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Voigtlander Prominent



The lowest priced of the German Top Cameras!

The most intelligent system!

The highest scope with less equipment!

The only system camera to have strobe synch up to 1/400 (1/500)!

The only of the great to mix ambient and strobe light in an ample scope!

With the reflex housing, One does not loose viewing before, DURING or after the shot

You see the flash through the reflex finder!

It presented a new Philosophy of taking pictures.


Didn’d touch the buyers. Now almost forgotten!

The public was not ready for such a product. It needed some optics knowledge!

Today we can state that its basis is still ahead of general top products.


We will try to explain the Prominent’s  really prominent Phylosophy!

This was an absolute new based idea. None followed.

At that time, all Range finder cameras had a couplable fitted Reflex housing.

This one had a Reflex housing with a couplable  fitted camera!

Both works as a single unit, are very reliable and the 100mm in the reflex propiciates better focusing abilities and better pictures mainly on slides.

It was obtained a simple camera with the best of both worlds (RF/SLR).


I use this camera since 1957 and know that it is more reliable and fitted to various photo tasks (mainly the complicated) than their much more costly partners Leica and Contax.




This camera is the first of a series. Compur Rapid and 1-1/400 shutter speed. All the others go to 1/500.



A quality camera could be reached through the well choosen materials in its construction,  a well done workmanship and building a reliable project.

A top camera should have the best lenses and an ample photosystem compatibility.

A low cost camera imposes high production level (and sales); a minimum of quality control stages, not to onerate production, and a simple and quick production time lag.


The equation was solved through the sharing of the body and mechanical parts with other camera types.

Use of already known reliable items of high level production.  So this camera shared its shutter with Bessa 6X9 types These shutters were also used by Linhof, Rollei, Futura and Super Ikontas.

Top lenses of the era were also used. Three normal lenses were offered:

The old and reliable Skopar, the famous Nokton, used and proved in WWII as the sharp lens for night photography, and the newly developed Ultron, that some claims better than the famous Summicron of nowadays.

This original Ultron, survives today, and improved up to 1.8 as Helios-103 from Kiev Factory.


This camera, had many technical firsts. Was the first one to use Retrofocus Skoparon 35mm wideangle in a rangefinder camera, that in 1951!

The second one was Kiocera’s Contax of 1993!  Only 42 years delay!

And also the fantastic Ultragon 24mm in reflex housing in 1955 which covers 6X6 format! Cost and manufacturing difficulties prevented to go to normal production run,


And here the most intelligent part of the system:

Pehaps (or clearly) the true heart of the system.

The unique Reflex Housing! – similar to none!


Voigtlander Prominent with reflex unit and 100 mm lens

Here the original Reflex Housing instructions.

How to Fit and Detach the Reflex Housing

Attaching the Voigtlander Telomar reflex housing to the Prominent

First set the focusing knob on the camera to infinity. Press down the bayonet catch (see top arrow), and place the reflex housing flat against the shutter speed ring, so that the upper right-hand cheek on the camera engages in the locking groove of the bayonet mount (see detailed view, lower right, above). A slight left-hand turn of the reflex housing firmly locks it to the camera. The camera focusing knob will become inoperational.

To remove the housing, depress the bayonet catch, and keep it pressed down. Turn the reflex housing to the right, and lift off.

Focusing the Finder Image

Voigtlander Telomar magnifier attachment

The standard equipment of the reflex housing includes the magnifier attachment shown above. It has a focusing eyepiece. This has a double purpose. In its vertical position it serves for observing and focusing the upright screen image. This image is completely free from any parallax error. When tilted over backwards it becomes the Voigtlander KONTUR sports finder.

Focusing on the Screen. The screen image, which is uniformly bright right into the corners of the screen, is observed through the 5x magnifier lens. To adjust the magnifier exactly to your individual eyesight, point the camera lens at the sky. Then turn the eyepiece (see arrow) until the cross on the screen is absolutely sharp. Leave the eyepiece in this position.

To focus the image with the magnifier, turn the front ring of the lens mount until the image is dead sharp. Always focus at full aperture, as the screen is then at its brightest.

The KONTUR Sports Finder

The Voigtlander Telomar Kontur Sports finder

The in built KONTUR finder is extremely useful for following moving subjects. After focusing (on the screen or by scale) tilt the magnifier head back as far as it will go. You now have a perfect sports finder.

Sight the subject with both eyes open. The eye looking past the finer then sees the subject in its full size and brightness, while the other eye sees the outline of the picture area. This works equally well whether the subject is in brilliant sunshine, or in deep shadow.

To compensate the parallax error with views closer than about 6 feet, swing the magnifier head slightly forward until it clicks into place.

The eye looking into the finder sees two rectangles, indicating the picture area, against a dark background. The outer rectangle corresponds to the view of the 100 mm. Telomar. The dot marks the centre of the picture.

The PRISM FINDER for Direct Screen Viewing

The image as shown using the Voigtlander Telomar Prism Finder

With certain subjects it is better to see the screen image the right way round. In a case like that, the PRISM FINDER, available as an accessory, is useful. To change over, pull the standard magnifier backwards out of the screen frame, and slide in the PRISM FINDER in its place.

Using the Voigtlander Telomar Prism Finder

The PRISM FINDER shows a moving subject in its true direction.

Attaching the lens to the Voigtlander Telomar Reflex Housing

The front component of the 4 inch (100 mm.) TELOMAR f/5.5 is mounted in a bayonet fitting. This makes the reflex mirror inside the housing accessible for cleaning if required. But please remove any dust only with a fine brush, to avoid scratching the very delicate reflecting surface.

Manipulation: Depress the button on the front of the reflex housing (see arrow in illustration), turn the front component to the left or right through 60 degrees, and remove. When replacing, first align the red index line opposite the red slot (shaded in illustration) and turn the front conponent to the left until the bayonet catch clicks into position.

The Voigtlander Telomar lens controls

Distance (top arrow)

The rotating front ring of the lens mount carries the focusing scale. To set the distance by scale instead of focusing on the screen, set the appropriate distance figure above the red index line.

Aperture (centre arrow)

The aperture numbers 5.5, 8, 11, 16 and 22 are engraved on the conical ring on the reflex housing. To set the aperture, turn the ring until the required aperture or f/number clicks into place opposite the red index line.

Depth of  field  (lowest arrow)

The aperture numbers are placed in pairs simetrically to the distance reference mark. This corresponds to the depth-of-field scale. All distances encompassed  between equal right and left diaphagm numbers corresponding to real diaphagm settings, results in clear sharp focus in the final photograph.


Exposure Times

To set the exposure time, turn the milled wheel which protrudes on the right of the reflex housing (see left-hand arrow). The shutter speeds can be read off either from the front in the shutter speed window, or from behind on the shutter speed scale (see arrow in right-hand illustration). The appropriate speed division should coincide with the red index line.

Setting the shutter speed on the Voigtlander Telomar

Instantaneous Exposures

These can normally be made without a cable release. Push the setting lever to the left to position "M". Then set the shutter speed, tension the shutter in the usual way, and depress the release lever on the reflex housing as far as it will go allowing the shutter to run down fully.

The mirror inside the housing automatically moves out of the way just before the shutter opens, to allow the light to reach the film.

Exposures with the Self-Timer

using the self-timer with the Telomar

After tensioning the shutter and setting the delayed action mechanism (see camera instructions), depress the release lever. The delayed action mechanism is now running down. So, immediately move the setting lever to position "Z" while the release lever is pressed down. This keeps the mirror out of the way.

Time Exposures

time exposure with the Voigtlander Telomar

Screw a cable release into the cable release socket, move the setting lever to "Z" and set the shutter to "B". Press down the shutter release lever on the reflex housing as far as it will go.

This moves the mirror out of the way while the shutter is still closed. Open it for the exposure in the normal way by pressing the cable release.

Descriuption of parts:

Annotated picture of Voigtlander Telomar



TELOMAR 5,5/100

Reflex housing and Telomar 5.5/100

Ultragon 5,8/24



Skoparon 4.5/35mm

DYNARON 4,5/100

Dynaron 4.5/100


Super-Dynaron 4.5/150

 The Ultra rare Tetra Skopar  8/85  intended to make four simultaneous equal pictures on film.

Prominent camera with Nokton lens


The Kontur finder

Kontur frame viewing


The Normal lenses:

Skopar 3.5/50 and diagram                  Ultron 2/50 and diagram                  Nokton 1.5/50 and diagram


           ULTRON 2/50          NOKTON 1,5/50

Nokton 1.5/50 was also manufactured for Leica screw and Contax inner bayonet mount,

Voigtlander also built a special Leica adapter for using Prominent famous normal lenses on Leica body.

Here the Kit including a Leitz screw-to-M adapter.




The Kontur finder



The Kontur finder is a reversing finder that you can see through both lens sides, enlarging or diminishing the images So it can be used on 35 and 100mm lenses. You have a primary ocular mask used to be the seeing side. Lenses reverse at desired focal length.  A complementary front mask lets it to be used with 150mm telephoto.


KONTUR use diagrams. From top: 35mm, 100mm, and 150 fields.

The eye side has always a limiting mask useful for parallax compensating.






The Proximeter is within the Voigtländer Prominent system, an item of special importance;
particularly since, besides the normal lenses, it also works in connection with the Dynaron 1:4,5/100 mm as in the above illustration. 
Reproduction scale can  reach up to 1:2,5 without the disadvantage of the coupled telemeter
having to be renounced.
Manufacturer of the ProximeterI and  II was Hermann Schneider & Co., Hamburg.








Voigtlander Proximeter optical system

Instructions For Use

The Proximeter close-up attachment is available in two focal lengths covering the following focusing ranges:

Proximeter I (focal length 38 inches or 95 cm.): 38 to 18 inches (95 to 47.5 cm.)

Proximeter II (focal length 20 inches or 50 cm.): 18 to 13 inches (49 to 32.5 cm.)

Combining the Proximeter I and II produces a focal length of 13 inches (33 cm.) covering a focusing range from 13 to 9.5 inches (33 to 24 cm.)

Mounting the Attachment. Slack off the milled screw at the side of the Proximeter, push the clamping ring over the lens mount, and tighten the screw. Make sure that the metal frame of the Proximeter is parallel to the top edge of the camera. When using two units together, always mount the Proximeter II on the camera lens and the Proximeter I on the front mount of the Proximeter II; never the other way round!

Field Mask. For shots with the 4 inch (10 cm.) Dynaron f/4.5 telephoto for the Prominent


Another Proximeter version with a round lens around the camera optics lens accessory made by the same manufacturer was intended for cameras having revolving objective while focusing. Like Contax, and Leica when with Elmar and Hektor 50, 73, 90, and 135mm. Here three pictures of this other version.





Here you see the two versions of the frame limiter when using  the 100mm lens.

The plastic is the last one while the all metal is the first.

The limiter can be used always when using the telephoto and acts somewhat like a universal finder with coupled rangefinder. You see the frames for parallax. Easier than a reflex camera, precise like them.






Here the special accessories for macro, repro and miocro:







At left the Repro-Skopar 3.5/50 1:1 repro device coupled to camera simulator for framing and focus

The optical unit goes over the normal 50mm lens

At right the Color-Skopar 3.5/105  - 1 :1 copying unit when using with Dynaron 100mm lens or the Telomar in reflex housing,


Below we see the optical diagrams of both items:


Here, the Repro-Skopar.

At left mounted in the picture simulator with loupe.

At right mounted in the camera with Ultron Lens


Here, the Color Skopar.

At left mounted together the Telomar reflex with camera.

At right mounted together Dynaron telephoto with camera

This procedings results in an exceptionally good picture quality, because this arrangement delivers an apochomatic reproduction optical system;



Microscope adapter



Diagram of  Microscope/telescope adapter.


This is the arrangement of camera and microscope device.

It is used with camera/lens unit over the normal lenses Skopar or Ultron.

The observer sees through the device focusing eyepiece a clear wire cross.

Camera is set at infinity position. The whole assembly goes over the microscope eyepiece place,

with or without the eyepiece in position, according with the desired enlargement.


Above set of filters below sunshade and two Focar close-up lenses.



FOCAR 1 =   +1.25 diopters

FOCAR 2 =   +2.25 diopters

FOCAR 1+2 = +3.5 diopters


And one of the oddly accessories made- The Flash everready case !

We can’t find similar solution in no other camera maker.



Prominent II in the flash case. This same case fit all Vitessa models

Flash case and instructions

Closed flash case


Made by Carl Weiss Braunsweig




These are reincarnations of the Prominent body:



Pre-run prototype of VitoIII in rigid body version



Commercial type of VitoIII in foldable bellows type. Ultron f2 lens for both models




Optineta made by Meopta Czech Republic after the Vito and Prominent demise.

Uses same (refurbished) tools. This camera also had a very limited sales. Pehaps,

their visual style did not convince the public of their intrinsec superior quality


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