An old folder to try?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by xtolsniffer, May 22, 2014.

  1. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    Hi all,
    for MF I have an RB67 which I love but which is a bit of a beast to carry around on the off-chance of getting a picture or two. I recently saw an article about using an old folder, with some nice images and thought it would be something fun to try but I know very little about them. I can print monochrome up to 6x7, so would be looking for something 6x7, 6x6 or 6x4.5 ish and not too expensive, does anyone have any recommendations? I sometimes come across them in junk and vintage shops (usually as an interesting 'display' piece), and am reasonably competent at dismantling things (not so good on the reassembly side) but any pointers as to what to be careful of would be welcome as well.

    Ta!
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I can't think off-hand of any early folding cameras that shoot 6x7, the usual formats were 6x9, 6x6 and 6x4.5. You'd be looking at Plaubel Makina etc for 6x7 and they tend to be expensive.

    Some of the 6x9 cameras can also shoot 6x6, you might find an Ensign 820 which has a decent post WWII coated Xpres lens and there's plenty of Ikontas around in various formats, most important is the quality of the lens. I have a 6x4.5 Ikonta with a Novar but although the lens looks excellent is in fact too soft and low contrast to use, something with a good clean Tessar would be better and make sure the shutter's smooth at all speeds particularly the slow ones.

    I see a lot of good working folding cameras at camera fairs all very capable of making great images and at relatively low prices. I paid £2 for a post WWII Zeiss Ikon Nettar with a coated Novar, aside from the fact that the black paint is flaking off it has no trace of wear and tear.

    Ian
     
  3. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    There are literally hundreds of old cameras for sale here in Shanghai. The used stores are just full of folders, TLR's etc. I just dont know which models are good, what price is fair, etc. This place could be a shoppers dream if they know what they are looking for. Sadly, I dont.
     
  4. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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  5. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    There are plenty of Zeiss Ikon Netttars and Ikontas around from the late 1930s which are very cheap. Novar lenses are usually good when stopped down a bit and Tessars are generally excellent. Klio shutters are usually in good usable condition (Klio is Zeiss Ikon's name for a Prontor shutter) and at the price not worth servicing.
     
  6. nanthor

    nanthor Subscriber

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    One of my favorites is the sturdy Zeiss Ikonta Super B 6x6 folder with 2.8 tessar lens, rangefinder linked focus, winder that stops at each frame. They are beautiful beasts that can make stunning images. Not really small enough for a pocket, maybe a large jacket pocket. They used to be expensive but I've seen some OK ones for <$200 recently.
    Another winner is the Agfa Super Isolette or it's twin the Ansco Super Speedex. Both have great lenses, 6x6, nice VF/RF's, RF focusing (I think it's a must for convenience), high quality cameras. Good luck, old folders are lots of fun to use, inexpensive, an produce wonderful large negatives that can be scanned on just about anything. Bob.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2014
  7. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    Great advice, really helpful, thanks everyone!
     
  8. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Ok, what Zeiss folder exists that is 6 x 9, has a rangefinder, and a coated lens? What field of view lenses are available for something like that?

    Cost under $200?
     
  9. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    If you cannot manage 6x9 and 6x6 will do and you don't want to spend a lot but still want high quality results then you could do a lot worse than an AGFA Isolette. Search on eBay, there are several on there right now...

    Then there is the very amazing Voigtlander Perkeo II BUT expect to pay more than you would for the AGFA...

    RR
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2014
  10. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    I actually quite fancy having a go with 6x6, I know I can obviously crop my current 6x7 but I like the idea of being forced into thinking about composing within a square format.
     
  11. Arcturus

    Arcturus Member

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    For 6x6 I can highly recommend the Voigtlander Perkeo II. They usually come with a Color Skopar lens (coated Tessar) and a Synchro-Compur shutter, an excellent combination. It's also tiny and easily fits in my back pocket. The down side it that it doesn't have a rangefinder so it's zone focus or you can get an accessory rangefinder. It's great if you need something 6x6 and very portable.
     
  12. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    I vote for Agfa Isolette with Solinar lens, pref., later models that have better bellows otherwise go for Zeiss Ikon Ikonta or Voigtlander.

    My personal preference is one without a range finder.
     
  13. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    I'm actually getting the hang of zone focussing - luckily I'm quite good at estimating distances, and have been using an Olympus Trip recently and have more focussing hits than misses, so lack of rangefinder doesn't worry me too much.
     
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  15. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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  16. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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  17. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    super ikonta C --- may not find a really good one for that price, but go another hundred and you should be able to.
     
  18. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I have a Perkeo II (6x6 Color Skopar) and an Ercona II (6x9 CZJ Tessar), acquired along the way from certo6. Both are quite capable cameras. The one shock on picking one up is that after today's nearly-empty plastic point&shoots, they feel heavy; they're actually made of metal and glass! But they are certainly lighter than my Bronica SQ-A, especially when it has the 110mm macro lens attached.

    As I recall, each set me back around $200, but from certo6 that means you have a CLA and they are ready to use. The rangefinder equipped folders tend to be the most recently made (even thought it might be 50 years ago) and top of the line models, so they are a bit more dear to purchase. There are a few that have heavy collector status and can be a bit hurtful toward the wallet

    (Besides showing the cameras and a few samples, those pages have links to other examples.)
     
  19. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    Certo6 on ebay, linked in a post above recently had a very nice Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 523/16 6x6 on ebay that didn't sell for $130. It was near mint with the F3.5 novar and a prontor-s shutter top speed of 1/300. He CLA's all of his cameras before he sells them, I bought my Ikonta 521/2 6x9, and Franka Solida 6x6 off of him and they are both excellant cameras. If you contact him he may still have that 6x6 Ikonta available. I don't know how quality control across the board was on the Novars, but I'm pretty impressed with mine even wide open.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2014
  20. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I own an old Franka folder I bought from an APUG member and will say that it is an interesting piece of gear and fun to use, but challenging. What I've learned about folders is: Buy a postwar model with a coated lens, buy a model with a coupled rangefinder if you want to work with any sort of speed and precision, and buy one with a good Tessar lens or equivalent in a shutter with plenty of speeds. (Mine has a coated Schneider Radionar triplet lens and no rangefinder. It has three shutter speeds and "B," which is a little limiting. The lens is adequate for small enlargements.) If you can find a 6x9 camera with an insert mask for 6x6cm, it's a good bonus.

    Most of the German folders take 120 film, but watch out for the Kodaks. They were made to take 620 film, which was rolled on a slightly different spool and is not available in its original form today.

    I'll second Certo6 as an excellent source for information and cameras. I bought a folder lens in a shutter from him that was exactly as described. Be prepared to pay good money for a good camera, as always.
     
  21. wy2l

    wy2l Member

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    I also recomend www.cert06.com.

    Where Jurgen gets his cameras is beyond me... my latest theory is Jurgen has a time machine,
    and just dials it back 50-60 years, and grabs a new folder, and then sells it.
     
  22. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

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    Depends what you want to spend. Ikontas are way more expensive than nettars. I have a nettar in minty condition that I really enjoy using. It has the 4.5 novar triplet lens which is still really good stopped down a bit see below

    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=74606&catid=member&imageuser=35532

    The good thing about the nettar is it is really easy to service. Lens elements come out easily just watch the position of the front element when you unscrew the front so you can get it back in the same position for focus. The whole shutter comes off by removing the retaining ring inside and you can then dunk the whole shutter in cleaning fluid. Mine was stuck solid when I got it and now works perfectly.

    And they are cheap. Easy way to carry 6x6!
     
  23. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I wouldn't bother buying a model with a rangefinder - coupled or not. Using scale focusing is easy, very fast and more than accurate enough. My technique is to imagine myself lying down on the ground repeatedly between me and the subject - I am almost exactly 2 metres tall. Over 8 metres/4 body lengths (25 feet) it really doesn't matter much - just call it infinity.

    Once you haver mastered that, using a rangefinder is just more trouble than it is worth.
     
  24. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    Neither my Ikonta or Franka has a rangefinder, and I'm getting pretty good at estimating distance. If it's real critical or I'm using a large aperture I'll step off the distance, luckily my stride is darn close to a yard. One nice thing about Ikontas is that there is a marked hyperfocal setting. Set the red dot on the lens, and ret dot on the aperture scale (about F11) and everything from 13 feet to infinity is in focus. Everything over 45 just set to infinity.
     
  25. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

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    There is on my nettar too
     
  26. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    FREE RANGEFINDER FOR ANY CAMERA

    It's more accurate than most too as the "eyes" are further apart than those on cameras...

    http://tomchuk.com/misc/rf/

    RR