Agfa Isolette I stuck at 8 ft

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by jaschiero, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. jaschiero

    jaschiero Member

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    I have an Agfa Isolette I with Agnar 1:4.5/85 lens. The aperture and shutter speed rings work fine, but the focus ring is stuck at 8 ft, I cannot get it to unfreeze. Any suggestions?
     
  2. lindyhopper

    lindyhopper Member

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    I would create a series of photographs called "Stuck at 8 Feet"
     
  3. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    :D excellent advice.

    Also when you close to f16 - I think it will cover up to infinity? There are DOF markings on lens...
     
  4. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Better yet, a series not only at 8ft, but at f8, and 1/8th of a second!

    Or you can take a look and see if the camera was dropped, check for dents along the lens. A dented lens may not turn. If it looks ok you can try warming the camera up, let it sit on a window sill for a bit and try moving it. Sometimes the older grease will loosen with a bit of warmth. And if you are really feeling up to it, you can try a drop or two of naphtha along gap where the focusing ring is. This isn't the best way as you can have the liquid and whatever dirt and grease it carries get onto the lens elements or aperture blades.

    Other obvious options is to send it out for a cla if it's an important camera to you, or you can try and strip it youself.
     
  5. Yeeski

    Yeeski Member

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    The lubricant used by Agfa for focusing helicoids dries out over time and locks the lens up. Do a search using the terms "agfa", "green" and "grease" for repair suggestions.
    the following link may also be of some help:

    http://www.rolandandcaroline.co.uk/repair.html
     
  6. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    NO--HELL NO!!!!!! Do NOT ever put this $h!t on anything photographic. Use a couple of drops of lighter fluid on the edge of the helical and wait a bit. Then wiggle the focus with a rubber pad for added grip. Repeat as needed to un-stick.
     
  8. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I brought an Ansco Speedex, cousin to an isolette, back to life with a week long application of napthta to the focusing helical after taking alluminum scale covering off.
    One or two drops of naptha per night from a small medicine dropper.
    At the end of the week, gripped the supposed to move part with a curved jaw slip joint pliers sized to fit best.
    Made a gentle but insistent tug, while trying not to squeeze the grip too tight.

    After it budged I pulled the helical out of the body track, and used the head of a pin to chace the last of the damned green goo out of the assembly.

    A tiny bit of moly white grease was then smeared across all three thread paths, and the front element reassembled
    On to re-collimate the lens focussing scale with the temporary mylar 'ground glass' one night.
    Done by looking at a distant streetlight down the road as a stand in for infinity on an otherwise moonless night.
     
  9. mnemosyne

    mnemosyne Subscriber

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    I would rather recommend you not to follow this suggestion unless you want to completely f*** up your
    lens/shutter unit.

    I have repaired several Agfa folders with frozen helicals and heat has always worked for me.

    First, take off the outer ring with the distance markings (three little set screws). Mark infinity position with
    a pencil on the black painted part close to the front element.
    Then carefully heat the lens/shutter unit with a hair dryer for several minutes. Take it easy, don't get carried away, the focus ring
    should be hot too touch, but you should not burn your fingers. From time to time, put the dryer away and
    try to move the helical with your bare hands. Use a piece rubber as a friction tool. I don't recommend
    to use a pair of pliers or similar, as you might damage the element or the threads by compressing thbrute force.
    It may take some time, but eventually the front element will unscrew.
    Mark the place where threads start to come apart and use the same position when reassembling.
    You can then clean the old lube out with a cotton bud/swab and your favorite solvent.
    Iso-propanol works well for me. Be careful and make sure you get nothing of the old glue/solvent on the glass, as you probably will not be able to remove
    it from there without damaging the coatings which are very soft. If you don't have access to professional helical lube
    you can use vaseline to relube the helical after you have cleaned out the old stuff.
     
  10. jumbosilverette

    jumbosilverette Member

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    Yes, lighter fluid seems to be the preferred substance for breaking down solidified green grease. Avoid WD40 as mentioned.
     
  11. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    I was joking, I did put smile on the end...but it looks like it was not obvious :\ ... sorry.
     
  12. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    No need to apologize. I reacted because my son shot some WD-40 in my OM-4 to unstick the grease in the rewind mechanism. It set me back nearly $300 to rehab my baby because of it.
     
  13. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    +1 on the lighter fluid. Worked on my frozen Super Speedex that was stuck on infinity.
     
  14. 2bits

    2bits Subscriber

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    Lighter fluid in combination w/ the hair dryer works for me. What Rick said regarding WD40!
     
  15. jaschiero

    jaschiero Member

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    I did laugh at the WD-40 comment :smile: It's not really a "special" camera to me, just a camera that's been sitting around. I'm working on the lighter fluid and letting it sit in the sun little by little, I feel a little wiggle now, so it seems to be working.
     
  16. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    Have fun! It is absolutely great fun. I have an old Isolette 1 I am practicing on. I decided it wasn't really worth much and so any damage done experimenting was free experience.

    My lens came out along with the focusing helical itself, which is not really supposed to happen. I put them both in a small glass bottle, covered the assembly with some Goo-Gone (which for all I know may be as bad as WD-40), and walked away for a month. When I returned the two pieces came apart very easily and all the old, green, goo cleaned out of the threads using only some Dawn dish soap, an old toothbrush, and some hot water. I have not yet re-assembled it, but, aside from a final lens cleaning, everything appears ready to go back together. I have been holding off until I got around to buying some real lens helical lubricant, but have just about decided to just go with a small dab of white grease and some q-tips.

    My next step is to construct a homemade bellows as the old one reveals more points of light than the sky at night. :smile: I have no idea whether it will work at all when I finish but I am having great fun with it anyway.
     
  17. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    If the holes in the bellows aren't too awfully big, you can paint them with black fabric paint to repair.
     
  18. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Black automotive type RTV gasket silicone rubbed into the corners that are really bad works works well, too. Bellows end up- a bit stiff but still close.
     
  19. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    Thank you. I will certainly give that a try.

    Likewise Mike. I will explore your idea of RTV silicone as well.

    Hmm, this little camera may be going sooner than I thought! :smile: