Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Classic Film RangeFinders & Other Classics > 120 film RF Folders

120 film RF Folders 120/220 Format Folding Rangefinders, including the various classic Zeiss Ikontas, Voigtlander Bessas, and their Ruskie copies.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Agfa Isolette
Old 06-17-2012   #1
mgchan
Back To Film
 
mgchan is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 62
Agfa Isolette

I finally found time to get this Agfa Isolette folder working. I'd acquired it a few years ago and it was a mess. The usual problems with these old folders... the grease had turned to glue so it couldn't focus, and the bellows could've been used as a sieve. The kicker was the guide pins were broken off, so the lens part just flopped around and there was no tension on the bellows when it was opened. So it had just languished on the shelf collecting dust.

I'd used book cloth for both sides of the bellows, so it's a bit thicker than it should be and stiff. Since it's my first bellows, it's not exactly even and straight in the right places, but it does the job!



Here's a few shots from the first test roll using Ilford HP5:






When using this camera, one just needs to make sure to set the distance correctly


Plus to set the shutter before taking the shot instead of setting the shutter after each shot. Otherwise one can accidentally trip the shutter while opening the bellows
__________________
My Flickr / My Site
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-17-2012   #2
charjohncarter
Registered User
 
charjohncarter's Avatar
 
charjohncarter is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Danville, CA, USA
Posts: 8,848
I like the Agnar look. You solved the bellows problem, now what about the others were you able to unglue the glue?
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-17-2012   #3
emayoh
Registered User
 
emayoh is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 138
Be proud, you have brought wonder back into the world! Thank you for posting this AAAAAND with photos as well. That's how it's done!
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-18-2012   #4
mgchan
Back To Film
 
mgchan is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 62
All the problems were fixed. I'd re-lubricated it with lithium grease and re-adjusted the focus. It's a neat little folder. Very easy to carry around and use, even without straps.

I was very surprised at the results! I was expecting super soft photos.
__________________
My Flickr / My Site
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-18-2012   #5
graywolf
Registered User
 
graywolf is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgchan View Post
I was very surprised at the results! I was expecting super soft photos.
Amazing how much of that high price snobbery is BS, isn't it?

There is all kinds of internet wisdom out there that is just a bunch of dummies repeating other dummies who are repeating other dummies who are repeating someone who made it up.

My ex wife used to ask, "How did you learn how to do that? Oh, wait, I know you read a book". What she missed was: I read the book, then tried it. If it worked, I went through the hard work of learning how to use that knowledge. Many of the books I read were written my people who had never done what they were writing about. It is easy to read something an think you know all about it, but until you actually try to do it, you do not know anything, you are just repeating some idiot's opinion.

In the end, we only learn by doing, as you have with your Isolette. Hearsay is not knowledge despite what schools seem to think.
__________________
Tom
www.tomrit.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-18-2012   #6
mgchan
Back To Film
 
mgchan is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 62
Fixing and using this old school folder makes one realize that even a basic and inexpensive camera as this can produce wonderful results.
__________________
My Flickr / My Site
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-19-2012   #7
je2a3
je
 
je2a3's Avatar
 
je2a3 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 745
Good job with the DIY bellows + restoration, nice pics too!
__________________
Flickr
JE Labs
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-20-2012   #8
oftheherd
Registered User
 
oftheherd's Avatar
 
oftheherd is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,925
Looks like you did a great job with the bellows. Those old folders can still deliver great photos.

Would you consider a DIY on how you did it in the camera repair forum?
__________________
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-20-2012   #9
Thomas78
Registered User
 
Thomas78 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Düren, Germany
Age: 41
Posts: 785
The bellows look good and it looks like they are doing their job!

And nice pictures from the simple Agnar lens!
Which aperture are you using at it?

I am looking forward to use my Agfa Record with its Apotar lens which got its shutter release repaired last weekend :-)
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-22-2012   #10
mgchan
Back To Film
 
mgchan is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 62
Thanks for the wonderful feedback and comments.

I have short term memory, so unfortunately I don't remember the settings. For future shots I'll have to make it a point to write down the settings.

I was able to repair this camera from existing DIY links, but it may be fun to pickup another camera and document the entire repair process on RFF.
__________________
My Flickr / My Site
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-22-2012   #11
mgchan
Back To Film
 
mgchan is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas78 View Post

I am looking forward to use my Agfa Record with its Apotar lens which got its shutter release repaired last weekend :-)
Can't wait to see your pics!
__________________
My Flickr / My Site
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-06-2012   #12
HLing
Registered User
 
HLing's Avatar
 
HLing is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NYC
Posts: 276
The bellow looks great!
I came upon this thread looking for some tips on the agfa compact folder cameras. My friend just loan me on that she's never used. I think it has the same Aganar lens 1:4.5, 85mm. It says Vario on the ring. The shutter fires, but the distance wheel doesn't turn.
Any idea where to look for solutions?
Thanks!
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-06-2012   #13
Thomas78
Registered User
 
Thomas78 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Düren, Germany
Age: 41
Posts: 785
Most likely the grease in the focus helicoil has turned into glue after some decades. This is one typical weakness of old Agfa folders (mine had the same problem) together with bellows having light leaks.

You might find some information here:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=91170
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-06-2012   #14
HLing
Registered User
 
HLing's Avatar
 
HLing is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NYC
Posts: 276
Thanks Thomas for the info and the link to the thread. It looks and sounds a bit advance for me to do. Once again though, the Rangefinder forum had not just the answer, but such detailed how-to!
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-06-2012   #15
PMCC
Late adopter.
 
PMCC is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,027
This looks useful: http://www.davidrichert.com/AGFA%20rebuild/agfa.htm
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-06-2012   #16
farlymac
PF McFarland
 
farlymac's Avatar
 
farlymac is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 6,286
Welcome, HLing, to the wonderful world of Agfa/Ansco. If someone ever gets one that doesn't have a frozen focus, it's a rare thing. Or someone has worked on it recently. I just picked up an Ansco Speedex Special "R" (same as Agfa Isolette III), and it's in need of a total rebuild, such as what mgchan did to his. And someone showed me his Isolette the other day that had the bellows from a Zeiss Nettar for a replacement. It kind of tempts me to do the same, but the Nettar is in much better shape, especially since I just overhauled it. However, the "R" has an uncoupled rangefinder, and that's what is making me think about doing the swap.

And congrats mgchan on getting your camera repaired. You did a good job on the bellows for your first try. I still haven't gotten to that point yet, mostly because I have been able to seal most of my leakers from the inside with fabric paint. But I've got too many Agfa models now to get by with that much longer.

PF
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-06-2012   #17
roboflick
Registered User
 
roboflick is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 313
This was my first medium format camera. I love it, nice work with the rebuild


Nik
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2012   #18
chippy
foo was here
 
chippy's Avatar
 
chippy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 778
Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Welcome, HLing, to the wonderful world of Agfa/Ansco. If someone ever gets one that doesn't have a frozen focus, it's a rare thing. Or someone has worked on it recently. I just picked up an Ansco Speedex Special "R" (same as Agfa Isolette III), and it's in need of a total rebuild, such as what mgchan did to his. And someone showed me his Isolette the other day that had the bellows from a Zeiss Nettar for a replacement. It kind of tempts me to do the same, but the Nettar is in much better shape, especially since I just overhauled it. However, the "R" has an uncoupled rangefinder, and that's what is making me think about doing the swap.

And congrats mgchan on getting your camera repaired. You did a good job on the bellows for your first try. I still haven't gotten to that point yet, mostly because I have been able to seal most of my leakers from the inside with fabric paint. But I've got too many Agfa models now to get by with that much longer.

PF
i wouldn't want to destroy a decent camera in good condition to make another functional, its kinda like destroying history, one day, maybe not for many years yet but sooner or later they will be hard to get and you just destroyed one, to make another work (hyper... speaking). as Nik has shown making bellows is doable, kudos to him. there are bunches of tutes on how to make bellows and lots of books, its tedious and time consuming but quite doable, getting the materials is about the hardest, shutter curtain material (from places like microtools etc) for the inside and ultra thin for the outside is obtainable with some searching..bellows can be purchased from a few ppl as well..save the old camera, make some new bellows for a agfa


cheers
chippy
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2012   #19
farlymac
PF McFarland
 
farlymac's Avatar
 
farlymac is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 6,286
That's okay, chippy, I talked myself out of it already. However, I do need to flip the center element back to it's proper orientation. Thought I had it in wrong the first time, but man, does it give some weird results that way.

PF
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-03-2012   #20
elmarman
Bail out the Brits too !
 
elmarman's Avatar
 
elmarman is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: BRENTWOOD, England
Age: 82
Posts: 151
Hopefully I got this to work ! This is my 1956 Agfa Isolette III I was given by a Lady Camera Club member -- it has the 75mm f3.5 Solinar lens, Synchro-Compur shutter, un-coupled rangefinder -- I find it better for closer range photos to set a distance on the lens first, say 1.6 meter then set same distance on the rangefinder, line up the subject and 'sway' back and forth watching the two images -- when coincident I release the shutter !

Isolette III by pentaxpete, on Flickr
__________________
An 'Old Dog' but still learning 'New Tricks' !
Rangefinders: 1934 Leica II,1965 M2,1986 M6,1966 Werramatic, 1950-60's Zeiss Contina, Russian FED 4,1956 Agfa Isolette III, 1968 Mamiya Press Super 23.

Last edited by elmarman : 10-03-2012 at 04:22. Reason: URL did not work
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:37.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.