Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shooting the Vito II

I've always thought the Voigtländer Vito II was the perfect travel camera and have used it most in that capacity.  The classic little folder is actually more versatile than what that categorization implies, however.

I think the key to shooting the Vito II successfully is, as often the case, a matter of knowing the camera's capacities and your own.  There is no question about the resolution the Color Skopar lens can deliver.  The camera is easy to carry along because of its compactness.  It doesn't have a built-in rangefinder, and I think that is likely what causes many people some hesitation in using the Vito II.
   A little practice at distance estimation goes a long way toward building confidence.  Choosing shutter speeds and f-stops appropriate to conditions and your own judgment capacties and steadiness is also a matter of easily gained experience.  For me, shooting the Vito II at f8 and 1/60 is about as wide and slow as I can go and still get well-focused close-up shots without camera movement.  Those are the parameters I selected for a recent open shade portrait session.  I can get most shots right at those settings at a distance of 3.5 feet.  At 6 feet I seldom miss as the depth of focus is much more forgiving.


Jim said...

The Vito II seems similarly specified to the Retina Ia. How do you compare them?

Mike said...

Good question. The Retina Ia is a more advanced design with combined lever film advance and auto shutter cocking. The strap hangers and the dof scale on the lens are nice additions for street shooting. It is claimed that the unit focus gives an advantage over the front cell focus on the Voigtlander, though it's one I've never been able to see. All that aside, I still prefer the simplicity, lower profile and cleaner lines of the Vito II. In terms of image quality, I think it is a draw.

I don't shoot the Ia more mostly because its real competition is in the same family: the Retina IIa which is maybe my own all-time favorite rf camera.

In terms of features, I'd say the closest contemporary competitor to the Vito II is the Ikonta 35 which has basically the same feature set, though somewhat more modern styling. All of them can make great images using similar 4-element lens designs.

Julio F said...

I use several 35mm folders: Retina 1a, Agfa Solinette, Ikonta 35 and Vito II (two of them); besides, my first serious camera was a Retina II, so I am very fond of this type of classic cameras.

All of them can make great images, but the Vito II is one of the easiest and smoothest to operate, overall. It is a favorite travel camera.