Voigtländer Avus

The Voigtländer Avus is a folding plate camera, manufactured at Brunswick, Germany, between ca. 1913 and ca. 1936. The Avus was designed with the "semi-pro" user in mind, who was looking after a well built machine. It was first made in 9x12cm, right after the end of the First World War, soon to be followed by the smallest size, 6.5x9cm by 1927. The former was produced until 1934, while the latter - the model depicted in the photos - lasted in production for two more years, until 1936. Avus stands for "Aktiengesellschaft Voigtländer Und Sohn" ("Voigtländer & Son, Inc").

One of the key points in making the Avus was durability, and as such some of the best available materials were used. It rapidly became one of the most popular models within the Voigtlander catalog during the 20s and 30s, with around 100.000 units made.

As said, the Voigtländer Avus was manufactured in two sizes, 9x12 and 6.5x9cm. Varieties of both models include double extension bellows, and the shutters mounted on the cameras were either Ibsor or Compur, with high-quality glass and Tessar-like formulations such as the Skopar, Voigtländer's own design. A simpler lens can also be found mounted on this camera, the Voigtar, a triplet.

The 9x12 variant do exist in both horizontal and vertical formats, being the former the most looked for, and the possible lenses mounted are Voigtar 135/6.3, Dynar 135/5.5 or Skopar 135/4.5 on either Compur, Ibsor or Pronto shutter.

The 6.5x9 variant can usually be found with either Voigtar 105/6.3 or Skopar 105/4.5, but in a few cases glass from other makers, such as Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar, were used. The shutter for this version can be Ibsor or Compur.

A 10x15 variant does exist also, for postcards creation by means of contact printing, being an uncommon version. The possible lenses on this camera were Avuskop 165/7.5, Avus Anastigmat 165/6.8, Dynar 165/5.5 or a curious zoom, Collinear Satzanastigmat 135-305/6.9-12.5 on Compur, Ibso or Prontor.

The front of the camera, where lens and shutter are placed once it is opened, has a robust U design that also allows for some useful, but limited, movements of the block, either vertically or laterally. No tilt and shift, unfortunately.

A not very known feature of this camera is its capability for "macro" work up to 3x magnification: being the Skopar an assymetric design, it is possible to unscrew the front element and use the double extension bellows to take the picture. The instruction manual describes the way to proceed, allowing a "close focusing" of up to 3 centimeters from the lens. The Voigtar lens also allows for this, but the magnification degree is lower.

There were lots of accessories available for the Avus, from color filters and close-focusing lenses - such as those shown in the photo - to a magnifying lens for the waist level finder or a set of lenses for transforming the Avus into a tele-photo camera: Tele-Dynar f/6.3.

The 6.5x9 variant has a dimensions of approximately 92x133x50mm (closed) or 92x160x50mm (opened), and weights a bit less than 700 grams.

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