Old folders ...

Discussion in 'Medium and Large Format Cameras' started by MoonMind, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. MoonMind

    MoonMind FF Veteran Subscribing Member

    257
    Mar 24, 2015
    Switzerland
    Matt
    I have a couple of old medium format folders (see my signature), and I simply love shooting them. I find the fact that I can 6x6 or 6x9 camera in my jacket pocket very intriguing indeed; a (modern) lightmeter

    N.B. At the moment, I use a cheap dedicated scanner (made by Rollei) to digitise the negatives - I hope you can abide the less-than-stellar quality. If I wanted these images printed, I'd have to use a professional lab for the time being.

    full.

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    M.
     
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  2. José

    José FF Regular

    160
    Mar 25, 2015
    A few months back I've been looking into some folder (specially Agfa Isolete) but the overall conditions always looked a bit lacking and so I gave up on that. Were you able to buy yours personnaly, or online? Any headaches so far?
     
  3. MoonMind

    MoonMind FF Veteran Subscribing Member

    257
    Mar 24, 2015
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Yes and no. Most were bought online, and I had at least one total dog (another 518/16); I've had one of them restorated (the "good" 518/16) that needed a thorough CLA and inherited the back of the "bad" body in the process. The most expensive one, the 516/2 with its Tessar lens, I bought on site.

    I gathered most of the information I relied on Certo6 - Vintage Folding Cameras, which is also a fantastic source of CLA'd and reworked folders, at least if you're in the States (the guy ships worldwide, but depending on where you are, you're looking at rather large costs). His prices seem very fair, and he's got a great reputation.

    I chose a different path than buying from him and went for cheaper, less risky deals - apart from the 516/2, no camera I bought was much over $50, most were even cheaper. All in all, I haven't spent $400 dollars yet, half of which went into said 516/2 - and as long as no unique opportunity (like a really nice Super Ikonta, Voigtländer Bessa III or Mamiya 6 in great condition) crops up, I'm pretty much done with buying. I've ended up with five fully usable cameras, one ruined (by yours truely :/) and one brick. Among them is a real beast with all the best ingredients - a war-time 6x9 with Compur shutter and Tessar lens. I'm a bit hesitant to actually use the 516/2 a lot, though - it's bulky, heavy and also pretty valuable. But I use the other four cameras regularily - three 6x6, one 6x9. One isn't a folder, actually - the Agfa Isola II is a tube camera.

    In my view, the best value is represented by the older 6x9 or 6x4.5 folders (1930s and 40s) - they're more or less as simple as it gets, which also means that there's not a lot that can actually break if no brute force is involved. The triplet lenses are prefectly fine for most purposes - of course, if you're into the best possible IQ, you need Tessar type lenses (or better). Shutters are a different matter; the most sought after are actually rather fickle (the Compur series, and, to a lesser degree, the Prontor series) - which makes sense, in a way. The simpler ones (like the Vario, Velio or Pronto) are often in decent working order and easier to service. However, if you know where to have them CLA'd, you can aim high here - and vastly extend the shooting envelope of your folder.

    My Voigtländer Perkeo I e.g. is a very nice camera to handle and shoot, but it's less flexible than the very similarily spec'd 518/16 - due to the aperture and shutter arrangements: Both sport triplets, but the Perkeo goes from f/4.5 to f/16 and has four shutter speeds apart from bulb mode (1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 - a Pronto shutter), the 518/16 goes from f/3.5 to f/32 (and you can close the diaphragm even further, probably to around f/45 or so), and it sports eight speeds and bulb (1", 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/300 - a Prontor-SV). That's why I'm mostly stuck to ISO 100 film on the Perkeo if I want to be able to use it in daylight at all, but can use ISO 400 film without issue on the 518/16 (and can even risk ISO 3200 - due to the 1/300 and f/32+ ...).

    Finally, be wary about the Isolettes - they're great cameras in principle, but the bellows are made of some kind of artifical leather that dries out and is prone to perforation; you'll almost certainly have to replace the bellows, which can be expensive. If I were to get an Isolette, I'd buy from Certo6. Leather bellows are a lot more durable.

    M.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. José

    José FF Regular

    160
    Mar 25, 2015
    Hi,

    Thanks a lot for all this info, I have a lot to look into now :)
     
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  5. MoonMind

    MoonMind FF Veteran Subscribing Member

    257
    Mar 24, 2015
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Here are two more - but now I've finally got my CanoScan 9000F Mk II to work :)
    full.

    full.
    Next, I need to remember cleaning the negatives and the scanner's glass surfaces ...

    M.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. MoonMind

    MoonMind FF Veteran Subscribing Member

    257
    Mar 24, 2015
    Switzerland
    Matt
    The Zeiss Ikon 515/2 again (most probably), same film as well (Acros 100); I like both shots:
    32867552470_497ecb9cf7_b.
    some truth
    on Flickr
    The simple sentence is actually quite difficult to translate literally; it means something along the lines of: "If everyone is egotistical, everyone's appreciated."

    33209112426_863b0fee37_b.
    marathon aftermath
    on Flickr
    That's what Karl-Marx-Allee (Berlin, Germany) looked like behind the finish line of the Berlin Marathon 2016 once everyone had left ...

    M.
     
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