Voigtländer is an optical company founded by Johann Christoph Voigtländer, Karin's great, great, great uncle, in Vienna in 1756 and is thus the oldest name in cameras. It produced the Petzval photographic  lens in 1840, and the world's first all-metal daguerrotype camera in 1841, also bringing out plate cameras shortly afterwards. It set up a branch office in Germany in 1849, moving its headquarters there later.

Over the next three decades, Voigtländer became a technology leader and the first manufacturer to introduce several new kinds of product that later became commonplace. These include the first zoom lens for 35mm still photography in 1960 and the first 35mm compact camera with built-in electronic flash in 1965.