Voigtländer VF 101

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A compact rangefinder camera for 35mm film; made by Rollei in Singapore, and sold under the Voigtländer brand.

There is an intricate story behind this camera. The very first version of it was the Zeiss Ikon S 310 Contessa from 1970, without rangefinder yet. Later the Zeiss Ikon S 312 was introduced, with rangefinder and very close to the VF 101. At that time Zeiss Ikon and Voigtländer were already merged, they had a joint distribution and sold cameras with their combined names, like the Icarex 35S. So both cameras, S 310 and S 312, were designed and produced by the Voigtländer people in Brunswick, but sold under the Zeiss Ikon brand. Even the Tessar lens was a renamed Color-Skopar by Voigtländer. After Rollei took over Voigtländer in 1972, the camera was produced in Singapore and got at last the Voigtländer name.
The VF 101 was available in silver and black.
A VF 102 model with interchangeable lenses was introduced, but not produced.


The design of the VF 101 follows the successful Konica C35, but instead a programmed shutter it has a aperture priority automatic exposure mode. Consequentially the VF 101 has no flashmatic mode (f-stop changes automatically according to the focus distance), so the f-stop has to be set manually when using a flash. The shutter is x-synchronized at every shutter speed, in addition the camera can be switched from AE-mode to flash mode with the button near to the lens, then a 1/30 s will be used to avoid long shutter speeds in the dark.
One pecularity of this camera is the extendable focus ring; once extended, it serves also as lens hood.


Specifications

  • Type: 35mm compact camera with aperture priority AE and rangefinder.
  • Image size: 24 x 36 mm
  • Lens: 2.8/40 Color-Skopar, 4 elements in 3 groups.
  • Focus distance: 0.9 m to infinity
  • Filter thread diameter: 49 mm
  • Shutter: electronically controlled leaf shutter
  • Shutter speeds: 1/500 s to 4 s in AE-mode, 1/30 s in flash mode.
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 to f/22, stepless
  • Meter cell: CdS-cell, inside the filter thread
  • Film speed range: 25 to 400 ASA
  • Measuring range: 1 to 18 EV at 100 ASA
  • Viewfinder: 0.48x magnification
  • Viewfinder information: rangefinder image, f-stop, shutter speed, bright frame, parallax marks, over/under-exposure.
  • Features: film advance control, tripod bush, hot-shoe, cable release socket, DOF-scale, built-in lens hood
  • Non-features: no self-timer, no bulb-mode, no exposure compensation.
  • Power: 4 button cells 1.5 V V625U
  • Size: 102x73x35 mm
  • Weight: 490 g


Issues

In flash mode the exposure meter is switched off and the needle in the viewfinder disappears, this can be used to save battery power. When the red plastic cage in the battery chamber is removed, a 3 V CR123A Li-battery can be used instead of the four button cells.

The VF 101 has no dedicated button to disengage the rewind lock, just press the shutter button before rewinding. You can also press the shutter button when the advance lever stops halfway at the end of the film, there will be no exposure made.



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