Voigtlander Dynamatic II rangefinder camera

This camera is a 35mm rangefinder auto exposure camera made by voigtlander in the early 1960’s. It looks remarkably similar to my Voigtlander Vito B although it is a heavier and much more sophisticated camera.

My camera

I found this camera, as with most in my collection, on eBay. It was on with a starting bit of £4.99 and I added it to my watch list but missed the end of the auction. Fortunately, so did everyone else and the seller re-listed it, so I got it next time round for the same starting price.

When it arrived and I’d unpacked it I found that it is in very nice condition overall apart from the chrome work on the top which has started to bubble. I assume the metalwork under the chrome plating has started to corrode and this leads to the bubbling. It’s rather a shame, because as far as I can tell the rest of the camera is in very good shape and appears the be working properly. The best thing about buying the camera was the fact that there was still a film in it, so I’ve rewound that and sent it to Photo Express in Hull to see if there are any images still obtainable. I love looking at pictures found in old cameras and have a post where I publish them.

Voigtlander Dynamatic II description

As I said above this camera is similar in appearance to the Vito B, but in operation it is much more sophisticated. There is a light meter built in, and an automatic exposure option as well as full manual override. The focus control has markings for group, portrait and landscape settings, but also has a coupled rangefinder visible in the viewfinder.

One thing that is the same at the Vito B is the quality of the construction and engineering which went into making this unit. It’s a very well made camera with sleek lines and some great features. For example, one of the standard repairs you need to make to cameras this age before you put a film through them is to replace all the light seals because they go gooey and ineffective. On this camera there are no light seals to replace because the back is designed to sit in the channel at the back of the camera as it is closed and seal by itself. Also the rewind knob is the classic Voigtlander ‘pop up’ unit with the little lever at the back to pop it up.

The lens fitted is a Voigtlander Lanthar 50mm f2.8 which is a slightly lower quality lens than that fitted to the Vito B, which was the Color-Skopar, but appears to have a coating of blue/purple colour.

On the bottom of the camera is a tripod bush, centrally mounted and a count down frame counter which is manually set at the time of loading a film.

Exposure system

There is a selenium cell driven light meter built into the dynamatic II with the cell mounted around the lens and an aperture display built into the top plate. This aperture scale is also visible in the viewfinder so the photographer is kept informed of the aperture the camera is either using or suggesting for the correct exposure. The light meter is coupled directly to the selected shutter speed so if the camera is set to Auto mode the aperture suggested will be automatically selected, meaning the camera offers what we would today call shutter priority automatic exposure.

The film ISO is set with a dial mounted round the inside of the lens unit which is a fairly normal place on this sort of camera, but one oddity is that because of its design, the camera can’t use threaded filters. On the Vito B there were push on filters available and, although they wouldn’t fit this camera because is has a larger diameter, I would expect a similar set of filters existed. Because the camera uses a selenium cell, there are no batteries used by the camera.

All in all a nice example of West German engineering with the added bonus of the exposed film inside. I’m looking forward to seeing if any pictures are recoverable from that.

  • Voigtlander Dynamatic II 35mm rangefinder camera
  • Selenium cell light meter built in
  • Shutter priority automatic exposure
  • Manual exposure override if required
  • film speed ISO 10 to 400 range on light meter
  • Shutter range 1/500 to 1/30 + B
  • 50mm f/2.8 voigtlander lanthar lens
  • f/2.8 to f/22 aperture range
  • 5 blade aperture
  • Focus zones marked on focus ring and coupled rangefinder
  • Manually set count down frame counter
  • Ser No:5329661

 

 

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