Why did I get this chunky heavy camera in the first place? I bought some M42 lenses and used them (with adapter) on my M6 and a Ricoh GXR before I started to buy M and L39 lenses. Despite the fact that these lenses were cheap (a Porst 2.8 35mm, a Porst 1.4 55mm and a Porst 2.8 135mm) I liked what I got with them. But at a certain point I put them away because I got smaller, lighter and different lenses more suitable for my Leica M6 and Bessar R.
But I kept them in mind and once in a while I looked for affordable M42 cameras. This summer I stumbled upon articles about the Voigtländer VSL 1 and found a cheap one on ebay. It still took a while till I tried camera and lenses together on my test area from home to my atelier.
Photos of my Voigtländer VSL 1
She is heavy and will neber win a design price but the handling is very good. There are no frame lines and you can neither see the exposure time nor the f in the viewfinder. Neretheless it is everything is very practical, very clean and does what it is supposed to do.
The leathering seems to be plastic and feals cheap but taking into account that my camera is at least 40 years old it looks extremely good. What proofs my first impression of cheap materials was wrong. As mentioned before it is heavy and one can use it mostly likely to drive nails into a wall but that is not necessarily bad. Especialy if you go on a rough assignment where you need something durable or when you are afraid that somebody might steal your gear. Camera and lenses are easy to replace with little financial effort.
It is hard to find information about this camera online and now that I think about it I guess I most likely found out about her in some forum. This is not a big surprise taking into account the short production time.
I don´t know why but I did not expect much result wise when I took the shots (on APX 100). But to my surprise I was very pleased with what I got. The 35mm lense gets a bit soft on the corners. Something I personally like because I use old cameras to get at least something characteristic. And the contrasts of both 50mm and 35mm – I did not use the 135mm were very much to my liking too.
Will I usr it a lot in the future? Probably not. But this is not the VSL 1´s fault but simply due to the fact that have a set of other cameras that I use on a regular basis that there is no reason to change. Still - if I should shoot somwhere things might get rough I would take her without hesitation because I know: she does a very good job.
Photos taken with the Voigtländer VSL 1
Production Time: 1974 - 1976
Viewfinder: needle for correct exposure
Frame lines: none
Coupled exposure meter (CLS via TTL)
Shutter speeds: 1/2 second to 1/1000
Film speed: ASA 12 - 1600
Power supply: 1 x 1,35 V Quicksilver Battery
Price I payed: EUR 30,00