Voigtlander Bergheil - A small one

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by david_weiss|2, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. I thought some of you might like to see a very small bellows camera and I have a few questions if anyone has some ideas. Anyhow, it is a Voigtlander Bergheil. The entire camera is not much bigger than a pack of cards. This camera came with what appears to be 12 film backs, 1 glass plate back and a roll film back and some other things. The 75 mm Heliar is mounted on a Compur shutter with speeds ranging from 1 second to 1/300 second. Diaphragm adjusts from f4.5 to 25. There are some simple movements - straight up and down and from left to right but nothing fancier than that.
    My questions - Did they every make 6x4.5 sheet film? Hard to believe. I am going to take a stab at trying to load one of those backs. There is a dial on the front marked with "M", "D" and "Z" - if set on "M", the shutter operates as expected. If I dial in the other two letters, I am not able to cock the shutter. What could these be for? I suppose knowing some German here would help. Oh, and there is a button at the bottom of the frame that holds the shutter that I cannot determine its function. It is essentially part of a shaft that goes across the rails, has a spring on it ... it can be seen in the attached pictures. I included on one of those small LED flashlights in the pictures to give you a bit of scale.
  2. Z at least is the equivalent of T or B, not sure which. Compur shutters don't need cocking at T & B, which I suspect is that D and Z are.
    Yes, 4x5 x 6cm was a sheet film size.
    If you're lucky, the roll film back takes 127 film.
    Sounds about as tiny as an Ica Atom.
  3. It does look very 'cute' so I am hoping that you'd be able to run film through it and post here!
  4. John,
    You are right about the D and Z - the D is like bulb and the Z is like T. That solves that one.
    Why would I be lucky if the roll back is 127 - it is - it had a spool in it, and I think I have another one laying around somewhere. That back has two red windows - one has a metal cover and the other one is missing the cover. It also seems to need something to wind it on the top that is missing.
  5. Well, I was trying to avoid the word "cute", but it does fit! The darn digital images makes it look in worse shape than it really is - it just has some brass colored highlights.
    I plan to get some pictures out of it this week if everything goes as planned (which it never does).
  6. D and Z are, like the other fellow said, T and B. You do not cock the shutter for those.
    If you are refering to the lever there at the 4 o clock position, that is the lever to press to interchange the whole lens/shutter. The Bergheil had interchangeable lenses. There was a long focus (telephoto) lens/shutter available from Voigtlander.
    I had one in 6.5 x 9cm in green leather. Nice but I sold it. I am waiting to get a CertoTrop (also had interchangeable lens/shutters).
  7. Tom,
    I am not sure we are looking at the same lever - the one that appears to be at the 4 o'clock position is the lever to adjust the aperture. If you look directly under that, you can see a chrome plated pin with a spring around it - that is the one I cannot find a use for.
    Or maybe that is the one you are referring to - if that is the case, how is it used? Do you depress it and lift on the shutter frame?
  8. In photo 5 on the left, what you are calling a glass plate back, is in fact a pack film adapter. The holders in the center are the glass plate holders and may or may not have been adapted for film with sheaths or backing plates. We would need to see inside them to tell you for sure. And the other is of course a Rolex Patent roll film adapter. The reason for two red windows is that half frame can be shot if you use the half frame mask that you show in photo 5 in place of the darkslide in the holder. The button with the spring looks like a shutter release. Is there any linkage on the other end of it that will trip the shutter when you press it?
  9. The spring/button may also be the shutter/lens release as Tom said. If it is, then press it and turn the entire shutter counter clockwise to undo the bayonet mount on the back of the shutter. On the larger models it is a hooked lever up on the lens board, but on that little one, it might be that button.
  10. Wow. A 645 Bergheil. I never knew such a thing existed. I have a 6x9 Avus that is tiny and amazing. Yours is twice as cool and half the size.
  11. BTW, later Bergheils had both rise and shift knobs at the same location at the top left of the standard. Early models like yours had the same layout as the Avus, with shift at the exact location of your mystery spring/button, but I would expect a knurled knob. Maybe a replacement/repair?
  12. The reason it was suggested that you were lucky if it was a 127 back is that film and hence spools are still available new.
    The mask fitted in the film back and using both of the two red windows will let you take 16 on 127 for economy as well.
  13. Cliff,
    I bet you are correct as now that I look at these holders, there size and configuration fit your described uses. Here is a picture of the plate holder insides - how would you modify it to hold film, just jam some cardboard into it to fill in the space?
  14. Nick - here is a shot of what was included with the roll film back - a 127 spool, a roller and the chrome fixer to block out the red window. Am I correct in thinking something is missing? There is nothing holding either a take-up spool or supply in place, the film would be dragged across that metal bar between the red windows, there is no knob to allow the rotation of the film - this might be a dead end. I am really disappointed that it seems this camera will just sit unless maybe I can get film into the plate holders[​IMG]
  15. Yes you are correct, the inside film carrier is missing from the roll holder. It is quite useless without it. On the plate holders I cut a piece of aluminum the size of a plate, paint it black, and insert it in the holder. It act as a pressure plate. Those little clips are springs. Then the film is cut to the same plate size and just slipped in against the plate. I'll take some pictures and get them on here for you.
  16. Thanks Cliff, that would be appreciated. What is your source of aluminum (thickness)?
  17. Ok here is a picture of the pressure plate you need to make. It doesn't matter how thick it is. flashing from the hardware store will work. If you notice in the holder there is a finger nail groove at the top end. When you make your plate, put a matching groove in it. Then you can get a hold of your film to get it out easy after exposure. Once you make the plate it stays in the holder. The film will slide in toward the bottom then up to the top. The pressure plate will keep it flat but it is only secured at the top and bottom between the plate and the frame from the spring pressure. When you go to unload it. press in on the film and slide it down and get your finger nail in the groove at the top to lift it out.
  18. Here is the plate installed showing the hole you get from the two opposing grooves. This gives you a good place to get a nail on your film to get it back out.
  19. Thought you might like to see this too. This is a 4.5x6cm film pack dated March of 1927. This is what goes in the film pack holder.
  20. Here is the pack itself. the entire thing fits inside that holder with the tabs sticking out the slot in the end. After each exposure you pull the tab and it pulls that sheet of film to the back. With these old steel packs you can open them and retrieve the exposed films for developing before you use up the whole pack. There are 12 sheets of film in these packs. I wish someone would gear up and make them again. Especially the 2x3 size.
  21. You have to have one of these in your hands to truly appreciate how tiny they are. Here is a shot with a quarter sitting on the bed.
  22. Here is a little wallet that holds the three nickle silver holders. I have them loaded with TMX100. The quarter is for size reference.
  23. Here is a shot of the camera with it's silver plate back, showing the ground glass, an extra holder, and a plate holder in the camera. Notice the entire camera back is silver! It will use 127 roll film or glass, photo paper, or film in the plate holders.
  24. Cliff,
    I really like that pack of film - amazing what it was like back then.
    Two things - how did you cut the aluminum? I am thinking tin snips but those always put a lip on it ( I don't mess much with metal cutting obviously). Secondly, where are some examples of pictures you have taken with this set-up? That I would really like to see.
  25. Yes tin snips. If they are sharp they wont put a lip on anything. Also don't try to just cut out a piece with one cut to a side. You want to cut the part out of the big sheet close to the finish line but not quite to it. That way your last cut will be a nice little curl of metal not more than 1/8 inch wide. If you try to cut right on your finish line to start with, the entire piece will end up as a curl. You want to approach the finish layout mark with small curls cuts, and your main piece will stay flat. Hope I described that so you can understand what I'm saying. As for shots with this camera, Hmmm... I'll look and see what i can find. I think I have posted some here before.
  26. Ok David, I was inspired to take a photo with the little camera today. I planted these plants three years ago and they finally bloomed a few days ago for the first time. So here are two shots with the little plate camera using TMX 100, no filters, Didn't even clean the dust off the camera lens. And the holders I have had loaded for a long time and they had some dust and dirt too. Anyway here are the results from a 1921 Goerz Dogmar 7.5cm lens. and film in the glass plate holders.
  27. Wide open
  28. And a close crop of the wide open shot. Oh, if the old timers only had the film we have today! Think of what they could have done! Most of them were stuck with Ortho film!
  29. I probably should have used a yellow or orange filter since the flower is a light purple at the base going to white at the tip, but you can't see it in the photo. It didn't grab the tones at all. So much for pan film, Huh? You still need the filters! I'm sure they would have had more depth.

    I'm sure you will get similar results with your little Bergie! Post some pictures when you can!
  30. Cliff,
    I think those pictures are wonderful! I am surprised the edges are so smooth - did you crop a bit? I am lucky that I do have the yellow filter and will be using it. That was another piece that I received - it has flexible metal bands that allow it to attach to the front of the lens. I will post when it all works out. So far, I have bought the metal backing but have not yet cut it. I hope to do that and the next day or two.
  31. Actually the holder for my scanner crops them a little. Here are the two complete negatives just thrown on the flatbed. notice there is a border around the entire negative. These were in the nickle silver holders that load from the back. The other holders, like yours, only have a clear border at the ends. Notice also the clipped corners. I always clip the top right corners of the film to indicate the emulsion side when I cut it down from large stock.
  32. I forgot to mention that the flat black paint made for BBQ grills is the best to use on aluminum. It is made to stick to bare aluminum. Most other paints will flake off unless you prime with zinc chromate or something similar. But you need to paint them black or you will get halation flare through the film. It doesn't really matter if you are going to use them with photo paper and make paper negatives. That works great too but pretty long exposures on a tripod. I always figure with an K2 yellow filter about ASA.5 or 1.5 without the filter. some of the papers are a bit faster but not much!
  33. Cliff,
    could you explain how to open the film pack? I bought one of these 2 years ago and put it in the freezer. The first 4 sheets are exposed. If it is safe to remove them I would try to develop them.
    Just recently I bought a Voigtländer Avus 6x9 with Xenar lens. The seller ripped me of as he promised plate holders and never shipped them, but the camera itself works fine and is just tiny and pocketable. (Well... big coat pocket.) Fortunately I have a Plaubel rollfilmholder that fits and I want to put the above mentioned film pack to work on it, but first I would like to develop the 4 exposed sheets, so to make the necessary compensations when exposing mine. (We talk about a film from the beginning of the last century, need to look at the production data.)
  34. Ok Eugen, I'll try to explain this. Once you remove the first tab, the protective shield, you must keep the pack in the holder or all the unexposed sheets will be exposed, until the last film is pulled to the back. To remove expose sheets before the pack is done, the pack must be removed from the pack holder IN THE DARK. So with that said, just take the pack film holder in the darkroom or a changing bag, remove the pack from it and place your thumbs on the metal cover and slide it off. The exposed films will be right there on the top. Then slide the metal cover back on and place the pack back in the pack film holder, while still in the dark. On the Kodak type when sliding the cover back on you need to squeeze it to compress the light seal material then slide it back on the little tabs. On the Agfa type, you need to press in on the opposite side when sliding it off and back on. I hope these pictures help to describe the process enough that you can do it in the dark. The real trick is to be careful with your tabs and not tear them off after each shot, so you can re-tape new film onto them and reload your pack. You need to cut film from roll film stock since sheet film is too thick to make the bend at the end of the pack.
  35. next shot
  36. Agfa pack
  37. Press on bar with index fingers
  38. So did that help you?
  39. Cliff,
    Just a question - I made 6 of the aluminum inserts and painted them today so I am ready to load my individual holders. Any hints about cutting the film (got the corner trick from one of your other posts). I haven't developed sheet film - I am envisioning continuous agitation in a small tray - do you have any recommendations for film/developer combos for doing this?
    I bet ortho film would be a good idea at some point!
    The shutter could probably use a cleaning but I cannot get the rear element off. It seems like it should be easy enough (it has a ring around it that looks like it is meant to be easily removed) but I have not mastered it yet. If I trip the shutter right after cocking it, I get times pretty close to the correct ones (except for 1/2 and 1 second which are about 1 1/2 stops off). If I wait say 30 seconds, most of the previously good times become much slower, about a stop.
  40. Dave, take a look at these two posts.
    http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00UINZ for Ortho film example
    http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00PNen How to handle film for plate cameras
    You can use any film and just develop it as you would in a tank. continuous agitation is pretty grainy, so I wouldn't do that. If you use photo paper or the ortho film use the yellow filter, and develop in regular film developer not paper or lith developer. You should be able to clean up the shutter easy enough. There is plenty of info out there on the compur shutters.
  41. "If I wait say 30 seconds, most of the previously good times become much slower, about a stop."​
    If you use the yellow filter you will be adding two stops for that so just add 3 and give it a whirl.
  42. Cliff,
    Those links were great - a lot of good information. In retrospect, it all seems so obvious, but it wasn't until I saw it done in print. I am still not sure about why I would develop paper in a film developer but will give it a shot. I am going to give the paper a shot first then the film later this week perhaps.
    I must say, this has been an interesting experience already and I fully recommend this to anyone who likes to breath life into older cameras. I am actually excited to give it a whirl as you say.
  43. I think you will find that when you are using the photo paper to make a negative from real world colors and light, the contrast is easier to control when treated like any other black and white "Film".
    Try it and see. Your mileage may vary. Find something that YOU like best. The nice thing is that you can do it all in the red light and see what's happening. Good luck and have fun. Then teach someone else how to do it!
  44. You might even go down to your framing shop and get them to cut you a bunch of glass plates. Then get a bottle of liquid light and pour some plates and let them dry.

    You could even make a dark tent in the trunk of your car with snaps around the trunk lid so when you open the trunk, it's already set up. Then you can do plates and paper negatives, etc anywhere.
    You might even want to get an 8x10 camera to do paper negatives and make 8x10 contact prints on the spot to sell to all the people that gather around to see what the heck you are doing! I'm throwing these ideas out there for anyone who is reading the thread. In this day and age of rampant unemployment, just make your own job! Just drive to a scenic tourist location and set up your camera next to your car and start shooting landscapes. Make some contact prints and hang them from a line to dry and the crowd will start to gather, believe me. You have the 12 volts right in your trunk to run your safe light and contact printer bulbs. And your results will be better than the old dark tintypes. Just remember to tell everyone that it is a hobby of yours, and you don't really SELL them, but if they like them you will take donations to further your hobby! That will keep the business license creeps off your back!
  45. Z=Zeit=Time=T. kind of make ssense. I don't know about D, though.

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