A repaired Isolette

Classic cameras are dangerous things, some day, without you knowing how, one may get into your life and you’ll suddenly experience yourself a great completeness feeling ‘oh I finally have a real classic camera’. Two things are now possible, A) you play with it for a while, run a roll or two through it and then go find another more healthy hobby/interest, such as collecting used cotton buds or count the number of seconds in a day. B) you start to use that thing called internet to look for more information on your classic camera.

Choose B and you’re sold, closed, door locked and key thrown to the river just at the point where the Niagara falls begin.

Guess what ? I chose B, so I’m one of those strange elements around which enjoys the sometimes compulsive need to buy, trade and use (and yes, sometimes, fondle) classic mechanical cameras.

Sometimes though, things are not as nice as we’d like, and some of the beauties come to us being far from perfect shape. It’s then when somebody like me, scared of just looking at a jeweller’s screwdriver, says something like ‘uh oh, another shelf piece’. However, even a chicken guy like me has some successful episodes of hero (suicidal) behaviour from time to time. It has been the case with my just repaired/rebulit Agfa Isolette.

it used to be a tree…

The Agfa Isolette is a medium format folding camera, using 120 film to produce 6x6cm frames (yes you read right, 6x6cm), mine is a model III, featuring an uncoupled rangefinder and a coated Apotar 85mm f/4.5 lens, a simple 3 element design that has nonetheless happily surprised me. A good point to start learning about these cameras may be the great site of Matt Denton, follow the links at the bottom of his page and you’ll find even more about these classics.

To burn the test roll in the camera, I headed to one of my favorite parks in Barcelona, La Ciutadella where at this time of the year you’ll find loads of people enjoying the warm weather and also loads of photographic opportunities…

park readers

Film on this test roll was Fujifilm Acros 100, rated at ISO 200 for development in Diafine (my favorite, and only developer so far :)), some shots came out a bit overexposed but so far the test roll let me know that the repair was successful, something I wouldn’t have bet when I started…

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