4 foldout Med formt cameras: Zeis Ikon Nettar 518, Franka Rolfix I, Agfa Isolette III
Hey guys. I just came across these fold out medium format camera`s and I`d really like to get one because they`d be very handy. But I really don`t know anything about them. Can you guys tell me which ones are good deals, what the best camera is, and if the more expensive Agfa camera is worth the price.
Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518/16 6x6 - Novar 75mm f4.5 and Pronto shutter firing at all speeds - - glass is clean and clear of fungus and bellows light tight with no holes. - $50
Franka Rolfix I 6x6/6x9 - Radionar 105mm f4.5 lens and Prontor S shutter firing at all speeds - glass is clean and clear of fungus and bellows light tight with no holes. Includes the hard to find 6x6/6x9 mask. - $85
Agfa Isolette III 6x6 - Apotar 85mm f4.5 and Pronto shutter firing at all speeds - glass is clean and clear of fungus and bellows light tight with no holes - rangefinder is aligned and working properly - $100
Agfa Isolette III 6x6 - with top of the line Solinar 85mm f4.5 and Syncro Compur shutter firing at all speeds - glass is clean and clear of fungus and bellows light tight with no holes - rangefinder is aligned and working properly. Includes original leather case with metal hood and slip on yellow filter - $175
I've got several Agfas. Plain basic camera. It just works. Remember your Sunny 16s and estimate the focus and you'r good to go. I think those cameras are way over priced though.
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The Solinar is a 4 element lens, i.e. a Tessar type. The Apotar is a Triplett. Tessars are way much sharper, especially wide open. I'd invest the $75 extra.
The big advantage of the Franka Rolfix is the fact that it provides a 6x9 option. I expect that the combination of the lens and the film flatness issues common to 6x9 cameras would mean that sharpnes wide open would be at best middling, but if you are able to enlarge 6x9...
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Just to complicate matters, I'm going to weigh in for the Nettar. The Novar is a basic triplet lens, but in my experience they tend to be triplets of good quality, and the Nettars are built like tanks---they're probably the most trouble-free of all folders.
The second Isolette with the rangefinder and the Solinar lens does sound like a winner, though---the lens is a big step above the triplets, and having an actual coupled focussing mechanism can be a pretty big deal in terms of the number of usable shots. That said, US$175 is a lot of money for a folder...
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Ya, $175 is a considerable amount of money, especially for somebody who's broke
The Nettar is sounding pretty good now, glad it has a good lens, and the price is cheap, and it might be kind of fun trying to judge the distances.
I have the Nettar you mention. It is a great camera with a good lens. You must estimate or measure the focus distance through. I got mine for $39 and it is worth every penny!
I love folders, but those prices are too high! Yes a brand new folder will set you back about $1000, here is a link to a guy that sells these cameras fully restored http://www.certo6.com/purchase I have used him, and he did an alright job for me.
Remember that if you buy a folder if will probably at the very least need a CLA, and it may need a bellows as well. A CLA and bellows replacement will run you over $100 if you buy a camera and it needs more than a CLA it is could get to be expensive.
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Maybe it's because I haven't had good luck with unrestored older cameras lately, but I'd rather invest $175 in a CLA'd camera from certo6 than $100 in a camera in unknown condition. I have a beautiful and restored Agfa Isolette (the simpler one, without a rangefinder but I do have the better Solinar lens.) Love the thing!
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I have to say of those options, I'd go for the Isolette III with Solinar.. I have a nettar too. The fact the yellow filter is with it and asuming it is in good condition is a major plus.
I have used this camera more often than all the other folders, I have collected.. It's sharp, light and so easy to use. They are keepers, once serviced properly. I use this for street shooting with no hassle and can happily carry it around all day.
If you think it is for a few years, it's worth it. Otherwise if you think this is a short term thing, the nettar is a great second place. IMHO.
Here is some results of a Solinar lens