Agfa Isolette I focusing problem, need help
Does anybody has any suggestion about how to loose the front cell of the Agfa Isolette I camera?
I just noticed the problem when I try to focus the camera, the front cell won't budge, I don't want to really force it.
This is typical with Agfa folders. A green grease polymerizes on the focusing threads and the lens sticks. Go here: http://www.apug.org/forums/showthrea...a+green+grease for a discussion.
First, remove the lens from the shutter.
You can soak in alcohol or acetone, although I apparently got lucky with a 2 day soak in acetone which didn't damage my lens. Tom Hoskinson has warned me that he's seen some lenses damaged by soaking the entire lens. Some people use drops of alcohol applied directly to the threads, reapplied periodically over time until it loosens up. In the thread above I think Tom Hoskinson gives a source for some wrenches that can be used to loosen the lens.
After separation, lubrication, and reinstallation, you'll need to focus the front element at infinity. I used a 6x9 ground glass made by Satinsnow for the purpose (I have several folders), but frosted cellophane tape or waxed paper stretched tight across the film plane will also work with a loupe to set infinity focus. After you're there, reinstall and tighten the focusing ring scale with infinity aligned to the focus mark. BTW, you shouldn't have to remove the set screws on the focus scale ring all the way on disassembly.
Jurgen Kreckel says nearly all Agfa folders need new bellows. He'll do new bellows and a CLA on the shutter and lens (including focus lube and reset) at reasonable cost. He's certo6 on ebay, and has a web site that will show up in google.
You're pretty lucky you didn't dissolve the cement between the elements with the actone. I use it when I recement lens groups.
I use a drop or two of penetrating oil to initially soften the solidified grease in a focusing mount. Works pretty quickly too. Then disassemble & relube.
So I've been told. Unfortunately there are some amateur web sites I ran across that recommend this as standard procedure without warnings. Rereading my post here, I should have been clearer about not recommending this method.
Originally Posted by John Koehrer
I monitored my attempt pretty closely, checking every few hours, but I still wouldn't be surprized to see some separation start up in the future as a result of my "work".
Last edited by Lee L; 11-02-2005 at 01:43 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Lee and Highpeak didn't tell us which lenses are on their Isolettes. But the Agnars and Apotars are triplets with no cemented elements. The less common Solinar, a tessar type, has the rear pair of elements cemented. So a soak in acetone could, but might not, damage Highpeak's lens.
Originally Posted by John Koehrer
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I just finished this proceedure with a Solinar lens and found that soaking in alchohol- and then naptha- didn't cut it for me. In fact it did a great job of lifting the black ink from the etched shutter speed markings and the words Synchro-Compur, but the lens was still solidly stuck after three days. What finally worked was a tiny drop of Liquid Wrench applied very carefully and then left alone - three times over two days. Rubber gloves and an occasional bout of manly grunting and the task was done! One small drop of oil wiped on the cleaned threads seems to have left it in good shape. That goop that I cleaned out reminded me of old rubber bands that have begun to rot away.
Magic Mending tape and a loupe worked fine for resetting infinity focus.
What worked for me was a heat gun an some pliers to grip the lens rim. My problem was separating the two front elements (my lens is a triplet, no cementing), where the green grease had solidified. Once the heat had loosened the grease enough I was able to force the thing open with 2 pliers. This is not for the faint of heart, and I did bend the rim a little by using the pliers.
Once the lenses were separated, I used kerosene, paper towels, and toothpicks to get the grease out.
Once again, I'm sure that there a better ways to do this, but I thought that I'd throw in my 2c.
Many thanks for the help and detailed info. I ordered spanner wrench from S.K.Grimms just now, time to dip into the DIY water, hope things work out fine.
I did some test shot with the Isolette, one of them came out really sharp, even though it only a agnar lens. I guess the distance matched the setting on the lens, which is 9 feet.
I really like these Isolette folders, well made and beautiful. I think my wife will go crazy when she found out I already had three folders. But so far I did a good job by telling her that I only have one, and she didn't notice the difference between Kodak tourist II and mokba 5, lucky me.
My Isolette has an Agnar, which performs very well.
Originally Posted by highpeak
The lens I soaked in acetone was a Solinar 105 from a Record III.
As for your wife ID'ing the bodies, this is probably the _real_ reason HCB and others decided to black tape their bodies.
Significant other: "You have HOW MANY Leica rangefinders?"
HCB: "Just this one with the black tape over any identifying marks."
My wife knows I have three folders, but she has long known the advantage of carrying multiple types of film ready to shoot. She also knows that I paid $7 to $25 for each before CLA.