F. and S. Marriott 140 Newbegin, Hornsea, England, HU18 1PB

February 2010. Stephanie is seriously ill. Therefore, there may be considerable delay in responding to e-mails. We will try to continue to despatch orders promptly. The shop is open by appointment only. Thank-you for your continuing patience.

Voigtlander Vito Cameras - Vitrona Cameras

by Stephanie Marriott

Introduction

The Vitrona

Guidelines for Purchasers

Data Section

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Introduction

This is a 35 mm. camera with a rigid front and non-interchangeable lens. When launched, one contemporary report described the Vitrona as the world's first camera with built-in flash and automatic flash control.

The Vitrona

The camera has the same basic design as the Vito C, but has a pistol grip which holds the batteries to power the flash.The grip may be removed from the camera - it has a bayonet style fixing. When fastened to the camera, there are two settings - the capacitor may be constantly charged or only charged when a switch is pressed. Depending on battery condition, charging takes between about eight and fifteen seconds. The flash guide number is 9, with 100 ASA film. When using flash, the aperture is selected automatically according to the distance setting. The aperture ring has a special setting for use with flash. The viewfinder display includes a flash ready indicator, which also features on the top plate. The camera may be used with film speeds 25 - 400 ASA, when the automatic settings should be correct. A contemporary test report claimed some fall-off towards corners at full aperture, but good coverage at f/5.6. The camera was fitted with the 50 mm. f/2.8 Lanthar lens in Prontor 250 shutter. It was criticised by one tester for only having three zone focussing symbols, rather than a coupled rangefinder. Although it was accepted that a rangefinder would increase the price of the camera, it was thought that as focussing was important for correct flash exposures, some means of achieving accurate focus was necessary. Having said this, the camera was not cheap, and sold in relatively small numbers. It seems unlikely that the addition of a coupled rangefinder would have increased sales, but it would have pushed the camera into an even higher price bracket. In 1964 the camera cost about £57 including batteries, and a spare set of batteries cost 13s 6d. The camera was discontinued about 1967.

Guidelines for Purchasers

The Vitrona is not a particularly common camera, although there are other Vito cameras which are more difficult to find. It is mainly a collector's item - although interesting to use, it is not a camera for regular use. There are better and cheaper 35 mm. cameras available now for frequent use.

Note that while Vitronas occasionally appear without the bayonet grip, I have never seen a grip without a camera. Ensure the contacts are free from corrosion and if you have Vitrona, always store it without batteries in the grip.

Data Section

Camera

Filter Size

Vitrona

32 mm. push-on

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