In many regards, the Voigtlander Bessaflex TM is the perfect fully mechanical film SLR (batteries are only needed for the meter): it’s small and light, sports a bright viewfinder and is incredibly straightforward to shoot with. Unfortunately, it debuted at the start of the digital revolution and was far from a commercial success. But what if it had debuted a decade or more earlier? Perhaps it could’ve sparked a manual focus lens revolution.
Cosina, who manufactured the ‘TM’ starting in 2003 (licensing the Voigtlander name), has a long history building cameras in a variety of mounts, for other brands. In fact, the Cosina CT-1 of the 1980’s – a camera the ‘TM’ traces its lineage back to – was also the basis for the entry-level Nikon FM-10 , Canon T60 and Olympus OM-2000.
So in theory, the ‘TM’, which stands for ‘thread mount,’ as the camera accepted Pentax M42-mount lenses, could’ve been tweaked to accept a wide range of other mounts. And had it come out in 1993 rather than 2003, perhaps it could’ve become the go-to body for folks looking to put their ‘vintage’ manual focus lenses to good use, via a modern-built, high-quality third party camera. And if that were the case, perhaps you’d still be able to find an affordable one today! If only…
Read more about this fascinating camera’s history, via our pals at KosmoFoto:
Read: – KosmoFoto – The little film SLR too far ahead of its time
About Film Fridays: We recently launched an analog forum and in a continuing effort to promote the fun of the medium, we’ll be sharing film-related content on Fridays, including articles from our friends at KosmoFoto and 35mmc.