Saturday, 23 March 2013

An Agfa Isolette has laneded

Recently a package arrive from a friend that was giving away a number of Agfa  Isolette cameras. I put my name down for one, not quite expecting to have my name pulled out of the hat. As it turned out not that many people were interested. The cameras were advertised as not tried and tested so you could end up with one that may not be in proper working order. However they are easy to repair if there is a problem.

 As it turns out, the one I have does not have any faults that I can find apart from needing a major clean. It has the dustiest insides I have seen in a long time with the bellows being full of fluff.  I have carefully cleaned it out using compressed air and a damp cotton bud. Having first earthed myself to reduce the static in my body. The lens was slightly dirty which has been gently cleansed with lens fluid on a cotton bud.

The Agfa Isolette was introduced in the 1950. It produces a 6x6 negative making it a member of the 120 medium format family. The camera pictured is an Isolette 2 With the press of a button the front flips open to reveal an 85 mm Apotar 1.4,5 lens that shuts down to F22 and has a shutter speed range from B to 200 hundredths of a second.  For a completely manual camera it is well designed and sophisticated, even by today’s standards. It has a number of features that shows its quality, firstly with a film holder that flips out of the camera back to allow the easy installation of a new roll. A shutter lock on the winding mechanism that can only be removed by advancing the film, helping to prevent double exposures. Although the lens has a focus ring it is not a range finder and therefore distances have to be guestimated. A range finder device was produced as an extra that clipped into the shoe on the top. It's compact size makes it just right to slip into the pocket of a gentleman's jacket, although the all metal construction makes it a little bit heavy for comfort.

With all the cleaning and checking done, all that remains is some good weather so the camera can be put through its paces.