Voigtlander Perkeo II & the 13th Frame

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Andrew in Austin, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. [​IMG]
    Once upon a a time there was a dwarf who was the court jester and guardian of one very huge wine barrel at a castle in Heidelberg, Germany. The dwarf's name was Perkeo. A couple of centuries later, a once proud optic maker - Voigtlander - used the name for a couple of their smaller folding cameras.
    If you shoot 6x6 medium format the Perkeo II is truly a dwarf medium format. Unlike many 6x6 folders like of its time, the Perkeo II is fitted with a frame stop, that allows for automatic film winding - once the photographer sets the mechanism at frame #1. I don't know if it's because modern 120 film has a thinner acetate base than it did 60 years ago - but the Perkeo II allows for a 13 frame.
    The Perkeo II makes for a nice piece of kit for a hiker. A Color Skopar lens set in either a Compur or Prontor shutter puts the camera in the same league as an ZI Ikonta. Like the Ikontas without built-in rangefinders, this is a scale focusing by guestimation camera - which is doable, if your subjects are further than 10 feet away and you have enough light to shoot at f8 or f11.
  2. With that said - my daily wanderings usually don't include Ansel-esque landscapes.
  3. Plus, it is August, which in the Southwest means summer heat and of course, it's chile season.
    If you pay extra - your chiles can be bought roasted and peeled ready for the home freezer.
  4. Oh did I mention that the Perkeo II viewfinder is rather small and I wear glasses. So forgive my compositions.

    Here is what remains of my Spring garden in the August heat - all water with a bucket due to water restrictions. Excuse the tilt.
  5. A second shot of the Impatiens from a few steps closer.
  6. This is as close as someone can focus with a Perkeo II, about 3 1/2 feet.
    Black Eye Susans and some mint.
  7. My solution to getting closer with the 6x6 120 format is to crop in Photoshop.
    Thanks folks, I'm done. I was using Kodak 400 UC with an expiry date of 2006.
  8. Did any of the Perkeos get rangefinders?
    Kent in SD
  9. Very sharp results. With modern film, the Perkeo never had it so good. Thanks for posting.
  10. Nice looking camera with excellent examples. Thanks Andrew!
  11. Have you thought of using a Voigtlander Kontur for 6x6 finder in the shoe to overcome the problems of composition? For many years it has worked wonders for me and a Perkeo II. I now wear glasses but with no problems with the Kontur. It allows for 1:1 view and allows one to see what is potentially to enter the space of the finder.
    I also use the 24x36 Kontur with a Vitessa 125 Ultron and the optional shoe with similar consequences. Perhaps the Kontur is an obscure entity. A few years ago Lou Meluso, who is very knowledgeable about older equipment, was not aware of it until I spoke to him about it.
  12. No pun intended - but I really should look into acquiring a Kontur 6x6 finder. My other 6x6 folder is an Agfa Super Isolette which has coupled RF focusing. Although the camera has twice the heft of a Perkeo, the Agfa's viewfinder is also tiny.
    Thanks for the suggestion.
  13. What an excellent example of this fune camera. I'm very impressed with the results you got. The focus is often a game stopper fro many you have demonstrated it need not be. Frankly mo meed to "look into" acquiring any rangefinder aids so soon you do just as well without it! I also love the light any quick response I get with the Perkeo 1
  14. Wonderful result. It has a coated lens if I remember correctly? The colours are absolutely delightful.
  15. The Color Skopars seem to be consistently good lenses, well-corrected and coated, from my experience. Those are nice sharp, colorful images, and it's a fine simple and solid-looking camera. Thanks for the post!
  16. Interesting. I've had a Perkeo II with Color-Skopar for years. Its a joy to use, its one of the few cameras I've had that feels absolutely right.
    Unfortunately I've never got a satisfactorily sharp shot with it. When I mentioned this to my late friend Charlie Barringer he remarked that he had an 80/3.5 Color Skopar and had never got a really sharp shot with it either.
    I checked mine, its lens is in collimation so that's not the problem. The tripod socket has problems, but if I can't get a good shot of a distant subject with clear air at 1/100 @ f/16 handheld something's not right.
  17. A few years ago Lou Meluso, who is very knowledgeable about older equipment, was not aware of it until I spoke to him about it.​
    Yes, thanks again, David. A cool item. I know just enough to be dangerous but I'm always learning new stuff from you and the rest of the gang here in CMC, easily the best forum on photo.net.
  18. Rick is correct. The 80mm/f3.5 Color Skopar is a coated, front cell focusing Tessar-type design. Coated Voigtlander lenses have a blueish reflective hue.
    Dan, I don't know how the 80/3.5 was computed - but it is a front cell focusing lens and and the lens may not be at its sharpest at its infinity setting. Most of my shooting is at 12 feet or less.
    I do know that the Color Skopar is somewhat flare resistant. The shot of the roasting chiles was shot while standing in the sun and facing the sun. To make matters more interesting, I had to overexpose the highlights in order to capture some of the shaded areas. The shadows were still way too thin on the negative for my liking. I hate thin negs.
    In the image below, I moved over a tad - but the shadow areas were still underexposed.
    I lightened the shadows a bit in Photoshop and black apron on the guy manning the roaster was full of grain.
    Keep in mind that the expiry on this film was 8 years ago in 2006.
  19. Dan Fromm, I have a piece of thin frosted glass that I tape onto the film plane and check the focus. You can use anything (wax paper, stiff frosted plastic) but I like the glass. Don't know if this is helpful.
  20. Randy, thanks for the suggestion. Been there, done that.
  21. For Dan:

    Could the problem be the vacuum effect of opening the bellows? If the bellows are allowed to spring open, and especially if the spring is strong, the film can be sucked into the film gate giving a very soft focus image no matter the aperture. In my experience with almost all folders, opening the front slowly by having a hand on the base avoids this and normally gives very good results edge to edge, even at wide apertures. This problem could be one reason some avoid all folders. One camera that was built to avoid this was the late 30s Weltur that by design was built to open very slowly throughout its opening arc. Others start to open slowly but then after a certain point has been reached pop the rest of the way.
  22. David, good suggestion but I'm not sure you're right. The evidence against you is shots after the first shot post-opening.
  23. Dan: "The evidence against you is shots after the first shot post-opening."
    You say you have a Perkeo II. Once the vacuum effect starts, extra film is pulled out from the 2 rolls and sags forward. Winding the film to the next frame is by the feel of "auto" rollers. Those rollers stop when a certain amount of film has passed. Thus the "extra" amount of film and thus the sag is always present. This is different from using red windows on each frame.
    Try it with a new roll of film and open the bellows gently and see what happens.
  24. Folks - The Perkeo is aimed towards compactness and portability.
    Whether the sharpness of the lens equals a TLR with a Tessar-type lens misses the point of what this camera offers.
    * The Perkeo is a tourist's medium format camera and its original price is reflective of it second tier status.
    * It fits into the front pocket of my cargo pants with room to spare and is lightweight.
    * The Perkeo offers a sufficient range of shutter speeds and aperture settings to get a good exposure.
    * Like the tourist for which the Perkeo was designed for - I rarely enlarge past 8x8 or 8x10.
    No doubt a well made TLR with its unit focusing Tessar-type lens will yield a negative that is higher up on the MTF food chain - but that type of camera isn't something you would slip in and out of a pants pocket.
    Best Regards, as always
  25. David/Dan- I've had rolls on my Perkeo II come out not sharp, and sometimes very sharp. I will try the bellows trick on the next roll, thanks for suggesting. Below is an example of "sharp", handheld outdoors at infinity. This entire roll of TMax100 came out great. Hope it helps show what the Color Skopar is capable of. BTW, the slight vignetting was due to an aftermarket hood, not the lens.
  26. Andrew- thanks for the thread, hope you don't mind my "posting-in" but I thought it pertinent to the discussion.
  27. That North Coast Photographic scan looks real good to me. A nice example of what the diminutive Perkeo can do in capable hands as well.
  28. Nice work with the Perkeo, really like the still life with the black eyed susan. Also interesting to hear how they came by the name....never knew that one!
    I have a Perkoe 11 with the uncoupled RF, a bit beaten up, but I seem to remember that it took sharp pics. When I unpack the boxes I will make a point of trying it again.
    Thanks for the post.
  29. Just looked up black eyed Susans on the internet. The best origin I could find was a poem.
    All in the downs, the fleet was moored,
    Banners waving in the wind.
    When Black-Eyed Susan came aboard,
    and eyed the burly men.
    “Tell me ye sailors, tell me true
    Does my Sweet William sail with you?”

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