Voigtlander - Prominent
posted 2-24-'04

This camera manual library is for reference and historical purposes, all rights reserved.
This page is copyright by , M. Butkus, NJ.
This page may not be sold or distributed without the expressed permission of the producer
I have no connection with any camera company

On-line camera manual library
This is the full text and images from the manual.

If you find this manual useful, how about a donation of $3 to:

M. Butkus, 29 Lake Ave., High Bridge, NJ 08829-1701
and send your e-mail address so I can thank you.

Most other places would charge you $7.50 for a electronic copy
or $18.00 for a hard to read Xerox copy.

This will help me to continue to host this site, buy new manuals, and pay their shipping costs. 
It'll make you feel better, won't it? 
If you use Pay Pal, use the link below. Use the above address for a check, M.O. or cash.

Back to main camera manual page


Most Important

Please read these instructions carefully before you take any pictures or examine how everything works. Practice the various operations as described in section I, first without a film in the camera. When you are familiar with those, read the rest of the booklet. Then you can load the first film.
Remember that the PROMINENT is a high-class precision instrument, which wants expert and careful treatment. It will well repay the trouble taken by endless numbers of fine and wonderfully sharp pictures.

Operation Changing lenses     6
   Aperture - Shutter speeds - Winding knob .
7- 8
  Rangefinder - Snapshot focusing
  Exposure - Self-timer    
Loading  and    Unloading  Opening and closing the camera back . . .
  Inserting the film - Setting the film counter .
Rewinding the film    
  Changing partly exposed films    
Accessories  Flash equipment    
  Close-up lenses - Filters    
  Lens hood - Frame Finder   . . ."KONTUR" 24
  Ever-ready case    
Technical Hints Aperture and depth of field    
  Film speeds    
  Care of camera and lenses    
  The camera number - Customs seal . . . .
1 Aperture ring to set the iris diaphragm
2 Shutter speed ring to set the shutter speeds
3 Jaws to hold the reflex housing
4 Back lock
5 Synchronising-lever to set the flash contact
6 Flash socket to connect to flash equipment
7 Shutter lever to tension the self-timer
8 Rewind key to rewind the film
9 Peg to hold the detachable accessory shoe
10 Body release
11 Rewind button


12 Cable release socket

13 Winding knob to tension the shutter and wind the film

14 Rotating outer ring of rangefinder knob

15 Distance scale
with zone focusing settings

16 Depth of field indicator

17 View- and rangefinder eyepiece 

18 Film counter

19 Film release to release the film lock when loading or changing partly exposed films

20 Tripod bush 

21 Film indicator

22 Drilled pin to take customs seal when crossing frontiers

The Interchangeable Lenses
 of the PROMINENT all belong to the new series of Voigtlander high-class anastigmats.
These instructions for changing lenses - as well as the sections on focusing, depth of field, etc. - apply only to the standard 50 mm. lenses, i.e. the ULTRON f/2 and the NOKTON f/1.5.
The TELOMAR f/5.5 telephoto lens and the ULTRAGON f1:5.8 wide angle lens - both with reflex housing -are supplied with special instruction booklets.

Changing the Lenses
The quick-change mount allows specially rapid changing of all lenses. To remove the lens, simply pull the catch of the bayonet lock forward (left), turn the lens through about 45" to the left or right, and lilt out of the shutter. To insert the lens, push it into the shutter and turn until the catch engages with a click. With the lens correctly in position, the catch must be underneath the lens. When changing lenses, proceed gently; never use force!

Stops and Shutter Speeds
The aperture (or stop) off the iris diaphragm controls the amount of light falling on the film, and thus the exposure. If also controls the depth of field (see p. 26).

The stated speed of the lens (e. g. f/2 with the ULTRON, f/1.5 on the NOKTON), is always the largest lens aperture. Each successive setting on the aperture scale approximately halves the light transmitted by the lens.

Therefore every aperture number requires double or half the exposure of the preceding or following aperture respectively. For instance:

Aperture   f/
1.5 2
4 5.6
8 11
1/500 1/250
 1/100 1/50

Setting the Aperture
Turn the aperture ring until the selected stop is opposite the index line. The whole of the scale is clearly visible of a glance from above.

Setting the Shutter Speeds
 Turn the shutter speed ring until the selected speed is opposite the index line on the lens mount. The figure 1 stands for 1 second, all other figures are fractions of a second. The shutter can be set to any intermediate speeds, except between 1/10 and 1/25, or between 1/250 and 1/500 second. All speeds other than 1/500 second can be set after tensioning the shutter.
For time exposures over 1 second, set the shutter to B. Press the release, and the shutter will stay open as long as the release is pressed down.

Focusing with the Rangefinder
The combined view- and rangefinder is coupled with the lens. On looking through it, you will see a bright circle in the centre of the view.

When the rangefinder is not correctly focused the subject appears as a double image within this circle. Turn the focusing knob of the rangefinder until the two images coincide. The lens is then accurately focused on the subject. Alternatively, set the distance by the scale on the focusing knob.

The Winding Knob does three jobs. Turning it through a full turn as far as it will go in the direction of the arrow tensions the shutter, advances the film by one frame, and also advances the film counter to the next number.
Note: When the Compur shutter is set to 1/500 second, an additional tension spring comes into action, which makes the winding knob a little harder to turn. It is therefore advisable at this speed to tension the shutter directly with the tensioning lever. Push the lever to the left towards the red dot with your finger as far as it will go. But remember also to wind the winding knob through a full turn as far as it will go. You will feel a slight resistance while doing so.

Snapshots at f/8
These are easy even without the rangefinder. Simply use the two point settings on the focusing knob:
Set to = 11 'feet, and everything between 8 1/4 and 16 1/2 feet will be sharp (see above).
Set to 0 = 33 feet, and everything will be sharp from 161/2 feet to infinity.

Instantaneous Exposures (webmaster: this is what they call shots without the need of a tripod)
When taking the picture, hold the camera as shown above. Press it firmly against the face and tuck your arms well into the body, to avoid any camera shake during the exposure. Keep the eye close behind the eyepiece of the view- and rangefinder so that you can see all four corners of the image at once.
Hold your breath while exposing, and gently press the release down as far as if will go. Take care not to jerk it.

Slow Speeds
To make hand-held exposures at speeds slower than 1/25 second, e. g. 1/10, 1/5, 1/2, and possibly even 1 second, you need a very steady hand, or some support for the arms and body.
A useful trick to reduce the risk of camera shake with shots of static subjects, e. g. inferiors, is to use the self-timer which normally serves for taking pictures of yourself. Tension the shutter in the usual way, set the shutter speed, and start the self-timer as described on the next page. After about 10 seconds the shutter will release itself without any shake. But do not move the camera until you have heard the shutter close with an audible click.

Time Exposures over 1 Second
Set the shutter to B.  
Preferably use a cable release with locking screw. The release will screw into the socket behind the body release. The camera must be firmly fixed for such shots; the best way is to mount it on a tripod.

The Self-Timer
When the shutter is tensioned, the tensioning lever is next to the red dot. Pulling it further still as far as it will go, automatically brings a delay mechanism into action, which opens the shutter about 10 seconds after release. Note: Do not use the self-timer with the shutter set to B or to 1/500 second.

The Double Exposure Lock
This automatic device prevents double exposures and blank frames.
After the exposure, the release button is locked until the film is wound on; the film transport is then locked until the next time you press the release.

The Film Release
This is needed mainly when loading the camera or when changing partly exposed films. A short pressure releases the film transport for one frame.
Continuous pressure releases the film transport while the pressure lasts. 
Do not use the film release when rewinding the film.

The camera uses perforated miniature film available in daylight cassettes for 36 exposures 24 X 36 mm. With colour film the number of exposures varies with different makes. Avoid handling the film cassette in very bright light, preferably load and unload the camera in the shade - the shadow of your own body if necessary.
The film indicator is provided to help your memory; choose a colour code for your films, and set the indicator straight
after loading.
Opening the Camera Back
Press together both spring locks and open the hinged back. When closing the camera again, make sure both locks engage properly.

The Rewind Key
To pull up the rewind key when loading the camera, push the small button on top in the direction of the arrow, to make the handle spring up. Then pull out as far as it will go.

8 Rewind key to rewind the film. The handle is open and the key pulled up.

12 Rewind button to release the film sprocket shaft when rewinding.

13 Winding knob to tension the shutter and wind he film.

18 Film counter

19 Film release to release the film transport lock when loading films or changing partly exposed films.

23 Spool peg for the film cassette.

24 Film guides
25 Film transport shaft with two sprocket wheels which have to engage into the perforations at both edges when loading the film.

26 Take-up spool

Inserting the Cassette
The protruding spool knob of the cassette must fit into the peg at the bottom of the camera. Then push back the rewind key - turning it slightly if necessary, and fold down the handle.

Turn the Take-up Spool
by the winding knob so that the longer of the two slots for the film points sideways. If the winding knob is locked, press the film release.
Thread the film end over the film guides and push well into the long slot of the take-up spool (arrow, centre picture). It is advisable to fold sharply the tapered film end by about 'h inch towards the emulsion side before in order to make sure the taking up.
Now close the camera back.
Turn the Winding Knob
until the full width of the film lies over the transport shaft and both sprockets engage in the perforation. Pay attention that the film is running exactly over the slide guide and is winding well.

Setting the Film Counter
Turn the winding knob until it locks (if not already locked). Then pull if up, and turn the counting disc underneath to set the letter F opposite the index mark. Push the winding knob back again, turning if slightly, if necessary, so that it fits snugly on fop of the counting disc. Press the film release once, and turn the winding knob until it locks. Repeat this once more. The index mark now points to No. I and the film is ready for the first exposure.

Rewinding the exposed film
After the last exposure, lift up the handle of the rewind key, but do not pull up the key itself. Then depress the rewind button, and turn the rewind key evenly in the direction of the arrow (right). During rewinding, the screw at the centre of the film winding knob will also turn. It stops when the film is fully rewound into its cartridge. Now release the rewind button, pull up the rewind knob, open the camera, and remove the cassette.

Partly exposed films
are easily changed at any time (e. g. black-and-white against colour). Rewind the partly exposed film as described, but make a note of the last number on the film counter.
When loading a partly exposed film, proceed in the usual way up to setting the film counter to No. 1. Then press the film release, and keep it pressed down while turning the winding knob until the film counter indicates the previously noted number. Now finish exposing the film in the normal way.

Synchronized Flash Shots
The SYNCHRO-COMPUR shutter makes if possible to take action shots with flash as the fastest shutter speeds up to 1/30th second. The flash can be employed either by itself, or combined with daylight or any other light. It is particularly useful for lighting up the shadow areas in against-the-light shots.
All makes of flash units - flash guns as well as electronic flash - can be used with the Synchro-Compur shutter.

Connecting the flash unit to the camera:
First fix the camera to the bracket with a tripod screw (left). The flash unit should be to the left of the camera so as to allow free access to the body release and winding knob. Some light-weight flash guns can be fixed directly to the detachable accessory shoe (page 24).
Then connect the special synchronizing cable to the flash unit and push the plug over the contact of the shutter (right). Get an expert to fix the cable for the first time to make sure that the wires are correctly connected.

The flash should reach its peak brightness just when the shutter is fully open. The synchronizing lever - and also shutter speed and aperture - must therefore be set to suit the type of flash in use.
Flash bulbs and electronic flash tubes differ in the time they take to reach their peak. They thus fall into several classes as shown in the table opposite. Set the synchronizing-lever either to "X" or "M", according to the flash used (see illustration). Then set the shutter speed according to the values shown in the table. Wind the shutter in the usual way, and the camera is ready for the flash shot. Look up the instruction leaflet enclosed with the flash bulbs or electronic equipment for the correct lens apertures needed.

Shots with the built-in delayed action release are only possible at the "X" setting and with the corresponding shutter speeds. The actual position of the synchronizing lever is immaterial as the "M" setting does not work when
is you use the delayed action release.
"X" Setting
the contact closes at the instant when the shutter is fully open.

"M" Setting
The contact closes a short time - corresponding to the firing delay of class "M" flash bulbs - before the shutter is fully open.
Electrical Details:
The outer pole of the flash contact is earthed to the shutter. To avoid wiring up the leads the wrong way round, get an expert to connect the cable to the flash gun the first time.

The flash contact will carry the firing current of all types of electronic flash tubes. When used with flashbulbs it will carry a temporary load up to 10 amps at 24 volts, thus allowing simultaneous firing of several bulbs connected in parallel. The longest permissible exposure time in this case is 1/10 second. 

 The flashbulb chart
The flash contact must not be used to fire bulbs from 110 or 220 volt electric mains.

Close-ups with Supplementary Lenses
Do not miss this highly interesting field of photography which so many amateurs seem to neglect. Large-scale pictures of flowers, butterflies and other animals, small "objets d'art", etc. can yield extraordinarily beautiful results. With the Voigtlander Focal lenses you can also copy without trouble pages from books, stamps, or small pictures. But be careful when using Focal lenses for portraiture as the pictures may easily show distorted perspective.

The Focal lenses shorten the focal length of the camera lens and thus allow the camera to approach the subject much closer, giving a larger image.
The focusing table.
Voigtlander Focal lenses in 47 mm. push-on mount are available for two close-up ranges:
Focal F 1 for distances from 31 1/2 to 17 1/2 inches, 
Focal F 2 for distances from 17 1/2 to 12 1/2 inches.

Working with Focal Lenses: - the close up chart

• Mount the camera on a tripod and approach the subject until its image in the tinder is of the desired size. Then push an F 1 or F 2 Focal lens - whichever covers the subject distance - over the camera lens mount.
• Accurately measure the distance from the front surface of the Focal to the centre of the subject. Look up this distance in the second or third column of the table opposite. The first column then shows the required distance setting for the camera lens.
• The Focal lenses have no effect on the exposure time. Longer exposures are, of course, necessary when stopping down.
• At full aperture the image is slightly un-sharp, particularly towards the corners. The definition improves on stopping down, and reaches its usual standard at f/11.
Owing to parallax the image on the negative is no longer exactly the same as the view in the finder, but is displaced towards the lens axis (see comparison
picture below).

Improve your shots with filters
Your Voigtlander lens will satisfy your most exacting demands on sharpness, but you can greatly enhance the mood or obtain special effects in your pictures with Voigtlander filters.

With a few exceptions, therefore, use a filter for all outdoor shots whenever possible. With filters the sky in particular - with or without clouds - will show up much more effectively. Do without a filter only when you need very short exposure times in poor light, such as sports shots in dull 2 weather, or fog and mist subjects.

Voigtlander filters are made of spectroscopically tested glass dyed in the mass. All surfaces are carefully polished and are absolutely parallel. All filters are supplied in a push-on mount (47 mm. diameter for the PROMINENT) and can be used together with a Voigtlander Focal lens or the lens hood or both.

Voigtlander Yellow Filter G 1
The pale yellow G I filter is recommended for all subjects where only a slight filter effect is desired or where the greater exposure needed with the G 2 medium yellow filter is not practicable.
The filter factors are 1 1/2 -2x for panchromatic materials. 2-2'/2x for ortho emulsions. In bluish light (in shade under a clear sky) this factor increased, with reddish light (low sun) decreased.
Voigtlander Yellow Filter G 2
This is a universal filter for all outdoor shots. It strongly shows up white clouds against blue sky, and increases the luminosity of fair hair, ripening wheat, or spring or autumn foliage. It is indispensable for snow scenes.
The factor is 3 x for all panchromatic emulsions, 4 x for ortho emulsions. Bluish or reddish light may again modify these factors (see above).
Voigtlander Orange Filter Or
This is an effect filter. It strongly subdues the blue of the sky, and lightens yellowish and reddish tones. With distant views it penetrates atmospheric haze. It also greatly suppresses skin blemishes of outdoor portraits.
The factor is 3-5 x for highly red-sensitive pan films, 5-6 x for correct panchromatic emulsions, and B-12x for ortho emulsions.

Voigtlander UV Filler
this filter removes ultra-violet radiation, particularly in mountainous regions. It still preserves the delicate atmospheric perspective with black-and-white shots without completely cutting out all suggestion of haze in distant shots. With colour film it reduces the unpleasant blue cast of such views, and gives a more nature colour balance.
Black-and-white films need no extra exposure with this filter; with colour films the factor is 1 1/2 x.

The Lens Hood
shields the lens against reflections caused by direct light when shooting into the light and further increases the brilliance of the pictures. The hood will fit the lens as well as the 47 mm. Voigtldnder filters and Focal lenses or combinations of the two.

The Voigtlander Frame Finder "KONTUR"
This finder is excellent for following fast moving subjects (sports, action shots, etc.(. It is ideal for photographers wearing spectacles. Keep both eyes open, while sighting the subject. The eye watching the subject directly will see it in its natural size and brightness, while the eye looking into the finder will see the frame outlining the field of view. The point in the finder shows the centre of the field, while a dotted line indicates the parallax error with close-ups. The finder fits onto the accessory shoe which - with the stop pin at the front - is first pushed over the fastening pegs on the top of the camera (right picture).

The Ever-ready Case
for the PROMINENT is made of best quality hide, lined inside, and fitted with a carrying and neck trap.

This case holds the camera even while taking pictures, without affecting its instant readiness for action, and has many advantages:

• When closed it shields the camera from the effects of bad weather, and in addition gives appreciable protection against damage through dropping or knocks.

•   The lid pivots in any direction. With upright shots it can not therefore swing accidentally in front of the lens.

• When using a filler and lens hood, these two valuable accessories will fit comfortably in the closed case. The lens hood is simply inverted over the lens mount for this purpose.

Aperture and Depth of Field
The depth of field of a picture is the part of the view in front of, and behind, the focused distance which is still reproduced sharply on the film.
This depth of field, is however, not constant. It becomes greater, the more the lens is stopped down, and if decreases the larger the lens aperture used. So remember:

Large apertures (e5 g. f/1.5 or 2) produce little depth of field.
Small apertures (e.g. f/8 or 11) produce great depth of field.

You can read off the depth of field (with 50 mm. lenses only) for each exposure from the rangefinder focusing knob. When the rangefinder is sharply focused, the A mark points to the exact subject distance. The focusing knob also carries two series of aperture numbers symmetrically grouped to the left and right. of the distance mark, with the distance scale
immediately above. The depth of field always extends from the distance above the aperture number chosen on the left to the distance above the corresponding aperture number on the 26 right. (The illustration above the section on Snapshots at f/8 on page 9 shows an example.)

Film Speeds - ASA & BS chart
Film sensitivities or speeds are determined by the makers in various ways and often measured by different systems. The table on the right gives a rough comparison of the more usual systems.

Films slower than 24 BS Log Index (20 ASA)
are extra fine grain films of the highest resolving power, allowing very great enlargement. They tend to be somewhat contrasty, and require accurate exposure.

25-27 BS Log Index (25-40 ASA) Films
are best for average subjects. They are fast and give fine grain.

Films faster than 290 BS Log Index (64 ASA)
are high speed films for occasions when the light is poor and the subject demands short exposures. Their high red sensitivity makes them particularly suitable for artificial light photography. Their grain is, however, somewhat coarser than with other types of film.

Remember: Every increase or decrease of 30 BS Log Index (double or half the ASA Index number) halves or doubles respectively the exposure required.

Care of Camera and Lens
Successful work and long life of the camera largely depend on correct handling and proper care. So:
•   Please treat the camera gently, never use force. If anything seems to jam, better re-read the relevant sections of this booklet.
•   When changing lenses, take great care not to get any grit (sand etc.) into the shutter.
•   Before inserting a film, remove any dust inside the camera.
•   Avoid leaving the shutter tensioned for days on end, particularly when set to 1/500 sec.
•   At the seaside, carry the camera in its closed Ever-ready case to protect it against windblown sand. Open the case only when actually taking pictures.
•   Never touch the lens surface with your fingers; fingerprints may spoil the definition.
• The surfaces, including the outer ones, of all lenses carry an anti-reflection coating. To clean the lens, use a soft sable brush or a piece of clean soft linen. Grease spots may be removed by careful dabbing with a piece of cotton wool moistened with alcohol.