Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by Ricochetrider, Feb 21, 2021.
Try again ... argh.
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Voigtlander Bessa III iiiw 667W GF670W Medium Format 120 220 Film Camera | eBay
On one of the F B photo groups Im in, a person posted his Voigtlander MF camera up for grabs a few weeks ago. What, what? Voigtlander made a medium format camera?!?! OK, sweet, I'm interested at the very least.
But wait- OUCH, that price.
Anyone ever shoot with one of these and really- is it that fantastic? Or just limited and exotic enough to draw this sort of astronomical asking price?
I've never owned or used one, but it was expensive when it came out and I'm sure it didn't sell in big numbers so it would be comparatively rare. Also, like many things listed on eBay the pricing may be aspirational rather than realistic.
Voigtlander has a long history of making Medium Format cameras, but the one that you listed is actually a FujiFilm GF670W that was rebadged and marketed as a Voigtlander by Cosina (Who currently has the rights to use the name). Some people would not call it a real Voigtlander, but it is still a pretty good camera, that is fitting to the Voigtlander name.
FujiFilm made one run of that camera 10 years ago, and the fact that it takes a decent film picture makes it a rare and desirable item. Hence the price. (Note that Cosina manufactured the camera for FijiFilm, hence the Voigtlander co-badging...)
My (Cosina) Voigtlander 35mm Bessa R3m rangefinder is a fantastic little camera, and Cosina/Voigtlander makes super nice lenses. That said, I could never justify spending such money on a camera. And yes, I know the "asking" price on eBay doesn't reflect final sales price but considering the asking price is above 6K, I don't see one magically falling into my lap any time soon!
wondering if its "only" a rebadged Fuji is the lens here made by Fuji or Voigtlander?
Fuji plainly enjoyed making novelty film cameras. The wide version of the GF670 is a rarity. The GF670 sold new for around US$1800-2000 as late as 2017. The folder version is a very sweet camera. There just could be a crazed, over-compensated collector out there drooling, finger hovering over that "Buy It Now" button.
Voigtlander, as a company, does not exist anymore, it was sold to Zeiss in 1956, and the last factory was closed in 1971. The name was sold to Rollei, who whet under in 1982. Plusfoto owned the name till 1997, when it was sold to Ringfoto. Ringfoto licenses the name to Cosina. It is now just a marketing name, there are no Voigtlander designers or manufacturing.
I believe the GF670's are FujifFilm designs, both lens and body, and made by Cosina. But I could be wrong, I have not investigated it in detail, so someone can correct me. I prefer the FujiFim versions, same camera, no upscale marketing brand, less $. Should have bought one back when they were just a little over $1k...
Rollei still exists, Tom. They split up, and the camera making part no longer exists. It was taken over by DHW in 2009, but they went bust in 2014.
But that's not all of Rollei.
If the GF670 folder was Cosina-made, it marked a big jump in fit-and-finish over their other efforts. Guess that's why I suspect it was a Fuji product judging by its comparable quality with their current Japanese-made digital cameras and lenses.
Yes indeed, much like Voightlander still exists, except the owner of the name "Rollei" (RCP-Technik - who have since renamed them selves "Rollei") have nothing to do with the people who make the Rolleiflex's (DWH Fototechnic who don't own the name Rollei!). I believe after DWH was sold in 2015, some employees bought some of the the assets, and started DW Photo, which still makes Rolleiflex's. (I might have some of the complicated history mixed up, so someone can correct me).
What is nice, is that the Voigtlander label is used on products that reflect it's high end heritage, which I cannot say for some of the Rollei products from RCP-Technik...
Also, keep in mind that Zeiss also uses Cosina to manufacture lenses.
The link between Rollei present and Rollei past is a bit more direct than that. Rollei changed ownership many times, yes. And at one time Rollei gave up on trying to earn money selling cameras. It didn't work. They branched off, and eventually sold that division, kept going in consumer products. The camera division was bought by a group who believed they could still have success where Rollei did not. They named the company after the original company before that assumed the name Rollei, but are not Rollei nor Franke & Heidecke. F&H mk II, as we know, did not succeed where the real Rollei company also did not. They took on contract work. Or at least tried to. And were involved in the Hybrid 6x6 camera project of Jenoptik. When that failed, all what was left to do was selling inventory. And they, or rather yet another owner did.
Meanwhile the main firm, Rollei, kept going, doing other things, such as rebranding consumer goods other companies made. So, yes, frequent change if ownership, and the thing they were famous for was sold off and went bust, but there is more continuity than in Voigtländer.
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