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I think there's no section for these cameras yet...
and most of them are rangefinders indeed, isn't it ;)
I recognize I have never used one of these cameras, but surely some of the folks out there have had some experiences with them, and surely they will be kind enough to share a bit with us, avid readers :D
Anyway, the Matanle's chapter about folders is enough to start dreaming about Ikontas, Bessas, Perkeos, Isolettes, Nettars... MF cameras that fit in your pocket (big pocket, nonetheless...)
Experiences, suggestions, recommendations... ? ;)
I've always wanted an Agfa Isolette... Either a III or a Super...
You may find this link useful:
Thanks ! It is a very nice article indeed !
couldn't resist and took a look at the auction site... if you're lucky you can get a nice one of them for less than it costs to gas up your car... *
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2954034151&category=11717 (less than 9 hours left...)
* Depending on the country and car model :)
I got a Moskva-5 It takes pretty pictures, and cost me $60 from someone who rebuilds them in Russia.
Its finish is behind the times (even for the 50's) and the chrome is rough, parts rust, but the lens is very nice, and the shutter accurate, I've no light leaks. Film flatness seems decent, too.
I often recommend folders, rangefinders or not, to those who seem interested in MF photography, but don't know what they want, how much they want to spend, and probably not if they really want MF other than they have heard it is cool (it is or course :-] ). Some had pretty good lenses, some had 6x6 and 645 together. Not a bad way into MF at all. If someone then wants a MF camera with interchangable lenses and backs, the folder remains as a backup.
Does anybody here carry a MF folder as his/her daily MF camera ? I thought it would be nice to "always" carry one small Bessa 66 or Voigtlander Perkeo in the small bag where I always bring my wallet, keys, etc.
Anyway... for "relaxed" MF, I think I keep going with TLRs, composing on such a big screen really makes the difference... but please don't report this to the moderator :p
in the small bag where I always bring my wallet, keys, etc.
You mean a purse? ;-)
Yeah, I think it's the name, hehe... here it's becoming the more fashionable item for men nowadays...
I think we've realized why women always carried them up and down, after all, you can put there all those small things that always get lost in your pockets...
Now we have place where at least these things can get lost toghether ;)
And the Zorki 3M fits perfectly, yep... too bad purses don't make things "ligther" :p
I own a Zeiss Ikon Nettar: neat little bugger... without a rangefinder. In fact, you have to use your "eyemeter" and deal with three weird shutterspeeds: 1/25, 1/75 and 1/200. There's no stop for the film winder, so you must be careful and check the exposure number through the small red window on the back. As meterless cameras go... this one has a fairly impressive DOF. I've used it only once, though. Reason: the scale is in feet, and I really cannot judge distances in feet as I can in meters (I was born in a country with Decimal system).
But this thread is making me think... A good walk in the morning, a meter around my neck, a first metering and all the rest of the exposures are adjusted by aperture. Sounds like a walk on the wild side!! :p
No problem with the red window, I'm used to it on my Lubitel...
the feet scale is another thing, though, I'm watching closely the auction site for good deal on a Voigtlander Perkeo. Unfortunately, most of the "bargain" folders have no rangefinder, so you have to rely on distance estimation and DOF... but that's just what I used to do with My Lubi, and I got some pretty nice results... :cool:
Francisco and Taffer! Can't convert feet to meters? Divide by three. Unless you are at the shortest end with the widest aperture (probably even then), it will make precious little difference that there is an extra 3 point something small inches between 3 feet and 1 meter. That is how I have always done it and it worked fine.
Convert feet to meters? ... er... hum... mumble mumble...
Taffer -> Abnormal Termination. Segmentation Fault. Core Dumped.
Well, of course you're completely right, hehe, but the easier the focus, the better for the photographer :) And BTW, i'm still having some problems with the euro/peseta mental conversion...
Oftheherd, that's what I usually do... if I get a reliable reading in meters! :p The problem is that yours-truly couldn't get an approximate guess even if his life were at stake... :(
First, I resorted to carrying my trusty Contax G1 with (the RF is set for meters... Don't ask me why), but then I decided to trust my firm hands instead, set an f8 aperture and shoot away. Let's see what kind of day we get tomorrow!
Moskva-5. If you don't yet have one, get one.
I brought mine as a backup to my Mamiya 7 when I went back to Portugal a couple weeks ago. It usually held the Fuji 100 speed black and white film.
The pictures from it are very attractive. Not as sharp as the Mamiya, of course, and the contrast is lower, but they are smooth, sweet, and quite detailed- absolutely perfect for a simple travelling camera.
With one exception:
Film flatness. Wind BEFORE the shot, not after, so that if you have to close and then re-open the camera, you don't SUCK the film forward. If you do, and are stopped down, the picture doesn't suffer, except the shape distorts, so it's not THAT big a deal, but still, a simple thing to improve pictures.
Get it from Oleg, it'll be good.
Thanks for the tip! Also, I don't know about others, but in mine, always set the shutterspeed before cocking the shutter, or else you'll grind the mechanism to a dust.
(Don't tell, but I don't. I change shutter speed whenever I want- hasn't seemed to hurt anything yet)
I've been out of BCN and hence out of the Internet for a while. Now I'm here again :), and when I entered my office last friday I found there my last (compulsive) e(vil)Bay acquisition, the Agfa Isolette III I bid for before going out to my b'day dinner...
Well, there are good and bad things. Good ones: mechanically and estetically is smooth and very clean, no rust, and when bellows are opened the shutter/lens stays very firmly in place so I think I don't have to worry about lens-to-film distance or things like that... Also, the shutter, a Prontor SVS works well on all speeds, including 1 sec and 1/2 sec.
Now, bad things :(: as with most of these cameras, bellows have some pinholes that need to be repaired. I think I'll try the black nail polish method I read on some pages. This is maybe the most annoying problem, as I can't use the camera until fixed if I expect "correct" results.
The other couple of bad things are the rangefinder mechanism, that is frozen due to (I think) hardened grease, and the lens, an Apotar 85 mm f4.5 that has some fungus and needs cleaning...
Well, having in mind that the whole thing was $38, maybe it's not a too bad deal...
Anyway, as soon as I fix the bellows I'll put in some film to give it a try, and depending on the results, maybe I'll be able to fix the RF and lens problem using the explanations I found here:
But first, I think I prefer to take off this damned flu I got last week ! :p
You got a good deal on that Isolette III. You could have spent twice that on e-Bay and still had that many repairs to make. Most Isolette III's sell for more than a KMZ Iskra, and the coupled rangefinder on the Iskra makes it a much easier to use when it is fully functional.
I don't know, but nail polish sounds like a bit of a bummer. I think it would be too hard, and cause more breakage of the bellows to occur quicker. Try www.Largeformatphotography.com/info (I forget which). A little searching will show what sound like less problematic ways. The one that sounded best to me was the Elmers glue, shoe dye, and soap. That is the one I intend to use on a large bellows I have with sufficient pinholes to start a new gallexy.
Good luck no matter. I read somewhere the Isolettes weren't that difficult to work on, but that no doubt was said by someone very used to working on them, and who had a lot of proper tools.
the guy at the page I posted says that the nail polish method is only recommended for the Agfa bellows, as they are made of a plastic material, and not leather. I've read a lot more options (elmers glue, tape) on Roland and Caroline's website, the Medium format cameras library pages and so on...
Anyway, as what I pretend is to fix things and not make them worse :) the first thing I'll do is the more simple one. Buy a B&W 120 roll and try it, maybe with some tiny patches of black electrician tape on some holes.
So, this way I could check if this is enough to prevent light leaks and see if the state of the lens affects picture quality in some way. I've read that the Apotar was the mid-range lens for the Isolettes, so I'll try to stop down at least at f8-11 whenever I can. Good thing is the lens can be stopped down to f32, and even more as the lever goes a bit past the f32 mark.
Also, in order to remove the front element I need some tiny screwdrivers. I have a set of precission ones, but they are not small enough. OTH, I was able to take apart the top cover and RF cover and mechanism very easily (I'm mechanically illiterate) and put it back together without further problem.
The problem will be the rear element, I think, as I don't have a spanner wrench to unscrew it, and maybe a set would be more expensive than the camera itself...
But as I said first thing is running a roll trough it, so to try to know what the real problems are :)
PS: BTW, the link you posted seems to lead to an available domain... do you know if they have moved somewhere ?
On the freezed focus element thing that happens to almost every Agfa, I tried lighter fluid for several days and nothing happened. Dryed it and soaked it in nail polish remover and it did the job in half a day. There's a huge difference between lighter fluid and nail polish remover for this use. For the bellows, theres some black silicone that is used to glue glass surfaces and stuff like that that can be painted on the bellows and produces a very flexible light proof film (don't close the bellows before it's completely dry!). It's excellent for this use, and you can see the camera becomes almost completely air tight too (so you must wind the film after opening the bellows before taking a shot!)
I too have successfully used the black silicone rubber approach on an Agfa bellows. It doesn't take much.
Most bellows are either leather or a synthetic glued over a fabric base. If you look inside, you will probably see the fabric. You can also glue a fabric or paper patch on the interior using a fabric glue like SOBO obtainable from a sewing supply store. SOBO is white, but it can be dyed black with carbon black from a cigarette lighter.
Then, if the hole is large, place an additional layer of black silicone rubber on the outside.
Hey, thanks very much guys !! I think now I have a pretty big collection of methods to repair the bellows. Tomorrow I'll pay a visit to the hardware store to see what kind of black flexible adhesives they have.
BTW, the focus ring is starting to move more smoothly each time that I turn it, so, before trying anything on the lenses, I'll run the first roll through the Isolette using the lens hood that came with it, in order to reduce a bit the possible efects of dirt and fungus.
I'll keep you informed on my progress :) as I think the Isolette is going to be my next PAW shooter !
Sorry taffer, I meant that the domain was either .com or .info. In fact, it is .info. The entire address for that, as well as a couple of others that may have information that will help you are:
Hope they help.
Oftheherd, thanks and thanks and thanks again !
I really have now a lot of literature regarding the bellows repair matter. There seems to be a preferred method for everyone (if not more), but the glue mixed with black colorant and soap seems to be a very used one.
I've been looking for something like "black silicone" today but haven't found anything similar (not even black glue), but I'll keep searching :) My idea is to start from the less agressive method and then if it doesn't work, try the next one, that is, try to do nothing wrong and irreversible.
Taffer, have you tried any of the many "fixes" for your bellows yet? I have yet to do so for my bellows, but expect to in the near future. I expect I will use the Elmer's glue/shoe dye/soap method. Let us know if you have.
well, in fact I tried a couple of them. The first one was simple acrylic black paint. It seemed to fix the problem firstly, but after a couple of days, the paint looses its flexibility and the pinholes apeear again.
Secondly, I tried the black electrician tape method from Roland and Caroline (.co.uk I think). It's an ugly method but if done carefully it seems to fix the problem better (I checked the inside of the bellows under an halogen ultra bright light).
But (and here begins the sad part of the story), I couldn't resist the temptation and started the lens clean job last Sunday. Man, I hope I didn't. The back element had serious coating damage after all, and the cleaning process was a nightmare. Even with the smoothest clean I could do using lens cleaner and q-tips all the coating came apart and the lens ended badly scratched... sigh... :_(
Before knowing the results from the back lens (yes, there's still more), I followed the instructions of a website about cleaning the central element with the shutter open at B setting. This time the lens was easily cleaned and results were good, no damage, no scratches. I supose the central element was in better shape, BUT, as it seems it was 'my lucky day', some cleaning fluid found its way to the diaphragm blades, where lots of hidden rust were expecting an oportunity to be alive again, so now the blades are dirty and sticky...
To sum up, a gathering of bad decisions and some hidden surprises inside the camera ruined my first restoration attempt :_(
Maybe if someday I find a good lens/shutter assembly from a body-dead Isolette I could build a frankenstein, but meanwhile I think the nice Agfa is going to be a shelf item, sigh...
Anyway, as now I can't lose anything, I'll try the other methods on the bellows as an experiment. As I said you, the tape method seems to work, but is ugly, and makes bellows thicker and sticky.
The black silicon method seems good, at first sight, so maybe you could give it a try. The problem is that it seems irreversible... Anyway, now that I can't expect decent pictures from the camera, I recognize I've lost some interest. I supose I can't blame myself eternally, but for sure I will do it for some more days... :(
Good luck with your bellows, or at least better luck than me ! ;)
Oscar (sorrowful :p)
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