Up one level


This is not the site for a comprehensive chronologue of Voigtländer - just about the most venerable name in lens and camera design and manufacture despite a chequered history since Zeiss bought the company in 1956. Suffice to say that Voigtländer was founded in 1756 in Vienna, moved to Braunschweig in Germany in 1849, and had a crucial influence on the development of photo-optics.

Amongst its huge range of products, Voigtländer made two short ranges of TLRs in the 1930s, the Brillant (Brilliant) and the Superb. The former was cheap and basic design, originally folded metal and later Bakelite, which suited the austerity of the early 'Thirties, but gradually evolved to a fully-focussing design, the top model with an excellent (Heliar) lens and (Compur-Rapid) shutter. The Brillant was also briefly made after the war, although the original moulds, designs and some of the staff had been removed to the USSR, where the Brillant re-emerged as the Komsomolets and Lubitel models (see Russian TLRs page).

The Superb, despite the travails of the Depression, was a top-notch TLR launched in 1933 to compete with the Rollei and Zeiss-Ikoflex ranges. It has some unusual and high-quality features, notably inbuilt parallax correction by the viewing lens swivelling downwards via a skewed thread on close focus! The film also travels side-to-side, which to my mind makes it odd that Voigtländer never took the opportunity to sell a 6x7 or even 6x9 version as well as the normal 6x6. There are two slightly variant models, primarily distinguished by the presence of unusual ear-like strap lugs (early) or not. Late models also acquired a sports finder. Heliar lens is more desirable than Skopar.

If you find any errors on this page or have any camera I might be interested in, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. Click on the small "thumbnail" pictures below to go to larger ones.

Voigtländer Brillant (Metal)

Early (1932) and very basic TLR. Only the taking lens focuses, screwing in and out. Good shutter, but basic viewfinder (no ground glass).
Taking lens Skopar 75mm f4.5
Shutter Compur 1 to 1/300

Voigtländer Brillant (Bakelite)

Later Bakelite model has geared-lens focussing and became the classic basis for East European copies post-WW2 (especially the Russian Lubitel)
Taking lens Voigtar 75mm f4.5
Shutter Compur 1 to 1/300

Voigtländer Superb (Skopar)

Classy competitor for Rollei and Zeiss. Unique parallax compensation as lenses screw out. With cheaper Skopar lens and early strap "ears".
Taking lens Skopar 75mm f3.5
Shutter Compur 1 to 1/250

Voigtländer Superb (Heliar)

Later model with rarer Heliar lens. Film still travels sideways. This one is in nice general condition and working well. Later strap connectors replace ears.
Taking lens Heliar 75mm f3.5
Shutter Compur 1 to 1/250