« LaToya Ruby Frazier | Main | Photoshop vs. Printer-Managed Color Printing »

Thursday, 01 October 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Mike, your over-dramatic headline and first para are wildly misleading. One has to get to the last sentence of the second paragraph to find that the company is actually not filing for bankruptcy (what else could "throw in the towel" mean?). Nor are their sought-after lenses, beloved by manual focussing aficionados for their Sonys or M43s discontinued. It is only (!) the film-cameras that are discontinued. (My guess is for every TOP-reader with a Bessa there's 20 with a Voightländer lens and that is a conservative guess.)

Isn't Mamiya still making rangefinders too?

Back when Stephen Gandy first became the Cosina distributor I bought 2 of their cameras for my wife and several lenses for her to learn photography the "right way."
Alas, she became an incredible digital photographer but we still have those two incredible cameras.
Why Cosina never came out with a digital rangefinder of any import is still a mystery to me. I always hoped they would after making their first, albeit light, entry with the Epson.
Always sad to see a mfr. drop out.
Kind of like camera brick and mortar stores.
Time moves inexorably on.
Mi dos centavos.

Sad, but not really surprising. What I find interesting is that some adapters for m4/3 (VM and F), plus some SLII lenses (40mm and 58mm).

I suppose they are very busy producing the new Zeiss Milvus lenses:)

Still have my two bought from Hk dealer and are used from time to time. Sad news.

Bye bye Bessa. They sure looked pretty although I never held one myself. I always thought that "Bessa" was such a dreadful name.

It's funny how that Epson RD1 has left such a folk legend cloud.

Personally I think there's really only room for one true rangefinder camera brand on the planet. It might as well be the best.

They seem still to be making the DLSR and Micro Four Thirds mount lenses so the brand will continue.

Those older Epson digital cameras (6 mp) still sell for a high premium on e-bay.

The expression "throws in the towel" is misapplied here. Cosina didn't close up shop. They merely discontinued some dead(or nearly dead) product lines.


They once made legendary lenses, constructed by some Prof. Petzval.

But Voigtländer - the German company from Braunschweig - was closed in 1971. Carl Zeiss, the county of Niedersachsen, and Rollei tried to save it, but in 1974 it was discontinued.

When Rollei went belly-up in 1982, Voigtländer became a brand name (worth only 100.000DM), which was bought in 1999 by Cosina.

Now they're history, like so many others.

Source: the German Wikipedia; English one is here.

Did Voigtländer throw-in-the-towel, or are they just reforming?

Because of the photo-hobbyest's love of legacy-lenses, the company should still be viable. You'll notice that the only lens dropped, the 15mm F4.5 Asp II, had already been replaced by the version III.

My guess is that they may add a Sony FE-mount to the currently available Leica M, Canon EF and Nikon F. "All SL II lenses (F and EF) feature manual focus and computer chips for metering with modern DSLRs.". No reason they couldn't do that with an FE lens.

What a shame. Oh well. I remember reading something years ago about how to pronounce Voigtländer. Something like Fuutlunder if I remember right.

I don't have reference links to any of this, but as I recall, the owner of Cosina doesn't like digital photography, hence no digital Voigtlander (save for building the mechanical parts of the Epson RD-1. Also, as a lifelong Leica lover, he chose not to make any lenses in the same focal length/aperture as Leica (though some differences are rather academic, as an f1.9 lens and an f2 may well both be the same true aperture). And lastly, IIRC, he expected the Voigtlander line to pay it's own way, he wouldn't operate it at a loss. It isn't surprising that the film cameras are being discontinued (and I'd wager the last ones were built years ago). But the I'm sure the lenses will continue for some time.


The original folding Voigtlanders are still around and there are craftsmen who can easily and economically repair them including installing new bellows for less than the cost of some point and shoot cameras. In my collection of medium format cameras I have 5 Voigtlanders folding cameras that use 120 film. All are in great operating condition and I still regularly use the Bessa II with the Color-Skopar lens. It makes a great lightweight medium format camera although now the negatives are scanned and go through the PS workflow and are printed with the Epson 3880 or in platinum from Piezo negatives printed with the 3880. The camera negatives will also make great, though small, platinum prints. Even the original Bessa which is over 70 years old does a great job.
If your ever in Arizona stop by and we'll go out shooting with some of these easy to use film cameras.
Cheers, Jim

I warmly recommend Voigtlander's 28 and 35mm optical viewfinders to look hip and improve your framing.

I couldn't be sure from all the lists of discontinued product names, but it looked as if the Bessa folding 6x7 to 6x9 camera is not discontinued. True?


I tried several times to login to Stephen's site to no avail.
"Sorry. The webpage is not available."
It's possible he is reconstructing.
Mi two centavos

This says little about Cosina/Voigtlander, but a lot about 35mm film. Some will jump all over me to beat me for saying this, but 35mm film has been obsolete for years. Now not even niche users can support it. 120 is about to be, although I think 6x7 and especially 6x9 can hold on. Face it, digital just does out-does everything else below 6x7. Really, that's not a bad thing.


> Who wants to be known as the guy who killed Leica?"

Me. I'd make that decision in a heartbeat (he says, literally from his armchair).

The thing is, I doubt it would kill Leica. The people who can buy a digital Leica M (any kind, new or used) can afford to buy an X100(S/T) or an X-Pro1. But they don't, they buy an M (or both, or several of both). Other, cheaper alternatives would not change that.

Peace & stuff

That's unfortunate. Their wide angle Bessa appealed to me, but having more than one 35mm film camera wasn't in the cards. I've owned several CV lenses and have been very happy with all of them. Hopefully they can continue to be successful in that business. And I would welcome a digital Bessa, Leica be damned.

I couldn't be sure from all the lists of discontinued product names, but it looked as if the Bessa folding 6x7 to 6x9 camera is not discontinued. True?


In his thread on Rangefinder Forum, Stephen Gandy includes the Bessa III 6x7 cameras (standard and wide) in the list. (There is no Bessa III 6x9 camera.)

I own both a R2A an a R4M that I can share lenses with my Leica M6. I always considered the Voightlanders as poor man's Leicas. And I'm keeping them. I can still get film for them. So there.

I wonder what the last six months sales figures for 35mm B&W film of all brands look like in comparison with the equivalent period five years ago? Tex Andrew's post aroused my curiosity.

I'd imagine colour film in small and smallish formats is getting harder to sell because, just as Tex says, digital sensors do such a good job and also because there's no need to worry about airport scanners. Processing the stuff at home never appealed to many people and getting the job done commercially is less convenient than it was.

I get the impression that monochrome films are doing pretty well. There must be a great many good quality 35mm and 120 film cameras still around, in working order and in the hands of people who use them. And then LF film has keen users too. All these film product are easy to develop and scan at home. Even R09 (Rodinal) is still in the shops so somebody must be using it!

All that might make an interesting TOP article if Mike has time to research and write it or can find somebody close to the commercial side of things to do so.

I've always wondered why film v. digital gets people so excited. Both are fun!

Much as I liked film and appreciate that it has/had a great look, there just can't be any real demand for a new $1000 ($600? $700, whatever) manual film camera body. Not when if you feel like shooting a roll or even doing a project, you can buy a perfect Canon AE1, Olympus OM4, Pentax 1000 or what have you, with a nice 50mm or 35mm lens for, what $100? I'm a dilletante as much as the next guy, but there really isn't that much joy in a rangefinder qua rangefinder, not when you can look at the HUUUGE viewfinders that we used to enjoy on the SLRs back in the day. Seriously, who here has looked at what you can see in a 30 year old Canon AE1? I have, just now, holy cow, you can see everything. I haven't touched that thing in years, since I lent it to a neighbor kid for a high school photo class. Meter still works, shutter sounds good... hmmm, excuse me now Mike, gotta run.

I bought a 667 Bessa III earlier this year. A fabulous camera. I was hoping one day to get the 667W too. Guess that's not going to happen now...

Given that Cosina/Voigtlander make lenses for micro FourThirds cameras one would imagine that would be the obvious format for a digital camera for them. But then they'ed be competing with Olympus and Panasonic.

The other obvious camera is an full frame digital M mount and then they'ed be competing with Leica.

Both could be with or without (heresy!) an optical viewfinder/rangefinder. I would expect something retro like an Fuji X100 or Leica M with shutter speed control on the body and perhaps exposure comp.

It could be an interesting camera: old (manual or aperture priority) and modern (focus peaking for manual focus) at the same time.

But I don't expect anything soon.

I suspect they think of themselves an an opto-mechanical manufacturing company not one that does something with software in it.

I'm very grateful to Voigtlander for making a 40mm lens and a 40mm viewfinder as well. When I put my Leica M4-P outfit together in 2007, I found a Leica 40mm f2 Summicron-C lens at a bargain price. I bought this to serve instead of buying a 35mm and a 50mm, as both focal lengths are expensive in Leica glass. My partner bought me a used 40mm viewfinder.
I also have the 25mm lens and finder but rarely use the latter. I mounted the 25 in a 28/90 ring and use the entire viewfinder in my pair of M4-P bodies for 25mm. Works a treat.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007