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Agfa Isolette III

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alexvaras
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Agfa Isolette III

Postby alexvaras » Thu May 10, 2018 4:03 pm

Some months ago I found an Isolette III with case in the local market, original bellows and focus ring and rangefinder super hard to move.
After some digging I found H. Kerensky web site (thank Hans) the HOW-TO do this camera so I took it and started to work on her. Everything went ok, the original grease was solidified (and green) so it took me a while to clean it, but new bellows were needed, I asked around and it was 50₤ no less... I tried to do them myself but it ended more similar to a potato than any other known thing.
So I started digging again and I found that the Kershaw folding cameras share the same body, montage and measures than Agfa's Isolletes, even the 4 screws to take out the rear plate/holder (something not possible on Ikontas, Japanese cameras or Voigtlanders) so bellows can be installed as they should. I found one with a fungy lens, easy auction, for a 1/4 of the price of asking for new bellows, the seller checked the bellows before anything and he checked right!!
Now the Isolette III has leather bellows and my Nettar 518/16 the case I was looking for her :)

Here its the camera finished.
FullSizeRender.jpg


And now the results from the test roll, some at the kids playground, focusing purposes and parallax errors (my bad, I can't remember)
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Detail of the tools in case of fire.
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Some flowers.
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Heading to the lab, this pic was taking 1/10 at 4.5, without tripod.
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So now I have a competitor at home for the Perkeo II and the Nettar 518/16, the advantage of the Isolette III is that it has rangefinder incorporated (non-coupled).

Thank you for watching.
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GrahamS
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Re: Agfa Isolette III

Postby GrahamS » Thu May 10, 2018 5:28 pm

Bravo Alex!! What a wonderful restoration. To top it all, the image quality and tonality are superb. I especially like the first image in the "Some flowers" series. Again, congratulations.
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“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain

Julio1fer
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Re: Agfa Isolette III

Postby Julio1fer » Thu May 10, 2018 8:45 pm

Another great folder, and restoration! The results look very good. Is this an Apotar or Solinar lens?
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alexvaras
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Re: Agfa Isolette III

Postby alexvaras » Fri May 11, 2018 12:25 am

Thank you Graham and Julio.

Julio1fer wrote:Another great folder, and restoration! The results look very good. Is this an Apotar or Solinar lens?

Solinar.
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Re: Agfa Isolette III

Postby Julio1fer » Fri May 11, 2018 8:07 pm

I suspected Solinar from that f/4.5 shot. Pretty steady hands for 1/10!
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Re: Agfa Isolette III

Postby scott » Fri May 11, 2018 8:34 pm

I have to say, the quality of inventory at the local camera shops in Russia is superlative...
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PFMcFarland
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Re: Agfa Isolette III

Postby PFMcFarland » Fri May 11, 2018 10:29 pm

An excellent job of restoration, Alex, and some lovely test photos to go with it.

PF
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alexvaras
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Re: Agfa Isolette III

Postby alexvaras » Sun May 13, 2018 2:55 am

Thank you Julio and Phil, the used technique was the front (forehead) held, I read it somewhere and it works, put de camera face down with the finder being the lower part and the body is help by your forehead and hands, nice handling that way, maybe a little practice at home for just do the clicking without moving the camera, but once you get it you can shoot at 1/30 - 1/10 nicely.

scott wrote:I have to say, the quality of inventory at the local camera shops in Russia is superlative...

I haven't bought any camera from any shop, only Perkeo II and Medalist II were from Ebay, the rest were second hand market (websites) and talking with these sellers about what they dont have on sale yet.
Months ago there was a grandson selling the cameras from his grandfather who was "amateur" (Zeiss Ikon pre and post war, Rollei planar, Linhof and some others)
Now Im in touch with a man about 50s whose father in law pasted away... I have been in this man's house, he took something from the father in law to his home to do inventory and started to sell, so far he has about 150 photography items for selling (the Hasselblad, 28mm and 40mm for LTM came from him). And month ago he took me to the father in law house to 'take a look'. Now imagine a house absolutely full of all kind of cameras, lenses, holders, films, parts, you name it. All stores had something, this person lived literally for taking pics (I was told he was a volcano photographer specialist). Two large fridges full of films, all sizes. We could not figure out how this person could live in this house...
My next target, and on this I need your advices, is to go a make a list of the large format cameras he has and which would be better for me to start with.
Normally the shop which sell second hand charges 20% of the selling prize, thats why only if the equipment has been checked and declared in good used condition its safe to buy. The usual second hand market works as following... You see the item, phone the guy, do some questions, bargain if its allowed and then agree on a meeting, normally INSIDE the metro, easiest to go back home and never had a problem (and safest depending in area is doing the selling), you inspect the item, if you like it, you pay it and bye, no chance of getting back to the seller saying you forgot to check something and now at home you saw it and bla bla, sold its done. Normally it takes me 5-10 mins to inspect without any rush, and this is a lot of time for a Moscovite :D
Only on local auction websites and photograph forum markets you can ask for a devolution.
This is my way to get cameras here :D

Alex
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GrahamS
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Re: Agfa Isolette III

Postby GrahamS » Sun May 13, 2018 4:47 pm

Good grief!
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PFMcFarland
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Re: Agfa Isolette III

Postby PFMcFarland » Sun May 13, 2018 10:28 pm

Sounds like the buying part is quite an adventure, Alex.

There are many things to think of when purchasing a large format camera, mainly what size do you wish to work in. You can limit yourself to just 4x5, or get a camera with interchangeable back standards when you want to switch up to a larger format. But starting out you might just want to stick with the basics, and go 4x5.

Now, you need to determine which kind of camera. If you are planning on doing a lot of studio work, a monorail type camera with front and rear standards that have all the movements is good. If you plan on doing a lot of outdoor photography, then a field camera is the ticket, as it can be folded into a much easier to haul around package. If you don't need all the movements of the standards, then a simpler camera such as a Graphic/Graflex can be employed. It's good for general usage both indoors and out, and closes up for transportation with the lens still mounted, and can even be used handheld with a roll film back (the different camera models usually have either an attachable Kalart rangefinder, or one built in).

Thirdly, one might want to make sure their camera has a Graflok back so they can rotate the film holder from landscape to portrait, and back again.

And investing in a good tripod is essential, no matter which style camera you get. Tripods built for 35mm cameras are not substantial enough for holding a view camera. You need to make sure the head has a big enough plate to distribute the weight of the camera better, and that the legs are not made of some flimsy material. A bag hook on the bottom of the central column is always good to ad stabilization to the rig, especially when the wind picks up.

Now you need a lens. Here is where the fun starts. Some cameras have proprietary lens boards, so if you buy a lens that is already mounted on a board, you need to make sure it will fit your camera. If you buy a lens without a board, you need to make sure that not only will the board you get will fit the camera, but that it has the proper hole size for the lens/shutter assembly. If your camera comes with a mounted lens and shutter, then most of the decision is taken care of. But is it the right focal length? "Normal" lenses for 4x5 are usually in the 125mm to 200mm range. Wide angle are anything below 100mm, and telephoto is above 250mm. You'll notice the gaps between ranges, and this is because you need to take in consideration the coverage of the lens. While you may find focal lengths made to fit in those gaps, they might not have the coverage needed for making movements, so more than likely you'll come across more common lengths such as 90mm, 127-135mm, and 300mm.

Bring a strong short flashlight with you to check the bellows for light leaks.

PF
Last edited by PFMcFarland on Tue May 15, 2018 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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