Prominent (35mm)

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See also the earlier Prominent (6×9cm folder).

The Voigtländer Prominent is a 35 mm leaf shutter rangefinder camera featuring interchangeable lenses, the first camera of this type.[1] It was introduced by German manufacturer Voigtländer in 1950, in competition with Leicas and Contaxes, and withdrawn in 1960.

The lenses attach with a bayonet fitting unique to the Prominent. The shutter is a Synchro-Compur, giving speeds 1 - 1/500 second, plus 'B', with a delayed action. It has switchable M- and X-flash synchronisation, with a PC socket by the switch (pictured right). In the original model, shown in the top picture, the accessory shoe is detachable, attaching to two studs, in the centre of the front and back of the top housing;[2] these studs do not appear on the later example pictured below, with a fixed shoe.[3]

Focusing is done by turning the knob on the left of the top plate (which would be the film rewind on any other camera; the rewind on the Prominent is a folding key set in the top of this knob). There is a depth-of-field scale under the knob. This unusual positioning of the focus control (and of the controls generally) is the subject of some criticism.[2]

The original model of the Prominent has a film advance knob, with a frame counter under it. The Prominent was upgraded in 1956 — adding lever wind (double stroke).[4]

The base of the camera has a tripod bush (a ⅜-inch bush, with an insert to convert it to ¼ inch), a film-type reminder, and a rotating indicator to show when the film is rewinding (i.e. when this button stops rotating, it is safe to open the camera).

The successor Prominent II was introduced in 1958. This has a large Albada viewfinder with bright-lines for 35, 50, 100 and 150 mm lenses, a fixed accessory shoe, and a compact film advance lever.[3]


  • Manufacturer: Voigtländer
  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Film: 35mm
  • Shutter: Synchro-Compur or Compur-Rapid
  • Lens:
    • Standard: 50 mm f/2 Ultron, 50 mm f/3.5 Skopar, or 50 mm f/1.5 Nokton
    • 24mm f/5.6 Ultragon
    • 35 mm f/3.5 Skoparon
    • 100 mm f/4.5 Dynaron
    • 100 m f/5.5 Telomar (with Reflex housing)
  • Accessories: Turnit finder (turns 180° for 35 and 100mm)


  1. According to UK The first 35 mm leaf shutter camera with interchangeable lenses was the 1947 Akarette by Apparate & Kamerabau, but it has no rangefinder.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Prominent showing the studs to fit a detachable accessory shoe, at Mike Elek's Classic Cameras.
  3. 3.0 3.1 User's manuals for the Prominent; first and second version, and the Prominent II, at Mike Butkus' Orphan Cameras.
  4. McKeown.