Prominent - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Prominent

Model of c. 1957

Voigtländer & Sohn

Braunschweig

West Germany

Image of Prominent

Lens:
f1.5, 50 mm Nokton, iris diaphragm to f16. Bayonet mount lens. Serial no. 3886531 .

Shutter:
Synchro-Compur, speeds 1 - 1/500, B. X, M synchronisation. Delayed action.

Construction:
Metal body.

Format:
36, 24 x 36 mm exposures on 35 mm film held in cassette.

Focusing:
To 3.5 feet.

Attributes:
Double image coupled rangefinder.
Focusing by wheel on top-plate incorporating a depth-of-field scale. Exposure counter. Film type reminder.

Identification:
Version with lever film advance and suspended frames in finder.

Serial Number:
B55012 .

With:

  • f5.5 100 mm Telomar in reflex housing. Iris diaphragm to f22. Focus to 6 feet by moving front cell. Depth-of-field scale. No. 2563. The reflex housing has a ground glass screen incorporating a condenser. The vertical finder has eye-sight correction and is removable. Serial no. 3530735.
  • Kontur finder.
  • Proximeter I, leather case.
  • Proximeter II, leather case.
  • Filters 47 mm push-on fit: UV; GR1, case; G2, case.
  • Instructions. Case.

The Prominent was introduced in late 1950 or early 1951 to compete at the upper end of the amateur market alongside the Leica and Contax. Only a limited range of lenses was available but these covered the requirements, if not the aspirations, of most amateur photographers. The camera also achieved some use by professionals due to the Compur shutter providing flash synchronisation at all speeds. In Britain the Prominent was not greatly advertised and import restrictions were in place for half of its life.

The Prominent was a well-built camera of high specification but suffered from the lens-range limitation imposed by the Compur shutter. The layout of the controls, especially the focusing wheel, proved awkward for many users, and the view-finder fell short of what might have been expected, it was also a heavy camera. The position of the shutter made coupling the rangefinder to the lens difficult unless focusing was carried out on the camera body.

When first introduced the Prominent had a Compur Rapid shutter, after this a Synchro Compur was used. Several other modifications were made most noticeably the inclusion of strap lugs, accessory shoe, lever-wind and a view-finder with suspended frames, these were introduced separately in that order. An improved model designated the Prominent II was introduced in 1959 with a larger and improved finder, the earlier model has become known as model I.

The example shown here is the last version of the model I prior to the introduction of the II.

Telomar
The Telomar mounted in a reflex housing is a very odd device, the lens is only 100 mm in focal length which could be matched by a rangefinder-coupled lens. The lens is built into the housing, the front lens group can be removed for cleaning the rear group is fixed. The reflex housing, then, can only be used with this lens, unlike the Leitz Visoflex for instance. The standard finder for the reflex housing was a vertical 'chimney' type which could be hinged down to give an eye-level finder of Kontur pattern i.e. a direct vision finder. Two Kontur frames are shown, for infinity and 6 feet focus. The whole finder could be removed and replaced by a prism. The mirror sits between the two lens groups, it follows that the rear group behind the mirror has to be replicated above the mirror below the focusing screen. The mirror is only 20 mm wide and slides sideways when the release on the reflex housing is depressed.

Lenses
  • f3.5 35 mm Skoparon.
  • f3.5 50 mm Color-Skopar.
  • f2 50 mm Ultron.
  • f1.5 50 mm Nokton.
  • f4.5 100 mm Dynaron.
  • f4.5 150 mm Super-Dynaron, not coupled to rangefinder.
  • f5.5 100 mm Telomar in reflex housing.

Accessories
  • Lens hood, filters.
  • Focar close-up lenses - A, B, C and O. Focar O was for use on the Telomar. Earlier lenses were designated Focar 1 and 2
  • Body cap.
  • Neck chain.
  • Turnit view-finder. For 35/100 mm lenses and 35/50/100 mm lenses, there was in addition a mask for the 150 mm lens.
  • Kontur view-finder.
  • Clip-on accessory shoe for early models.
  • Proximeter I and II for 50 mm lenses, additionally there was a mask for the 100 mm lens.
  • Copying stand. This is a small vertical stand with three legs, the camera body fits on the top and the lens underneath. A special lens - f3.5, 50 mm Repro-Skopar - was supplied for use with the stand. A ground glass focusing adapter was available.
  • Macro stand for 1:1 and 2:1 copying.
  • Microscope adapter.
  • Outfit case for lenses.
  • Outfit case for camera and lenses.
  • Flash gun built into camera case.

Code Names:
317/47 - UV filter. 306/47 - GR1 filter. 302/47 - G2 filter.

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