image by Ilya.Bur (Image rights)
The Vito IIa was introduced in 1955 and was a development of the Vito II. The Vito IIa was based upon the same design concept found in the Vito B, which was produced concurrently. The Vito IIa offered a centered accessory shoe to permit the use of a Kontur viewfinder, and benefitted from a single stroke lever film advance lever in place of a wind knob. The rewind knob is recessed into the top plate, and pops up when it's released by a switch below. The camera opens - revealing the lens - by pressing a recessed button on the bottom plate. There's a small metal stud on the bottom of the door which functions as a stand when the camera is on a flat surface. To close the camera, there are two tabs inside the door which need to be pushed down at the same time. The shutter release and cable socket are located on the top edge of the door, not on the top plate of the camera.
Shutters options included the four-speed Pronto and the eight speed Prontor SVS (plus B in both instances). The shutter speed steps also vary, with earlier models being 1, 1/2nd, 1/5th, 1/10th, 1/25th, 1/50th, 1/100th, and 1/300th sec., and changing to 1, 1/2nd, 1/4th, 1/8th, 1/15th, 1/30th, 1/60th, 1/125th, and 1/300th sec. Later models fitted with the Prontor SVS have an exposure value scale. This is a mechanism that links the shutter speed and aperture rings together via an arm which extends from the aperture ring to connect with teeth along the edge of the shutter speed ring, resulting in the synchronisation of aperture and shutter setting to give the same overall exposure. The shutter also has a PC flash sync, and a V/X/M switch flash sync, where X is for electronic flash, and M for bulbs. The V setting is for a self-timer.
In common with other Vito cameras, the IIa was fitted with a 50mm Skopar lens. The Skopar was Voigtländer's version of the Tessar, and the Color-Skopar was a post-war coated version. The folding Vito cameras have either an f/3.5 Skopar or Color-Skopar lens.
End of Production
By 1957, and the end of it's production, this camera was reputedly the last 35 mm folding camera . In the UK it cost about £25. There was a Vito III, but this was not a successor to the IIa; it was a rangefinder equipped folder, and pre-dates the IIa, having been introduced in about 1950.
- This is a commonly stated 'fact', but the Welti Ic was produced well into the 1960s, and the Super Dollina II remained in production until the beginning of the 1970s. According to Amateur Photographer magazine's 1960 annual camera guide, folding Kodak Retina IB, IIC, and III C models were still being sold.