Has anyone stripped down an AGIFOLD?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by steven_e007, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Hi,

    I have now collected 4 Agifold cameras of three different types. The latest version I have is the knob wound aluminium top plate uncoupled rangefinder. This was fairly easy to strip down and repair.

    The ones I am stuck with are the earlier UCR versions that are fabric covered. This is the type where you push the rangefinder sideways to open the camera. I have two of these, both with dodgy rangefinders (With the later version, when opened, the silvering of the mirror was just dust in the bottom of the housing...) I have semi silvered glass all ready to go - but just can't see how to open the rangefinder up. I suspect the fabric needs to come off, so was going to try some acetone on the adhesive, but just thought I'd ask if anyone has tried it before me, before I jump in and wreck it :wink:
     
  2. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    What's an Agifold?
    It's possible they used shellac to attach the covering. I'd try alcohol before I'd try the acetone. Something like A cake knife with a rounded tip & dull blade should work to help lift it. Start at an outside edge & work your way toward the lens.
     
  3. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    An Agifold is a 120 roll film, 2 1/4" square folding camera made by AGI of Croydon, England. During WW2 they made optical instruments and aerial cameras - after the war they copied the Reflex Korrelle (as the Agiflex) and then produced a whole series of folding camera and also a 35mm camera called an Agimatic. The camera division used the brand 'Agilux'

    They are interesting because everything was made on site in the factory. Raw materials went in, cameras came ot. Lenses, shutters, cases, everything was made by AGI. They are wierd, eccentric things - lacking the glamour and reputation of the German cameras. The first ones were very heavy and clunky (I have a feeling they were possibly designed for 116 film - but later adapted for 120. It is just that they seem to be about 25% bigger and heavier than they need to be...oh, and they have 90mm lenses). The later models were refined into a quite attractive and pleasant to use cameras.
    Due to the eccentricity of design, however, they don't seem to come apart like other cameras do!

    Thanks for the covering tip. Actually, I only need to remove the covering from the rangefinder - this also doubles as the bed release catch ;-)

    http://www.camerapedia.org/wiki/Agilux_Agifold
     
  4. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Hi Steve,

    I can't answer your question, but perhaps you could answer one for me, please! I have an Agifold of the sliding rangefinder type and find the shutter button action incredibly heavy due to the very complex linkage that looks as if it was designed by a committee and seems to work at a mechanical disadvantage. Is yours as heavy to operate? I'm still putting my first film through it (have been for a couple of months!) but I keep a cable release with the camera as that short-circuits the bits of the operating linkage that make it so heavy.

    Best wishes,

    Steve
     
  5. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Member

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    I've got an Agifold of the sliding rangerfinder type with extinction meter - it was my first introduction to medium format.

    I agree the shutter linkage can be a bit 'heavy'. In my case I just tripped the shutter using the little lever on the side of the lens - therefore bypassing all the shutter linkages! Afraid I can't help with how to take it apart though. Unfortunately the shutter mechanism on mine could do with some attention as it only really works at one speed. I use a Bronny & Mam. these days, the Agi has been 'retired'! :wink:
     
  6. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Hi Steve and Ian - I have several different Agifolds and I wouldn't say the release was particularly heavy on any of mine. In fact on the latest one it is very light. I have the latest one with me ( I am staying away from home this week for work) and have used it today. The others I can try out when I get home - but they've all been fired many tinmes to check the shutters (even if they haven't all had a film through them) -and I donn't recall noticing the releases being heavy to operate.

    Maybe your two linkages have been bent or are corroded or something?
     
  7. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Member

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    I already know from the poorly shutter speeds that the shutter mechanism on mine could do with an overhaul. The linkage from the shutter button seems free enough, perhaps in my case the actual trip mechanism in the shutter itself is also a bit stiff? Tripping the lever directly by hand would obviously allow slightly more force than using the shutter button, where the various cranks and rods can flex?

    Perhaps one day it would be nice to get it serviced, but I'm not going to go investigating the inside of the lens/shutter myself! Lol

    Best of luck with your problem of getting inside the rangefinder. :smile:
     
  8. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    When I stripped the later camera's viewfinder down (It isn't covered in fabric and doesn't double as a door catch!) I took lots of pictures. I intend to do the same with the earlier range-finder, when I work out how to do it...
    Later I plan to have a go at a shutter (!).

    I have a half formed idea about cobbling together an Agifold webpage, or something - after all, for such a common camera they have very little info on the net.

    Steve
     
  9. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    Lighter fluid works good on the covering.Little stronger than alcohol and won't attack the paint as bad as acetone.
     
  10. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Member

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    Sounds good - perhaps one day I will be prepared to open mine afterall?! Lol ::smile:

    Well if you do, don't forget to advertise the fact here! :tongue:
     
  11. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    As, when and if you get around to that (I know what it's like with all these littlle schemes and ideas!) I have a couple of printed adverts for Agifolds that I bought off ePay a while back. I'd be happy to scan them for you if they'd be of any use.

    Best wishes,

    Steve
     
  12. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    OK, for the benefit of anyone else who might in the future tackle an Agifold, I can now answer my own question:

    The range-finder (and presumably the viewfinder on the basic model) on the cameras where the assembly doubles as the door catch,is held in place with a single screw, accessed from above, under the covering.

    To remove the covering required alcohol (I used methylated spirit). Lighter fluid didn't touch it at all - does this indicate it is shellac?

    A very sticky, gooey mess it made, too. After that it was fairly straightforward to service the range-finder.

    PS. Still haven't noticed the shutter button to be stiff on any of my cameras. I reckon either the shutter or a bent linkage must be to blame...
     
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