Agfa Isolette II - wrong lens?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ContaxRTSFundus, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. ContaxRTSFundus

    ContaxRTSFundus Subscriber

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    Hi folks. OK I admit I'm a Mamiya medium format fan but someone has just given me an Agfa Isolette II with a flash and I'm bemused. I checked on the model and 3 lenses are listed as standard variants. However, the lens I have is not; it's an Agfa Solinar 4.5/85 with a Synchro-Compur shutter. It's certainly not covered in the instruction manual and is significantly different from the 3 standard lenses.

    Do any of the wise heads here know much about this odd beast? :confused:
     
  2. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~yue/misc/AnscAgfa.html says the 85/4.5 Solinar was the high-end option on the Isolette II and III up until 1956; and Juergen Kreckel's price list at http://www.certo6.com/buy.html mentions the combination but says "very RARE".

    Tessar type, as far as I know. It should be good---no one seems to have a bad word to say about Agfa folders except regarding the bellows. (Bellowses? Bellowsen?)

    -NT
     
  3. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Agreed with ntenny. I think that's the nicest lens/shutter combination you can have on the Isolette II. Assuming the front standard is aligned correctly, it should produce great results, especially using the middle apertures.
     
  4. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Green with envy
     
  5. ContaxRTSFundus

    ContaxRTSFundus Subscriber

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    Thanks guys for the clarification and the links.

    I'm not sure what to do about this delightful camera - the slow speeds are pretty poor so the Compur shutter needs to be cleaned. Glad to say that the bellows are substantial and intact and the glass appears clear. I'm not sure who can clean this in the UK so it's rather a distraction at the moment - I may end up just selling it. But definitely NOT before putting in a roll of Velvia and seeing what she can do...
     
  6. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I have a different model of Isolette that I was considering re-doing to use as a walk around camera; I contacted Richard Ritter who said he could CLA and replace bellows for about $150-175 (£100-125 but don't quote me on the prices). I thought it was reasonable to bring a dead camera back to life. About 6 week turn around.
     
  7. ContaxRTSFundus

    ContaxRTSFundus Subscriber

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    Hi Kevin, thanks for the suggestion.
     
  8. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Assuming "slow" speeds means below 1/25 or so, I think you can ignore them for many realistic uses. I have Compurs on which the slow-speed escapement is totally dysfunctional, and it doesn't seem to affect the faster speeds at all.

    I don't know about you, but I can't consistently handhold the slow speeds anyway, and if I'm going to carry around a tripod I'm probably using a TLR or large format rather than a folder. I wouldn't worry about it if the camera is otherwise OK.

    -NT
     
  9. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Posted wirelessly..

    One of the beauties of these folders is that with a microtripod (I have a 7 in. Manfrotto that I use with a Perkeo), you're armed with a formidable combination for ultracompact medium format work. I've hiked with them and taken really great landscapes with very little impact on pack weight. If you see yourself doing something similar then get the shutter cla'd. If not, then ntenny is totally right, you won't handhold at those speeds.
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I agree. Whilst it is nice to have it working through the whole range, a sticky slow escapement will not affect the faster speeds.

    I have a Zeiss folder in this state which works perfectly at 1/25 and faster but sticks on the slower speeds.

    The best feature of these cameras is their portability so if you consider it as a compact carry around camera which will always be used hand held, the slower speed problem doesn't matter as the speeds appropriate for hand holding are still o.k.


    Steve.
     
  11. epavelin

    epavelin Member

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    If you decide to keep it, Newton Ellis in Liverpool (see their website) do a good job of servicing and cleaning these old folders.

    Ed.
     
  12. ContaxRTSFundus

    ContaxRTSFundus Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for all your contributions - they're much appreciated. Isn't it marvellous that a camera which is over half a century old can still generate loyalty and - most important - take great photos.

    I wonder how many of today's cameras will stand such a test of time?