Treasure found

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by esearing, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. esearing

    esearing Subscriber

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    While surfing the web on an unusually slow Friday I came across a sale of an Agfa Isolette for $350. Remembering I had an old Agfa stashed away I decided to dig for it. Mine was not the Isollette but the Planex. A mere $5-$25 camera.

    However the wollensak shutter is working and sounds right at all speeds, the lens is clear, and the bellows appear to be light tight. I'm missing the half frame mask but I can get 8 frames 6x9 on 620/120 film. There is some grime on the shutter that would not come off.

    Looks like a great little walking around camera that'll slip into a coat pocket. This is a folding camera from the 1920's. Nice art deco style and ribbed covering.

    Any one using one of these or similar cameras?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Search the site for "folders" and you should find a few relevant threads. These are great little portable cameras, just to carry around for casual shots or for travel.

    In medium format, I use a Voigtlander Perkeo II 6x6 and a Voigtlander Bessa II 6x9, and I've also got a Voigtlander Vitessa-L 35mm folder. Usually the Perkeo or the Bessa is in my briefcase.

    I've also found the perfect tripod for these cameras--the Linhof Report. It folds flat, and the legs snap in place, so it sets up really quickly (the bottom two sections snap in one position only, but the top sections also have locking collars, so you can use them to level the tripod on uneven ground). It was designed for use without a head, but you can add a little ballhead for ease of use. I usually use it with a Linhof Universal Ballhead 1.
     
  3. edz

    edz Member

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    Iso-lette-madness

    What kind of Isolette could that have been? I got my 5 year old daughter a "Jsolette V" last month--- I promissed her a folding camera but it took a bit of patience to get her a good working one since its for taking pictures and not just for the showcase--- via eBay and paid (including case) a whopping 2 EURO (Tutto Completto, my daughter even picked it up personally). This one is very clean and the optics are clear and clean... 2 EURO was a very good price but these cameras despite having cost over 18 Pounds Sterling in 1951, don't tend to be worth more than $10-$20 USD. today. The Isolette-III which has a rangefinder with the Apotar is worth a bit more... but hardly more than $25-$30 USD or so.
     
  4. esearing

    esearing Subscriber

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    I only wrote down it was an Isolette with a Schneider Lens. I didn't even write down the site where I saw it. Could it have been a modifed camera? Or a limited edition?

    I tend to surf randomly and go where the links take me. I run across all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff that way.
     
  5. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    $350 for an Isolette? :surprised: Was it gold plated? I picked one up for £5 (GBP) in a junk shop today. In excellent condition and fully operational.
     
  6. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    While it still sounds a bit high, a Super Isolette in top condition might fetch that price. There's one on Ebay right now for a Buy It Now of $400.00.

    I recently acquired an Iskra, which is similar to a Super Isolette or a Super Ikonta IV (I think). The build quality is not great, but it's a very capable camera.
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    $400 for an Agfa? No way would I pay that much. At that price, the bellows had better be in excellent condition, and the same goes for the lens helical -- two notorious problems with the Agfa Isolettes.

    My favorites are the Ikontas and Super Ikontas.
     
  8. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    My Grandfather gave me his old one when I was about 6 yrs old. My first ever camera.
     
  9. argentic

    argentic Member

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    The Super Isolette you mentioned has a Solinar lens. Another Super Isolette wit an Apotar is listed for GBP 3.50 !
     
  10. Glenn Mathison

    Glenn Mathison Member

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    I have an AGFA soliette (the 35mm folder) and it works great. Takes nice pics. The weird part is my wife bought it for me at a garage (junk) sale as a curio, for $6 Australian dollars. (About $4 USD)
     
  11. mfobrien

    mfobrien Member

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    Like quite a few on eBay, I suspect that the seller is just a nitwit and thinks the camera is a: worth a fortune because it's old, b: made a mistake with the decimal point, C: things some bidders are morons, and D: all of the above. I have seen sellers with Argus C-3s and starting bids of $100. Generally, if one gets $10 for a C-3, they are doing pretty well. Yet, it can be a very good camera if it's properly adjusted and the user knows how to shoot photographs. same for the Isolettes, and many of them suffer from frozen helicals, bad bellows, or bad shutters. I have 3 Isolettes, (1 is an Ansco Speedex -- same thing). Two of them work great. The other has something wrong with the focus.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Member

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    I found an Ansco Titan (yet another variation of the Isolette and Speedex) at an antique mall for $15. It had swiss cheese bellows and fungus in the lens, but felt pretty sturdy, and the shutter seemed to be firing okay. After cleaning it up and patching some holes with nail polish I ran a test roll through it. I was so impressed with the picture quality that I went out and found a nice, clean model (and it didn't cost a whole lot more). It's become my standard daytime camera when I don't want to carry much.

    The Titan has a f/3.5 90mm anastigmat lens. It's labeled Ansco, but I've read gossip that claims that the lens and shutter were built by Wollensak. One of my favorite features is the color coordinated DOF scale. It takes the standard 12 6x6, and fits into my back pocket like a stuffed wallet.

    After using the Titan for a while I found a clean Zeiss Ikonta 6x9 folder with a tessar lens (for quite a bit more money that the Titan). I really enjoyed using it also, but after doing some tests I found I really couldn't tell the difference between the lenses at up to 11"x size prints, so I went back to using the Titan. It's a little smaller, and I like square images anyway.
     
  13. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Here's a test shot from the Isolette I found recently. Shot with available light today at about 1.00pm, HP5 f5.6 @ 1/25, rodinal 1+50 @ 16mins 30secs. The camera has the Agnar 1:4.5/85mm lens. Looks a perfectly capable tool to me. The first attachment is a complete neg scan with nothing done but resizing for upload, the second is a zoom and crop to show some detail not evident in the first, again nothing done to it except cropping and resized for upload. The third is an even tighter crop. As is the fourth. I think this may become a 'carry everywhere' camera!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2004
  14. moose10101

    moose10101 Member

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    I've never seen an Isolette with a Schneider lens; maybe a retrofit. $350 is a bit pricey even for a Super Isolette.
     
  15. rjs003

    rjs003 Subscriber

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    Remember that it is the buyers that will determine the correct price for any camera offered on Ebay. I have seen some first time buyers go off the deep end and pay prices that were just plain nuts. $350. for and Isolette is a case in point. With a little effort this camera could be found at a garage sale for $15.