West-Germany: VOIGTLÂNDER:1959-1969:

Voigtländer was founded as early as 1756 in Vienna, Austria! It later moved to Germany, and by 1862 the company had produced 10.000 camera lenses. Shortly after the photographic camera was invented, they also produced cameras. This was around 1840. In the 1920s came the production of 9x6 cameras, and by the end of the 30s they were into 35 film cameras. Lens number 4.000.000 was produced in 1955. Their first PP SLR, called Bessamatic, was introduced in 1958 and on the market in '59. To follow the Bessamatic, Voigtländer introduced worlds first slr zoom lens, the 36-82/2,8 Zoomar in 1959, but avaiable from '60. They produced four different Bessamatic 35 PP SLRs from 1959 till 1969. From 1965 on, Zeiss Ikon AG, who had purchased a majority share in 1956, was gradually taking over, and In 1965 the two companies merged. That same year the Icarex was introduced, based on a Voigtländer construction and first named Zeiss Ikon-Voigtländer Icarex, later with only the Zeiss Ikon logo. 

In 1973 Zeiss sold the name to Rolleiflex, who could do little with the brand, other than make a near copy of the Rolleiflex 35, called VSL-1 and VSL-2, produced, like Rolleiflex, in Singapore. With decreasing sales, Rolleiflex had to close in 1982. After that, the Voigtländer brand was sold to trade companies before Cosina took over and produced some non PP SLR Cosina Bessamatics from 1999.
Voigtländer of West-Germany introduced this Bessamatic in 1958, market available from 1959.. As the other west-germans, they were not really matching the japanese and sold their cameras mainly in western Europe. Still no IRM (Instant Return Mirror), but like most west-german cameras at the time, it had a selenium meter for setting shutter/aperture values. 141x103x47mm, weight:935 grams with lens. Sn: 81373.
The Bessamatic had a selenium light meter in front and an visible arrow/circle in the viewfinder. To get the correct exposure, set the shutter time on the lens, turn the big dial to the left until the arrow hits the circle and push the trigger. A simple system, and the best at the time. The weakness being that the metering did not tell you what light values that was reflected from the motive itself. The TTL metering, presented by Asahi Pentax one year later, was the answer.

1965: Icarex:

Voigtländer was taken over by Zeiss Ikon AG in 1965. Before then, Voigtländer had developed this camera, known as Icarex. It was replacing Contarex as Zeiss' PP SLR flagship, but it came to an end in 1972.

Zeiss Ikon Voigtländer on the back of prism house.
The Icarex 35 of 1965.
The CS version with light metering.

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13.05 | 14:20

Sadly not found the Ricoh XR-7 / Sigma SA-1 / Sears KS-2 camera(s) on the site. They could be produced by Cosina as well, but I have no information about this.

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21.04 | 21:14

For an explanation of the penta mirror, please see the page "Some Definitions".
My definition of PP SLR also include the penta mirror cameras.

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21.04 | 19:28

More about Pentaflex: Probably a penta mirror, which is a lighter, less expensive, a bit darker and simpler edition of the penta prism. Text will be corrected.

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21.04 | 12:20

Hi, Information about this camera is scarce and often differing. What is your source? Anyway, thanks for your help. Does anyone else have information about it?

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