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Voigtlander Cameras

The Voightlander optical company was founded by Johann Christoph Voightlander in Vienna, Austria in 1756. It is the oldest brand name in cameras. The Voightlander company produced the Petzval photographic lens in 1840, at that time the fastest lens in photography. The company produced the world's first all-metal daguerreotype camera in 1841 and plate cameras shortly after. The company continued producing cameras into the 20th century.

Voightlander became a leader in camera technology in the '60s. They manufactured the first zoom lens, the 36-82/2.8 Zoomar, in 1960. They also produced the Vitrona, first 35mm compact camera with built-in flash, in 1965. Voightlander merged with Zeiss in 1965. Zeiss/Voightlander stopped producing cameras in 1972 and the Voightlander brand was sold to several different companies in the years that followed. Voightlander products are currently produced by Cosina.

Hundreds of Voightlander vintage camera models were produced by the company and a collector can acquire a large collection by just collecting Voightlander cameras. The oldest models in mint condition are valued in the thousands. Newer, more common models sell for less. Voightlander prototype cameras fetch the highest prices. Popular models included the Bessa folding camera, the Voightlander box camera, and the Vitessa 35mm camera.

Quick Facts

  • Prior to 1840, Voightlander produced optical instruments and opera binoculars
  • Voightlander produced its first mass-marketed camera, the Bessa, in 1929. This folding-roll film camera is worth $260 to $280 in mint condition today
  • An original Voightlander metal daguerreotype camera is worth $85,000 to $90,000. These cameras are very rare, so an accurate price estimate is difficult to locate

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