bessamatic m, was provided without a meter.

Bessamatic lenses were interchangeable, and reknowned for the quality of the optics. The Voigtländer Bessamatic series also has the distinction of providing the world's first SLR zoom lens, the highly-regarded 36-82mm f/2.8 Zoomar.

Voigtlander Bessamatic
Agfa Isolette

Agfa Isolette
The Agfa Isolette was a series of horizontal folding rollfilm cameras using 120 film. Prewar models had a black Trolitan plastic top. After 1945 (c.1945-50) they had a cast aluminum top. The last series (c.1950-60) had a stamped metal top.

This camera (left, the Agfa Isolette 4.5 - c.1945) has the cast aluminum top housing and an 8.5cm Auto Apotar f/4.5 lens in a Prontor II shutter.

Agfa Memo
The Agfa Memo (c.1939) was a horizontally styled folding bed camera for 24x36cm exposures on 35mm Agfa Karat cassettes (no longer available). It has a rapid advance lever on the back, and was made by Agfa Ansco in the USA. Often overlooked as an American camera because of its Agfa name (see, even I have it in "My German Cameras"), it was made in Binghampton, New York). It was made in both full- and half-frame versions, and was available with or without a flash shoe (mount only, not hot), and came with either an Agfa Memar f/3.5, 4.5 or 5.6 lens.

Agfa Memo

Go to my Russian camera page.

Go to my Kodak camera page.

©  2000-2010  R.L. Herron     All Rights Reserved.  Legal