Cosina announces it’s killing off the last of Voigtländer’s 35mm Bessa rangefinder cameras

by Gannon Burgett

posted Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 5:42 PM EDT

Film is not dead. But little by little the niche is further being carved out.

Cosina has announced its decision to discontinue its 35mm Voigtländer Bessa rangefinder camera lineup.

Citing declining sales, Cosina — who has been manufacturing and marketing the Voigtländer brand since 1999 — has decided to discontinue the Bessa R2M, Bessa R3M, Bessa R4M and all accompanying lenses and accessories. This announcement comes just a year after Cosina pulled the Bessa R2A, Bessa R3A and Bessa R4A from its lineup.

Voigtländer Bessa R4M 35mm rangefinder camera

This discontinuation doesn’t impact current inventory, so if you’ve been looking at getting a Voigtländer rangefinder, now is the time to do so while they’re still on the shelves.

Since its inception in 1756 as an optics company, Voigtländer has gone through many ups and downs to arrive where it currently stands. Founded by Johann Christoph Voigtländer in Vienna, Austria, the brand quickly became one of the most respected names in the budding photography world.

In the mid–19th century, Voigtländer produced both the Petzval lens and the world’s first all-metal daguerrotype camera. The success of Voigtländer continued into the mid–20th century with the introduction of the world’s first 35mm compact camera with a built-in electric flash and the first zoom lens for 35mm still photography.

A modern Petzval lens for Canon and Nikon mounts designed and sold by Lomography

In 1956 the largest shareholder of Voigtländer sold the company off to Carl Zeiss. In 1973, eight years after Zeiss and Voigtländer merged, the Voigtländer brand was sold off to to Rollei. Nine years later, the Voigtländer brand was sold off to Plusfoto when Rollei went under. It exchanged hands one more time to Ringfoto in 1997 before finally being sold to Cosina, who has created and sold Voigtländer products since.

For a full list of the products being discontinued, head on over to Cosina’s announcement.