The Voigtländer Perkeo II is a 120 film folding camera, 6x6 format, built between 1952-55
by Voigtländer& Sohn AG, Braunschweig, Germany. The Perkeo II is an
upgraded version of the Perkeo I, launched in 1950 which did not have
the automatic film advance of the II model. Both are successors to the
Bessa 66 with a similar build. While the I was delivered with either a
Vaskar or a Color Skopar, the II was only built with a Color Skopar.
There was a successor, the Perkeo E or III, based on the I model, so
there was no automatic film advance any more, but it had an uncoupled
rangefinder. The III or E model is a typical collector's item, only
built between 1955 and 57; it's very expensive for an only uncoupled
rangefinder added and the lack of automatic film advance.
camera shown has a Synchro Compur shutter. It's definitely the smallest
of the 6x6 folders I have. Compared to the top range full featured
rangefinders, it weighs a lot less, only 531 g.
Size (mm): 126 x 86 x 43 Weight: 531 g Lens: Color Skoparar 3.5/80, closest focus 0.95 m Shutter: Synchro Compur B 1 - 1/500, F 3.5 - 16 Finder: built into the housing Film advance: via red window to 1, then automatic, double exposure prevention, accessory shoe
Here are some photos of the camera. There is a short introduction to the use of it and how it feels at the bottom of the page.
front closed. Top: finder, accessory shoe, film advance knob.
from the back. Film advance, viewer, accessory shoe, lever to engage automatic film advance. Red window in the middle, the cross indicated that it is closed.
from above. Film advance, accessory shoe, shutter button and film counter.
from the bottom. Tripod socket, opening button. On the right edge: back
opening button, has to be squeezed from top and bottom.
front open. Folds sideways. On
the lens barrel: Distance setting, set to 0.95 m min focus. Depth of
the field scale, flash syncro switch. The cable release socket is a bit
hidden: it's just above the camera bed, near the hinge of the strut.
Seen from the front. Note the tiny retractable stand on the camera bed.
speeds visible from the front. The 2 buttons on the camera bed have to
be pressed to close the camera, not the struts as usual. Mine folds
even not set to infinity, but I would make it a habit to set infinity
Seen from above. On the lens housing: flash socket.
side, camera open. Aperture setting lever near the bellows, aperture
scale, speed scale, shutter cocking lever, speed setting ring.
Seen from the bottom, camera open.
After the 12th exposure you have to wind once more until the counter
shows red. Then, and only then, you can switch the lever from the left
(advance engaged) to the right. Now you can freely advance the film to
Camera back open.
chamber. Note the fluted roller to the right, it counts real advance length.
Original leather case.
Leather case open.
Size comparison to an ordinary 6x6 folder, a Certo Super Sport Dolly. The Perkeo is really small.
Size comparison to a 4.5x6 folder, a Konica Pearl III. The Konica is
really, really small, and it's a full featured rangefinder...
a Voigtländer Perkeo II is easy, it's just like
other folding cameras. Loading film is fine, the take-up spools sits on hinged bottom, no fiddling with pegs. Open
camera back. Retract the film advance knob, swing the cradled bottom out and
take-up spool into
place. The film spool just drops into its compartment. Insert the film paper
into the take-up spool and advance it using the advance knob until
well engaged. Close the camera back. Advance
the film via the advance knob
until the red window shows "1".
The automatic film advance is very reliable, but has to be handled with care. Never force anything! After
the 12th exposure you have wind once more until the counter shows red.
Then, and only then, you can switch the lever from the left (advance
engaged) to the right. Now you can freely advance the film to its end.
The lever stays to the right while putting a new film. When the camera
has been advanced to "1", switch the lever from the right to the left.
The camera is now ready for the first exposure. If there is no film in
the camera, but the advance is still engaged, you can manually turn the
fluted roller to the next number. Because of the double exposure
prevention you must unfold the camera, cock the shutter and fire the
shutter for further advance. Do so until you reach the red indicator.
Then switch the lever to the right. Same procedure if you want to test
the camera without film. But for testing you can also release the
shutter via the little lever on the lens barrel.
the camera. Cock
the shutter, set speed and aperture. Set focus by turning directly the front of the lens barrel,
focusing moves the lens out. Press the
shutter release lever. That's it. To
close the camera, press the buttons at the front of the camera bed, it will fold easily whatever
distance is set. Turn the film advance knob until it stops. The next number
shown in the counter window.
If the framing of your camera is tight enough, you may get a 13th
exposure out of your film. Having advanced to the red mark, you may
cock the shutter and release via the little lever on the lens barrel.
Then switch the lever to right and advance the film to its end.
The Voigtländer Perkeo II is a nice camera, easy to use, with a very good lens and a good shutter. It has automatic film advance but lacks a rangefinder. It's a nice camera
nevertheless. It's extremely lightweight and the smallest 6x6 camera I have seen. A good choice if you want to
start with a good 120 film folder.