Ugly Vitessa

In 2014 I visited the local camera swap meet. One of the booths there was run by local high-school photography class members. I was pretty late for the swap meet, there was not much left. But I did find one tattered leather case in the back of a junk box. I lifted it out of the box, expecting it to house an Argus or Kodak brownie. But inside was probably the saddest Voigtlander Vitessa I have ever seen. The chrome was badly pitted, and there was green corrosion in many places. The viewfinder was so dirty i could barely see through.

Voigtlander Vitessa
Ugly Vitessa

I previously owned a Vitessa in nice shape. I sold it because comparing it to a Retina IIA, the Vitessa is heavy, bulky, and awkward to load film. But this previous experience allowed me to open up this ugly Vitessa and reveal its inner beauty. To my surprise I found a glimmering Ultron f2. Equally surprising was the fact that the shutter and film advance seemed to work. The slower shutter speeds were lagging behind what they should be, but that is fairly normal for vintage cameras.
So I offered $20. They drove a hard bargain and got me to go to $25. Hey it was for a good cause right?

I brought the Vitessa home and cleaned it up. I was able to remove most of the corrosion, but there’s nothing to be done for the pitted chrome. So I loaded it up with Ilford FP4 and took it for a spin.

The results are fantastic!


Miranda in November

Miranda in the Fall


Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge


Oscar Schmidt Resonator