Thursday, June 30, 2011

#23 Agfa Isolette 4,5

Agfa Jsolette/Isolette late model

This was the first Isolette that I took under my protection. 
Influenced by my friend Hans Kerensky, one of my earlier contacts on Flickr and an inspiration to gather the nerve to start some more elaborated interventions in my cameras.

This was the first post-war model of the lineage, that was launched in 1936 and was still in production in 1960, in various models but always keeping the name and the looks.

The Isolette / Jsolette question

Agfa Isolette 4,5

As you can see, in the picture above, the spelling of the name is Jsolette.
In the early, pre-war models, the spelling was Isorette, then, in 1936, it became Jsolette but, from 1937 the displayed name was Isolette.
In this post-war model, manufactured from 1946 to 1950, the name is spelled arbitrarily in both ways, not depending on the production date. Agfa on it's manual calls it Agfa Isolette 4,5

All the later models spell Isolette and have a Roman numeral after the name.

Agfa Jsolette/Isolette late model

As this model doesn't provide a depth of field scale, the original owner, copied it from the manual to a piece of paper and taped it to the inside of the leather case.
I had to re-stitch this case, after sixty years the threads had rotten away but kept the DOF guide, that I consider precious.

  • Apotar lens, 85 mm 1:4,5, closing to 22
  • Prontor II shutter, 1" - 1/250 and B, with self-timer and flash synch connector
  • Top plate cast-Hydronalium alloy (Nüral)
  • 6 x 6 cm exposures on 120 film
  • Accessory shoe
  • Double exposure prevention
  • T(ime) exposures using sliding lever on top plate

Isolette 4,5 - controls

On the above picture there's all one needs to know how to operate an Isolete 4,5, and most of it's successors.

If one is able to guestimate distances, use hyper-focal and the Sunny 16 rule doesn't need anything else to take great pictures on the outdoors, if not or if one wants finer control, just add a small light-meter and a range-finder. 

It's a great way to carry a medium format camera always in the pocket.

Agfa Jsolette/Isolette late model  Agfa Isolette 4,5

About the results I let you be the judge:

Isolette 4,5 - Trafic?

Isolette 4,5 - Texture


Stay tuned (o;

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    #22 Yashica 44A

    Yashica 44A - Restos de ponte

    I was so amazed with the results from this little TLR that I wanted to start this review by showing you what it is capable of.

    This is probably one of my favourite shots and it was my first picture to reach Explore, on Flickr.

    I was already in love with my Yashica Mat-124 and the 127 film format when I found this beauty that matched both.

    Yashica 44A

    It's a jewel, "a la Rollei baby"!

    • Yashicor 60 mm 1:3.5 lens both for viewing and taking
    • Taking lens, closing to 22
    • Four speed Copal central shutter; 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/300 and B, electronic flash synch at all shutter speeds. Cocked manually. 
    • 4 x 4 cm exposures on 127 film
    • Film advance by rotating knob and controlled by ruby window on the back
    • Made in Japan by Yashica from 1960
    I was born in '61 and I like to think that "she" was made in the same year.

    Yashica 44A (4)  Yashica 44A (3)

    Yashica 44A (2)        Yashica 44A (5)        Yashica 44A (6)

    It's a pleasure to use it, if you like street shooting you have guaranteed smiling faces every time.

    It's working flawlessly. 
    The only fault that it had was the case, the stitching was rotten:

    Re-stitching 2 - Yashica 44A Case Before

    So I had to re-stitch it and that's what I did, following a great tutorial that I found on the web. 

    Re-stitching 4 - Yashica 44A Case step 1         Re-stitching 8 - Yashica 44A Case step 5 Done

    Using this double needle technique, the final result was this:

    Yashica 44A

    After this experience I've re-stitched, total or partially, over a dozen camera cases.

    I started this review by the end, by showing what it is capable of, so let me show you same more examples:

    Yashica 44A - Ponte

    Yashica 44A - RJ na Bota

    also in colour, using re-spooled 35 mm Fujichrome Velvia:

    Yashica 44A

    Justiciae - Yashica 44A

    Strange Bike -Yashica 44A

    Stay tuned (o;

    #21 Yashica 635

    Yashica 635 (1)
    Yashica 635 in black leather case

    I have already told you in a older post, "A camera for the case", about how and why I bought this camera.
    Now I intend to make a light review of it.

    This camera is able to use 120 roll film or 135 cartridge film.
    That's why it has a profusion of controls, dedicated to the advance of one or the other kind of film.
    In order to use the 135 cartridge film there is a dedicated adapter kit.

    Yashica 635 and 35mm adapter kit
    The 35mm adapter kit

    If we are using 120 roll film we use the right side of the camera to control it's advance.

    Yashica 635 (6)
    Right side

    The knob on the top left controls the advance of the 120 roll film.
    The film is loaded and advanced until the start mark is aligned with the arrows in the film path, back closed, turn clockwise the knob until it stops and you see the number 1 in that small window, top right.
    To advance to the next exposure you have to press the button in the centre of the knob to release it and once again turn it CW until it stops. Repeat that all the way to the 12th exposure.

    The scale around the knob is a ASA/DIN reminder.

    The other knob is the focus control, being the above scale for depth of field control.

    Yashica 635 (2)
    Left side

    On the left side we have another set of controls, most dedicated to the advance of the 135 cartridge film. Although the big knob, top right, where we can read "35mm only" and the one with the red arrow, on the bottom, are used to secure the 120 roll film also.

    The drill is the same, on this side to control de advance of the 135 cartridge film.
    The film is loaded using the adapter after the back is closed we have to press the 35mm stop/release button, that isolated silver button, and wind CCW the "35mm film only" knob.
    We have to repeat this operation three times to advance the exposed film, during loading, after that we have to turn the exposure counter, the scale around the knob, in the arrow direction and align the 1 with the index dot.
    After that all we have to do is, after every exposure, press the 35mm film stop/release and advance to the next frame.

    The small knob with the engraved red R is pulled out and turned, to release the sprocket axle and allow the rewinding of the film, performed turning the bottom knob in the arrow direction.

    Yashica 635 loading 120 film
    Loaded with 120 film

    The 120 film loading is quite simple, as I explained above, like in most TLR cameras of this kind.

    Using 35mm is a little more tricky but it isn't rocket science.

    Yashica 635 loading 35mm film

    To secure the 35mm cartridge, first we have to screw the spacer ring, left, then insert the cartridge with the spool stud adapter in the other end.

    In the above picture I have already installed the film frame also.

    Yashica 635 loading 35mm film

    In the above picture I've inserted the film leader in the 35mm take-up spool.

    Yashica 635 loading 35mm film

    After make sure that the sprocket holes are engaged in the sprocket teeth it's time to set the pressure plate and close the camera.
    Advance three exposures, reset the counter and we have a film to burn.

    I have to confess that, although I've taken several 120 films with it, I've not yet tried it with this kit.

    Yashica 635 and cased 35mm adapter kit
    Yashica 635 and cased 35mm adapter kit

    Yashica 635 with sport finder mask 35mm
    35mm mask for sports finder on display

    In the previous post about this camera, I told you that when I bought it the 35mm mask for the sports finder was missing. I didn't have the leather case either.
    I found a kit missing the spacer ring and the spool stud adapter, at a flea market, paid  four Euro for it, and completed my kit.

    I can't say this is the most simple or intuitive camera but it's not a challenge also. It's a bit awkward but I like very much all kind of waist level finder cameras.
    This one has the advantage of a big brilliant viewfinder and the ability of using 35mm film, that taking advantage of the 80mm Yashinon lens must be very good for portraits. When I try it that way I'll come back to it.

    With 120 film it is a perfectly capable shooter as you can see in the following shots.

    TLR man
    "TLR Man" by RaúlM.

    Back in the tunnel
    "Back in the tunnel" by RaúlM.

    Stay tuned (o;

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    My "new" Linhof


    It's also a tripod.

    This was a gift from my friend António Oliveira.

    As he told me he saved it from the trash. It belonged to a friend of his that was sending it to the bin.
    He took it home and for several times was tempted to send it to the trash, as he had no use for it.
    Then we met and when he realised the extension of my crave for senior photo gear asked me if I wanted it.
    Thank you António, as you can see it's in good hands.


    Here it is displaying an Agfa Record III, I think they look well together.

    What you see hanging in there is the restored original canvas bag of the tripod.

    Some details:


    The "aristocratic" pan head.

    DSC_9749 DSC_9745

    The head seen from bottom and top, 1/4 and 3/8" bushes.


    Detail of the head with the beautiful bubble spirit level.


    The brass and chrome fittings.


    The spiked legs, great for outdoors.


    This is the canvas bag that I restored, the leather bottom and handle where rotting away, so I dismantled the bag and replaced them with new leather, keeping the original canvas.

    I combed the web looking for some info about this tripod but haven't found anything.
    I would date it late fifties but it's pure speculation, if someone can help with some info, I would appreciate it.

    Wishful thinking: I hope my next Linhof will be a camera.
    This been said if you have any Linhof  gear in risk of going to the bin ask me before you trash it.

    Stay tuned (o;

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    #20 Kodak Duaflex

    Kodak Duaflex

    This is a very battered example of an UK made Duaflex.

    It was the first camera that I bought at a flea market. 
    At that moment I couldn't imagine how many were waiting for me, in such places.

    Kodak Duaflex CLA

    It was also my first experience in a full CLA.

    I'm sorry for not having taken a before shot, it really looked awful.

    Kodak Duaflex                 Kodak Duaflex

    Some elbow grease and spit shine later and it became like you can see.

    It's only missing the string neck strap and the leather lens/viewfinder cover, something that I'm planing to remedy soon.

    This camera was made in England from 1949 to 1951, there was an American counterpart and another model with a viewfinder hood.

    This is a very simple pseudo TLR model with a 75 mm Kodet lens, fixed aperture at f15 and fixed focus also, from 1,5 m to infinity.

    The shutter, as you can see in the picture of the disassembled camera, is of the least sophisticated kind.
    Two positions I (1/30ish) and B, flash synch with a Kodalite flasholder.

    The film is the defunct 620 format from kodak. It's usable with re-spooled 120 film. 

    Kodak Duaflex

    This amazing bubble viewfinder and the shots of my friend Dirk, gave me the idea to use it to make a TTV (Through The Viewfinder) contraption.

    Fujak Fineflex

    I want to call your special attention to the high-tech corks. 
    Absolutely essential to maintain the lens position and focus.

    I call this contraption Fujak Fineflex.

    Some results of the Duaflex, in stand alone mode, with Ilford FP4 125 ISO

    It looks tired

    São João


    and in the Fujak Fineflex mode:

    Watch repairer at the flea market

    When you have to go, you have to go!


    Stay tuned (o;