Anyone have experience with a Wirgin Auta?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by dave_leonard, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. I just picked up an old Wirgin Auta in good mechanical condition. It
    has a Gewironar 10.5cm f-4.5 lens. I would like to know if anyone
    here has actually used one of these, and how good a lens this is. I
    think that it's design is similar to a Tessar. Haven't heard if it
    takes pictures as good as the other lenses from that time.
    Thanks for any info.

  2. Why not give it a roll to try?

    Tessar was very good design for its time; just be sure to close it to 8 or 11, cause tessars tend to be too soft when wide open.
  3. I have no experience with this camera. But I don't think the Gewironar is a Tessar design. Except for some high-end models most folding camera manufacturers used three-element lenses, and I have not heard of any 4-element lenses except for the Tessar, Xenar, Elmar, Skopar and Meyer Primotar lenses used on pre-war cameras. Also, most camera manufacturers tried to profit from the reputation the well-known 4-element lenses had, and I have severe doubts that Wirgin used a 'no-name' 4-element lens.

    However, there are three-element lenses which perform surprisingly well, like the Meyer Trioplan.
  4. Using a point source light, I get the same amount of reflections on the back of the Gewionar lens as a Skopar. The Kodak triplet has one less reflection. This, and the fact that it is f 4.5 instead of the more common f-6.3 used in many triplets, makes me think it's a Tessar type of lens. From what I've read, Wirgin was quite popular in Europe during the 30's and 40's. The camera is very well built, whith the shutter/lens assembly being very rigidly attached when in the unfolded ready to use position.
    Here is all the technical info I've got, sent from a member of another forum.

    "The lens Vade says the following:

    Wirgin Bros, Wiesbaden, Germany.
    Gewironar f6.3 105mm on Wirgin 6x9cm rollfilm.
    The trade name may be most important in the 1930-1940 period, but was also used after WW2 on the rollfilm
    cameras. It is not known whether they were bought-in or not. But they often used bought in lenses such as
    the Cassar or Cassarit lenses on the Edixa Stereo. Then the firm's publicity said it was 30 years old.
    The same lens Wirgin Gewironar was on the Westex Four-Five rolfilm from Westminster Photographic, Lrd,
    81, Strand London, WC2 in B.J.A. 1938, p279, the cheaper version having a Ludwig Victar f6.3. This just might
    suggest the origin of the camera."

  5. I have a Wirgin Auta 6.3 that I'm very pleased with (not least because I only spent about $15 for it). Mine has the 6x4.5 cm format masks, and I usually shoot in that format (for 6x9, I use my Moskva 5). The f/6.3 lens is (I think) a triplet, and I still get good results; if your f/4.5 is in fact a 4-element Tessar type, it should be better still.
    Here are some examples from mine:
    Beat the heat
    Puget Sound Sunset
    Bound for Harbor
    Under Construction
  6. Thanks for posting the pics, Donald. I especially like the Puget Sound sunset. It's obvious that the Wirgin triplet can take sharp pictures with nice color and contrast. It looks like sometimes, shooting right into the sun, there may be some flare, like the Bound for Harbor photo. It's hard to shoot into the sun with any older lens.
    BTW, the 6x4.5 adaptor was missing on mine, so it looks like I'm only going to be shooting 6x9.

    Dave :)
  7. I actually like the flare in the harbour shot. I get a real sense of summer in it, if that was the weather. And the b/w shot of the building under construction works for me too.
  8. Donald,
    What type of film were you using?

  9. The film type should be on the gallery page for each photo (and since I'm on a dial-up connection right now, I'm not going to open them all and check it), but my 120 over the past year has been almost exclusively TMY (T-Max 400, expired film I got fairly cheaply) for all B&W, and Portra 400 NC for almost all color -- the sunset was, IIRC, Portra 160 NC.

    FWIW, with the sun in frame as it was on a number of the frames right around "Bound for Harbor", I'd expect to get some flare and internal reflections even with my Super Takumar. And since those frames are also cropped around some light leakage (I'm still not certain if that camera has a pinhole in the bellows or if I'm only getting leakage around the film edge from the ruby windows), you're seeing area not much larger than a 35 mm frame, cropped from 6x4.5, on Bound for Harbor.

    Simply put, if my Auta 6.3 had more than three shutter speeds (25, 50, 100), and/or a faster lens than f/6.3, I might never have spent the money for my Moskva. As it is, I need to get around to checking the bellows; if there's a leak there, I might be able to patch it and use my Auta more often. It's amazingly compact for 6x9, and very quiet -- but IMO it's at its best as a 6x4.5 with a portrait lens.
  10. After a lot of playing with the reflections off the rear lens glass of the Gewironar lens, I've come to the conclusion that this is probably a triplet lens. The third reflection I sometimes barely see seems to be caused from a reflection off the aperature diaphram, which is shiny like polished gun metal.
    I ran a roll of Ektachrome 100 through the Wirgin. It turned out properly exposed and sharp, with great color and surprisingly good contrast. Obviously a good camera and good lens.


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