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Bellows for an Agfa Isolette III 6x6
Old 12-15-2018   #1
DavidX
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Bellows for an Agfa Isolette III 6x6

Hi - I'm currently using a Nettar 6x6 and a Lovely Isolette III 6x6

The Isolette is magnificent, but it had been sitting for many years in a collection before it came to me, and it needs bellows.

I live in Adelaide, South Australia, and am not having any luck finding bellows or someone who can fix them.

Suggestions would be very welcome.

Thanks!
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Old 12-16-2018   #2
lynnb
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If the bellows of the Isolette I with 80mm Agnar lens are identical, you can probably find one of those very cheaply.
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Old 12-16-2018   #3
Kai-san
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Sandeha Lynch makes excellent bellows:


http://sandehalynch.com/camerawork/bellows.php
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Old 12-16-2018   #4
sebastel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai-san View Post
Sandeha Lynch makes excellent bellows:


http://sandehalynch.com/camerawork/bellows.php
add one vote
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Old 12-16-2018   #5
narsuitus
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I was able to find high-quality replacement bellows for my Ansco Standard Speedex 90mm f/4.5 120 medium format rollfilm camera (folder) at:

sandehalynch.com


Replacement Bellows by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 12-16-2018   #6
Barry Kirsten
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I bought a bellows for my 4x5 Linhof several years ago from Rudy at ecbuyonline (ebay). I believe he also makes bellows for folders and for custom sizes on demand. He seems to be highly regarded and would be worth an enquiry. Prices very reasonable and in my experience quality excellent.
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Old 12-16-2018   #7
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I have successfully replaced two worn out Agfa Isolette bellows with products from sandehalynch.com. I think (don't quote me) I paid $75 for the last one. The quality is excellent and the little instruction pamphlet provided with the bellows is very helpful in completing a successful replacement.
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Old 12-16-2018   #8
DavidX
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Thanks for the responses everyone! It seems Sandeha is my man. I did try emailing him a few days ago, as his was the first name that came up when I googled the subject generally, but have not heard back. Great to have these recommendations. I'll persist! And now I have Rudy to try as well.

BTW - My Isolette has the 75/3.5 Solinar and that lovely shutter. Apart from the bellows it's perfect, and I think it is probably the best camera for my current needs at any price! (As I sometimes do in-camera panos) If only I could also do multiple exposures... I'll look a bit further and see if there's a way of overcoming the lock
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Old 12-16-2018   #9
Steve M.
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That Solinar is a good lens. All the Agra folders have excellent lenses, even the 3 element Agnar.

Those bellows are beautiful, but a little pricey. My usual way of doing this is to buy another Isolette w/ a good bellows and swap the lens/shutter assy, but since you're in Australia, unless you can buy your camera near you, the shipping will probably make this too expensive.
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Old 12-16-2018   #10
DavidX
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Update - Sandeha replied to me immediately, but my system seemed to eat his email. I've now ordered my bellows!

Here's a link to an Instie shot of my lovely Isolette https://www.instagram.com/p/BoqG9SJjfoh/
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Old 12-16-2018   #11
Barry Kirsten
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Lovely camera and lovely shots, David.
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Old 12-17-2018   #12
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Cheers Barry - More than shop scans I prefer making my own, to try and recreate the mood. Here are some from from a recent bike trip: (but on the Nettar not the Isolette)

https://spark.adobe.com/page/1Tk68F5cKDJVw/

Clearly - these scans are what I have called "wincingly bad" and I have left all the dust etc in, but they really resonated with others who had ridden the same trail as I but were not photographers. It was an interesting lesson.
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Old 12-17-2018   #13
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veeery nice photos.
i also like your bicycle.

and - you make me consider colour again. isn't portra a lovely film?

cheers,
sebastian
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Old 12-17-2018   #14
Joao
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Posting this too late....

Some tips here

https://pheugo.com/cameras/index.php?page=folders

Other alternative: Find an old non-functioning Kodak 66 . They usually have an intact bellows and this can be used to replace the Isolettes'.

Regards

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Old 12-17-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sebastel View Post
veeery nice photos.
i also like your bicycle.

and - you make me consider colour again. isn't portra a lovely film?

cheers,
sebastian
Thank you.

Portra scans so nicely - and I find the 400 works really well in 120. For some reason the relationship between the grain and the frame size seems just right.

My new bellows are on their way!
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Old 01-15-2019   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidX View Post
Update - Sandeha replied to me immediately, but my system seemed to eat his email. I've now ordered my bellows!

Here's a link to an Instie shot of my lovely Isolette https://www.instagram.com/p/BoqG9SJjfoh/
That is a lovely Isolette! I have the Ansco Speedex Special R version of that one. Everything on it was frozen solid, but Zacks Camera Repair did a great job freeing it all up and plugging the pinholes in the bellows. I also have a near mint Isolette II (with pristine leather case), but the focusing helical is totally stuck with that abominable grease Agfa used. Im saving up to get that one CLAd.

Stan
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Old 01-16-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai-san View Post
Sandeha Lynch makes excellent bellows:


http://sandehalynch.com/camerawork/bellows.php
(For anybody using 6x9) he provided me with an excellent bellows for the Agfa record III.
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Old 01-16-2019   #18
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My new bellows are installed and the camera is beautiful. "Like new" said the tech who installed them.

The tech, who is a very good one, was most impressed by the quality and fit of the bellows made by Sandeha Lynch.

Thanks for all the help and comments.
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Old 04-12-2019   #19
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Dear all,


Although the OP is now happy I thought I would chip in as I have just seen the thread; I have probably now changed about 20 Isolette bellows now. Sandeha's bellows are indeed excellent and wonderful value. Custom Bellows in Birmingham UK are also great but more expensive; they can take time to reply and it is better to try and phone, though they are only open in the morning. This is the the same company (via a staff buyout) who made the original bellows for most of the classic folders in days gone by.


The one thing never to do is to buy another Isolette to get the bellows from; almost all Isolette bellows were made the same way and the failure points will be the same, the sharp folds down the four corners. As one poster already said the Kodak 66 is a good source of high quality bellows which do not have the Agfa problem; another lesser known one is the Kershaw 110. Nether of these cameras are as good as an Isolette but they have much better bellows.

Occasionally "new old stock" can also turn up at fairs and on e-bay and most 6x6 Ensign, Balda etc. bellows can be used though some were made for 75mm lenses so appear quite tight on an 85mm Isolette when open; this isn't usually a problem however.

There is much discussion on line about repairing Agfa bellows and the general consensus is that you can't, as new holes spring up. The truth is that good repair is impractical unless you are willing to take the bellows out; and if you are doing that then you may as well replace them. This is indeed the best logic if you have an Isolette III with a Solinar but it is probably not cost effective if you have and Isolette I with an Agnar; in that case please read on.

If you do have the bellows out, then the job can be made easier by removing the brass lens plate, this makes the bellows easier to manipulate. Start by applying some sort of black gloop on the inside of the bellows along the length of the corners (front to back), I tend to use opaque acrlyic paint, work it in well and "play" the bellows a little to even the paint out then let it dry. I then do similar on the outside using black "liquid tape", for economy's sake you could probably use the black acrylic paint again. Once this is dry I run a piece of bookbinding repair tape (such as Filmoplast P) down the four edges and into the folds such that all four corners are reinforced and the tape bends with the bellows. Once this is done I paint the tape and bellows with the black acrylic..

You could stop there, it should work but may not be pretty, but if you have some very very thin fabric (or even paper) and spray adhesive you can apply a decorative layer on top of the bellows. This will not only make them look good but it will help hold the tape in place. However it must be very thin, otherwise the final bellows will be too thick. This part is much easier if you have removed the brass lens plate though just remember to put it back after.

Hang on, you say! All those bits cost money, as much as new bellows perhaps! Yes, but improvise, you have nothing to lose; maybe masking tape will do (I have never tried) or some other paper tape as long as it is thin; electrical tape is possible but it is thick and makes the bellows stiffer. Maybe you have some other sort of black flexible paint; the only trick is to fill the holes as much as possible and then reinforce everything and then add another layer of black. I economised on buying book binding tape by marrying a librarian but the same benefits could probably be obtained more easily.

Give it a go, what have you got to lose and Sandeha is always there with new bellows if it doesn't work! Just remember to keep it thin or live with an always open camera.
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