Folding camera with case, Vitessa, metal/ glass/ leather, manufactured by Voigtlander & Sohn AG, Germany, 1951
The Vitessa is a 35 mm. precision camera introduced in 1951 and was available until about 1964 having undergone various developments. The original Vitessa was a fixed lens folding camera, the final version of which was known as the Vitessa L. There was also a rigid body version with interchangeable lenses which appeared in 1956 and was known as the Vitessa T.
The first Vitessa design had the back attached to the body by a lanyard and manual adjustment of the viewfinder for parallax compensation. After 1952 the camera was supplied with a completely removable back and automatic parallax compensation. From 1954 there were minor design changes which added a fixed accessory shoe, strap eyelets and a relocation of the synchronisation socket from an internal mount on the lens panel, to an external mounting on the front (door) panel. In 1956 a non-coupled photo-electric exposure meter was added to produced the Vitessa II (later changed to Vitessa L).
Before 1952 the Vitessa was fitted with a Compur Rapid shutter which was X synchronised. This was replaced by a Synchro-Compur shutter with XM synchronisation on cameras manufactured up to 1954, and thereafter with the same shutter but incorporating a Light Value scale. Vitessa cameras manufactured before 1954 had no permanently fitted accessory shoe but each was supplied with a removable one (cf. the original Bessamatic).
The Vitessa cameras are unique in that they were one of the first successful designs for a camera designed for rapid sequence photography with a manual film advance and shutter firing mechanism.