Bad eBay MF Folder purchase-Bellows source?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by wilsonneal, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    Hello folks
    To participate in the MF Folder month I acquired an Agfa Isolette that was "excellent" on eBay. The camera's got bad bellows and a bad shutter and the focus is jammed. I have read several articles on restoring folders and think I will be able to get the focus unjammed and the shutter firing again, but the bellow is beyond me.
    Where do you think people like Juergen get their new snappy bellows for these little folders?
    Thanks for any suggestions.
    Neal
     
  2. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    thanks. guess i will have to make them.

    :smile: Neal
     
  3. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Not to rub salt in your wounds or mine, but I doubt the existence of good MF folders, especially Agfas. Excepting, of course, the expensive fully-restored ones.
     
  4. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    it'll probably be cheaper to buy a good one from Jurgen
    I was lucky to buy one in great shape from an APUGER

    but it is hard to find good one sin ebay
    the ones from before the war are the best since the bellows is leather and that lasts longer
     
  5. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    You could do it yourself or you could have Jurgen (www.certo6.com) do it, or just buy one from him.

    Folders are touchy and don't age very well - sounds like you got scammed - I hope you left appropriate feedback!
     
  6. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Juergen makes his own bellows.
     
  7. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    http://stores.ebay.com/frendakfurnari_W0QQssPageNameZstrkQ3amefsQ3amesstQQtZkm

    This seller use to post lots of new old stock unused bellows. I think many were Kodak items, though with a little trimming fit nicely on an AGFA or Balda. I bought several 6x9 sized bellows from him to restore some of my folder cameras.

    http://stores.ebay.com/Genuine-Japanese-Goods_W0QQssPageNameZstrkQ3amefsQ3amesstQQtZkm

    Some tools and general items. Choices vary a bit each couple weeks. Grease is proper type for focus repairs. You can also try MicroTools.com, though more expensive.

    If you can find a block of Sorbathane or similar rubber pad, that can give you the leverage to pull apart the frozen lens cell part. Sometimes soaking in 99% alcohol can unstick the old grease. Worst case for me was soaking in alcohol, then lighting the assembly, which causes the alcohol to get sucked in between the elements; after several repeats and trying to unscrew the elements with a rubber pad, they finally came undone; then I was able to clean everything and reassemble.

    Some websites might list using pliers or even a screw on clamp to unstick the frozen focus ring. Doing that gives an easy method of causing damage. It might work for you, but it is higher risk than using the friction of a rubber pad for uncrewing the frozen parts. Another good pad source is an artist supply store that has a rubber pad to use for screen printing.

    Shutters usually only need light exercising, or light cleaning. If it is beyond that, missing parts, or has something broken, try to get another lens/shutter unit.

    I doubt many folder cameras are in good shape anymore on EBAY. They might look okay, or display okay, but using them is another matter. All the ones I have required restoration in order to function, though they now still work great (oldest is a 6x9 restored five years ago).

    Last idea I have for cheap bellows is a Polaroid camera. These usually have a sythetic bellows that is really tough and usually in good shape. If you go this route, the bellows are larger than you need, so cutting the entire thing down to size would be necessary.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
  8. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Don't know where Juergen gets them, but Camera Bellows in the UK (www.camerabellows.com) will do them for you and have a good reputation.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  9. buze

    buze Member

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    Well, more for us who go past this "common knowledge" about them, and ignored it.

    I've read plenty of these opinions about folders being lame, unsharp, leaking light etc etc.

    However I did most of my favourite photography with folders this year, so it's all your loss and my gain :D

    I have 3 Iskras, 2 Moskva 5, one Agfa Super Isolette, one Agfa JSolette 5, one Franka Rollfix II, 2 Zeiss Super Ikonta C .... And no light leaks. A friend just sent me his Iskra for a light leak, but I'm already quite sure it's not the bellows...

    ... http://www.flickr.com/photos/buze/tags/folder/ ...
     
  10. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    A lot of folders don't have coupled rangefinders, and sometimes none at all - which requires "zone focus" and with a normal lens, this can be difficult if you don't stop it down quite a bit.

    I have heard good and bad things abotu them - though they seem to be a great option if you want a MF camera that is very portable and won't cost a lot. (Even the restored ones)
     
  11. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Folders can b ereally good, and couple rangefinders are overrated!
    A Tessar can give excellent results if you know how to use it.
     
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  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One of my first good pictures was shot with a folding 35mm camera - a Welta Welti with 5cm f:3.5 Tessar lens. Guess focus at 53cm, wide open. I think I was 10 years old at the time.

    Since then I've always had a weakness for the small compact folders, both 35mm and 120.
     
  14. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Ah flea-bait strikes again. Buy another from a reputable person instead and junk that one or fix it yourself. They are plentyfull and cheap, why spend a ton of money resorecting a dead horse? If the glass on this one is better than the next, swap it out. Soak the shutter in some naptha over night to free it up, it probably needs a good cleaning anyway. Are you looking for a working camera at a reasonable price? I can put you in touch with a lady that has tons of cameras for sale.


     
  15. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Buze, some of us luck out, others don't. I have a small pile of problematic Ensigns, a dud Agfa, a couple of sick Retinas, a dead Bessa 66. Can't speak for you, but clearly it takes me a while to learn from experience.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  16. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Most of the folding cameras have been sitting in a box in the garage, attic or cellar and probably will need some kind of work.

    With eBay, I expect the worst and hope for the best. I also try to avoid cameras that others have repaired, because they invariably do something bad that you first have to decipher and then try to undo.
     
  17. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    Out of curiousity which seller (or how much should I say) the Agfa cost you? When looking up folders online you always want to see if either the seller says it, or if you ask about bellows, shutter, haze/fungi at the least, because most folders on ebay will be in that condition. For minor bellow such as pinholes and such, you can always use bellow cement, or something flexible like electrical tape in little peices on the inside.
     
  18. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    The name of the seller is unimportant. There are SO many sellers that are selling junk that the sellers who are selling good stuff are the ones to watch for. I paid $10 for the hockey puck and $10 shipping. I left negative feedback, after having received no response to my complaint, and the seller exploded in an angry email.

    This camera's bellows were peeling and cracking. This was not discernible in the fuzzy photos. The viewfinder glass is cracked. The shutter is inoperative below a 50th. It's filthy. The camera's description was "excellent" with "clear glass" and "functioning perfectly" from a seller with 100% positive feedback.

    I have become disillusioned with eBay. After 9 years and about 100 transactions, the frequency of crappy deals in the last 18 months has escalated to the point that I think I am done with it. When it first started there was something about the community that fostered honesty. Now it seems people are selling crap and hoping to get away with it. And people are reluctant to post negative feedback, because of retaliatory feedback, so they don't tell the truth or they don't post at all. So there are people with 100% positive feedback ratings that have actually sold junk. Anyway, at least in this instance, future buyers will know that this seller's descriptions are too generous.

    I now prefer dealing with APUGers. I've bought and sold successfully here because, for now, the close community fosters the same kind of honesty that once existed on eBay. I hope it lasts.
    Neal
     
  19. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    I only ask because my store sold a Agfa Ventura III (looks just like an isolette to a degree) that went for over 300$ despite myself making it very clear in the auction that the camera had a number of pinhole leaks in the bellow, and broken rangefinder knob, etc. Our ebay ID is thecameracenter , just wanted to make sure you wern't THAT buyer lol, tho seems everyone was clear of the condition of the camera, but for some reason the agfa stuff was in season.

    As far as seeing more and more 'crappy deals', there are also a much greater deal of people using ebay over the years, both good and bad. It requires more effort on both parts now days to find exactly what you want, including asking a number of questions.

    I also wrote this article to help avoid possible scams or traps on ebay, with some common red flags. http://www.thebokeh.com/-article/21/
     
  20. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Huh? Please give us the name.
     
  21. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    No, it wouldn't be sensible to give the seller's eBay handle, out of context, in this forum. It might even open me up to further complications and I don't have any appetite for that.

    What I meant in my post about saving other future buyers from this seller is that my 'feedback' on eBay in conjunction with this transaction was a clear message to others shopping for a camera that this seller did not use accurate descriptions on the camera. I was explicit that it was a camera that was poorly described. Any future seller who reviews this seller's feedback will go into the transaction knowing what is what.

    I hope that makes sense to you, Dan.
    N
     
  22. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    You do realize you can file for either a refund or "partial refund" because it falls under the category of "Item not as described", meaning you could still keep it, but demand a partial refund because of the ammount of money you'd have to put into it to get it fixed upto the standards described by the seller. Besides no harm in mentioning the seller, its standard pratice to be able to look the guy up in the future anyways.

    As a business we need to treat our ebay storefront the same as a brick and mortar, that is to say, if you wouldnt sell a camera to someone in person stating everything is fine when its not, then why would you do so online. Anyone who does such online, I feel no sympathy towards them if some disgruntled buyer decided to let the world know, though the acusation of such is usually taken with a grain of salt in either direction.
     
  23. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I have a set from him languishing in drawer from back when I thought I might have the patience to do bellows replacements. If someone needs a specific size I would be happy to look.
     
  24. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    I'm doing that now with a drum scanner. They make you jump through a bunch of hoops, and with a drum scanner, there are no repair places to take it to, to prove that it really is damaged. It's such a huge PITA that they expect you to just give up and take the loss. Even if you can prove that the seller is not telling the truth about something else, they don't care. They have their script of what to do and when to do it, and that's all they want. I fully expect that even after complying with their wishes to have the scanner inspected that I will not get my money back.