4 foldout Med formt cameras: Zeis Ikon Nettar 518, Franka Rolfix I, Agfa Isolette III

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Treymac, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Treymac

    Treymac Member

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    Hey guys. I just came across these fold out medium format camera`s and I`d really like to get one because they`d be very handy. But I really don`t know anything about them. Can you guys tell me which ones are good deals, what the best camera is, and if the more expensive Agfa camera is worth the price.
    Thanks.

    Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518/16 6x6 - Novar 75mm f4.5 and Pronto shutter firing at all speeds - - glass is clean and clear of fungus and bellows light tight with no holes. - $50

    Franka Rolfix I 6x6/6x9 - Radionar 105mm f4.5 lens and Prontor S shutter firing at all speeds - glass is clean and clear of fungus and bellows light tight with no holes. Includes the hard to find 6x6/6x9 mask. - $85

    Agfa Isolette III 6x6 - Apotar 85mm f4.5 and Pronto shutter firing at all speeds - glass is clean and clear of fungus and bellows light tight with no holes - rangefinder is aligned and working properly - $100

    Agfa Isolette III 6x6 - with top of the line Solinar 85mm f4.5 and Syncro Compur shutter firing at all speeds - glass is clean and clear of fungus and bellows light tight with no holes - rangefinder is aligned and working properly. Includes original leather case with metal hood and slip on yellow filter - $175
     
  2. Cruzingoose

    Cruzingoose Member

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    I've got several Agfas. Plain basic camera. It just works. Remember your Sunny 16s and estimate the focus and you'r good to go. I think those cameras are way over priced though.
     
  3. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    The Solinar is a 4 element lens, i.e. a Tessar type. The Apotar is a Triplett. Tessars are way much sharper, especially wide open. I'd invest the $75 extra.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The big advantage of the Franka Rolfix is the fact that it provides a 6x9 option. I expect that the combination of the lens and the film flatness issues common to 6x9 cameras would mean that sharpnes wide open would be at best middling, but if you are able to enlarge 6x9...

    Isn't Craigslist interesting:wink:?
     
  5. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Just to complicate matters, I'm going to weigh in for the Nettar. The Novar is a basic triplet lens, but in my experience they tend to be triplets of good quality, and the Nettars are built like tanks---they're probably the most trouble-free of all folders.

    The second Isolette with the rangefinder and the Solinar lens does sound like a winner, though---the lens is a big step above the triplets, and having an actual coupled focussing mechanism can be a pretty big deal in terms of the number of usable shots. That said, US$175 is a lot of money for a folder...

    -NT
     
  6. Treymac

    Treymac Member

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    Ya, $175 is a considerable amount of money, especially for somebody who's broke :sad:

    The Nettar is sounding pretty good now, glad it has a good lens, and the price is cheap, and it might be kind of fun trying to judge the distances.
     
  7. dentkimterry

    dentkimterry Subscriber

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    I have the Nettar you mention. It is a great camera with a good lens. You must estimate or measure the focus distance through. I got mine for $39 and it is worth every penny!

    Terry
     
  8. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I love folders, but those prices are too high! Yes a brand new folder will set you back about $1000, here is a link to a guy that sells these cameras fully restored http://www.certo6.com/purchase I have used him, and he did an alright job for me.

    Remember that if you buy a folder if will probably at the very least need a CLA, and it may need a bellows as well. A CLA and bellows replacement will run you over $100 if you buy a camera and it needs more than a CLA it is could get to be expensive.
     
  9. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Maybe it's because I haven't had good luck with unrestored older cameras lately, but I'd rather invest $175 in a CLA'd camera from certo6 than $100 in a camera in unknown condition. I have a beautiful and restored Agfa Isolette (the simpler one, without a rangefinder but I do have the better Solinar lens.) Love the thing!

    Mike
     
  10. Simplicius

    Simplicius Member

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    I have to say of those options, I'd go for the Isolette III with Solinar.. I have a nettar too. The fact the yellow filter is with it and asuming it is in good condition is a major plus.

    I have used this camera more often than all the other folders, I have collected.. It's sharp, light and so easy to use. They are keepers, once serviced properly. I use this for street shooting with no hassle and can happily carry it around all day.

    If you think it is for a few years, it's worth it. Otherwise if you think this is a short term thing, the nettar is a great second place. IMHO.

    Here is some results of a Solinar lens

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13111789@N00/sets/72157616560251626/
     
  11. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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  12. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    One thing that Jurgen says is that almost every Agfa he has come across needs new bellows, which he has not found to be true with Zeiss and Voigtlander rangefinders. In other words, for the $175, make REALLY sure that the bellows are good.

    I have also purchased a camera from Jurgen, it was a Zeiss Ikonta with no rangefinder but with a Tessar and a Compur shutter. It was $125 on eBay. It has been fantastic, but I sure would like a coupled rangefinder.
     
  13. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I have several folders and I love using them all. The coupled rangefinder is very nice but I also shoot a nice little folder without any rangefinder and it produces some extremely high quality shots using a very simple Klio (3 speed) shutter and a Nova (cooke triplet) lens. Although there is no rangefinder it is possible to zone focus and come up with some pretty decent shots. If you are not buying from someone like certo6 who cleans, lubes and adjusts his cameras before selling them I would avoid the Agfa cameras. Although their lenses are very good the bellows were not originally built from long lasting material so they very commonly have to be replaced.

    If you are just getting started the Zeiss Ikon Nettar is probably your best bet, they were very tough cameras and are usually in good condition even today. The price is decent and it will get you started with medium format folders without spending a fortune for the experience. You can always upgrade to some nicer cameras with more features later on if you find you like the experience. The price you have quoted for the Nettar off Craig's List sounds reasonably but you may want to give certo6 (Jurgen's E-Bay handle) a try. He may have something very reasonable available to get you started and if you get it from him it will certainly work.

    Good luck with the folders but be careful, they can be addictive. I own 7 of them and love using every one of them.
     
  14. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    It took a while, but I eventually managed to lowball an external rangefinder on eBay for a price MUCH less than the price of entry for a coupled-rangefinder folder. Well worthwhile IMHO.

    -NT
     
  15. chris00nj

    chris00nj Member

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    I like old folders. Here is a post I wrote on them.

    I vote for the Nettar as well. I have a couple Ikontas. They are good build quality and the only difference is the lens/shutter.

    Here is my review of an Ansco Speedex (Isolette I clone) with a triplet lens. Triplets are sharp stopped down. Without an auxiliary rangefinder, it's hard to guess focus at wide apertures anyway. The bellows needed to be replaced. They had tiny pinholes which weren't noticeable without shining a powerful flashing at it.

    Dennis at Cameraoldies is a good source for folders. I bought my new bellows from him.
     
  16. R gould

    R gould Member

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    I have a collection of old folders that I use all the time, from a 1938 Voigtlander Bessa 66 to 3 Ensigns, and I love them, use them all the time, and the only one I got with bad bellows was a Ensign where a previous owner had tried to get to the shutter and had damaged the bellows, trip to Custom Bellows and for around £20 pounds a new bellows fitted, in general I find bellows very rarely leak, with the exception of Agfa, who used some form of plastic for their bellows instead of leather, and they almost always need replacing,and I would'nt get an agfa for that reason, Richard
     
  17. premo

    premo Member

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    Have you looked at voighlander bessa"s? I think voightlander lenses bring a quality to the image all their own, which I like. I use voightars for preference.
     
  18. mabman

    mabman Member

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    I bought an Isolette III with the Prontor shutter and Apotar lens a few years ago from Jurgen. I like it, basic but solid. I haven't used one with a Solinar, but since I mostly shoot at f/8 or smaller with it, I have my doubts if I'd see a substantial difference.

    I have to say, if you compare with Jurgen's prices, $175 is pretty good for an Isolette III with a Solinar - assuming it's already had a CLA and/or new bellows. If not, and it needs one or both, probably not such a great idea.

    If it was me, funds were limited, and I didn't know what to expect from a folder, I'd say go for the cheapest option (except you have to estimate distance or get either an accessory rangefinder or a laser tape measure or something like that), and work up from there eventually. This assumes, of course, that you can fondle the camera before purchase - maybe open it and shine a small flashlight from inside the bellows to check for leaks. I wouldn't worry so much about Apotar vs. Solinar, frankly.
     
  19. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    A few days ago I bought an Agfa Isolette for a very good price. It has an Agnar 4.5 lens.
    The seller said that is in good working condition so that may mean that it has a new bellows. I have not received it yet but look forward to seeing it and using it. Even if it needs a new bellows it will be worth it since the price was right. $50 for a new leather bellows is cheap. Plus shipping of course. I just like older cameras. Most of mine are older than I am (57).:wink: