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  1. #1
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    Agfa Isolette II focus-please help!

    I have an Agfa Isolette II that will not produce sharp pictures. I put a ground glass on the film plane, had the camera a given distance from a well lit object and focused the lens and nothing happens!. It stays slightly out of focus. I moved the gg back off the film plane and about an 1/8" and it comes into focus. The camera, is in almost mint condition and does not appear to be damaged. The front standard looks as if it is square and it snaps tightly into position. The camera has a 3-element Apotar lens and a Pronto shutter. An exapmle with a Prontor shutter can be seen here
    http://homepage.mac.com/mattdenton/p...olette_ii.html

    There are shims behind the lens/shutter that appear to be factory and I would assume it was adjusted at the factory. There is not enough room to put another shim 1/8" thick back there. These cameras are quite popular and are are known to have produced(relatively) sharp pictures. How can the focus distance be off by such a great amount? One other thing, the front two elements are housed in what appears to be an adjustable carrier. Could the distance between the front two elements account for such a big discrepancy? I'm stumped.
    To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. #2
    blaze-on's Avatar
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    I don't know how the front configures exactly, but I have a Super Speedex Special "R" (Isolette III) that Jurgen Kreckel CLA'd and put a new bellows on. He's kinda pricey but he really knows these cameras...

    www.certo6.com

    You may also try inquiring with "our" own Carol Miller at
    www.flutotscamerarepair.com
    Matt's Photo Site
    "I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin

  3. #3
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Have you had the lens serviced? I would guess that you've read about the green Agfa grease polymerizing and seizing the focus threads, but if you haven't, that's something to investigate.

    You can take the focus ring off by loosening (you don't need to back them all the way out) the three set screws around its perimeter. After that, you can set the focus to infinity on your GG, then reinstall the focusing ring with the infinity mark at the focus reference mark. If you can't move the focus threads, you'll need to clean up the grease and re-lube.

    I've seen Isolettes that appear to focus with the external focusing bezel ring, but it's just been slippage against the frozen internal focusing mechanism, which is not moving.

    Lee

  4. #4
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    I cleaned the focus threads and they operate smoothly. The focus is out of the range of the threads. By that I mean you can adjust it all day long and you dont get close to the actual point of focus. Still baffled.
    To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5

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    Any chance that someone had removed the lens and loosened or did not reseat the lens elements?

    --John

  6. #6
    Lee L's Avatar
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    I'm not clear what you've done on the front elements, so I'll throw this out. I apologize if you've done all this correctly, but I can't be certain of that from your description, and it's probably best not to assume.

    There are two elements in the front, and two sets of threads. The outer set of threads seats the lens in the shutter, and that contains the rear element in the front pair. That needs to be screwed in firmly and stay put. Moving the front element relative to the second element using the smaller internal threads is how you focus. Is that how you are set up?

    If so, then you should be able to set focus at infinity by moving only the smaller cell with the single front element, then reinstall the focusing bezel. If not, you need to loosen the threads between the two front elements and re-lube so that you can focus.

    BTW, you look remarkably like a young Chuck Close. Isn't that painting in the Minneapolis Institute of Art?

    Lee

  7. #7
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    Lee you are the man! (assuming you are a man, my apologies if your a woman).
    This makes all the sense in the world. Yes, I am screwing both elements in and out and not moving them respective to each other. I knew someone here would have the answer. I will loosen the other set of threads, and reset the focus. I'll check back when I get it.
    As for point #2 I do not look like Chuck but my avatar plays one on the internet. Yes, that's an early Chuck Close. I love the irony of how small that photo is compared to the original. Chuck's work is awesome. I've seen some in Chicago but never been to MIA.
    Thanks for the help.
    To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  8. #8
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Glad to help.

    IIRC, that original painting is somewhere close to 8 or 10 feet tall. You can easily see how he copied the shallow DOF from the original photo.

    Good luck getting the Isolette going, you'll like it a lot. The photos I get from my Agnar are really very sharp. I was so happy with my first $7 Isolette that I bought a Franka Rolfix 6x9/6x6 with a Schneider Radionar and an Agfa Record III with Solinar at the next local camera show for $25 each.

    Lee

    (BTW, not that it matters much except to my wife, I'm male.)

  9. #9

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    I guess my suggestion was not that far off......Glad it is solved.

  10. #10
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    The super-adhesive, otherwise known as Agfa Green Grease, strikes again...
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

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