Voigtländer Bijou

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The Bijou is a single-lens camera for 4.5x6 cm plates, made in about 1908 by Voigtländer; it is the first SLR in such a small format.[1] It is broadly box-shaped, with a slight taper toward the front. It has a ground-glass focusing screen in the top of the camera, within a folding leather hood. Unlike many larger box-form SLR cameras, it has helical focusing in the lens mount, rather than a bellows.

The camera has Voigtländer's own 10 cm f/4.5 Heliar.[1][2] An example was offered for sale at Westlicht with a Ross 4-inch f/4 Wide Angle Xpres, probably not the camera's original lens.[3]

The camera has a rotating back (to allow both horizontal and vertical photographs) and the lens is mounted in a rising front. It has a focal-plane shutter, with cloth blinds traveling vertically. The photographs of examples seen suggest this is rather simple, offering only 'Z' ('T' shutter) and 'M' ('I' shutter; an unspecified instantaneous speed) at either of two shutter slit-widths.[2]

McKeown states that in Germany, the camera was not called Bijou, but simply Miniatur-Reflex-Kamera.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p954.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bijou with the original 10 cm f/4.5 Heliar, offered for sale at the 26th Westlicht Photographica Auction (now Leitz Photographica Auction), on 22 November 2014.
  3. Bijou with Ross 4-inch f/4 Wide Angle Xpres, offered for sale at the 21st Westlicht Auction, on 23 May 2012.