On it's way from Ebay tonight, an Agfa Standard 204, 1920's 6x9 plate, cut film, plate, and roll film (120) camera. It has the standard lens, the 105mm F6.3 Anastigmat, rather than the faster alternatives Agfa also offered at the time, and a black leather covered metal body.
Fitted with rotatable bright viewfinder, and a wire frame finder, with fold up blackened brass eyepiece on the side of the camera.
Focusing is via the lever on the side of the shutter and lens standard, notoriously they jam due to the old grease drying up, but are quite easy to open and re-grease.
It needs the set of three Agfa cut film holders to accompany it, the focusing screen with shade, and a roll film adapter, but I happen to have suitable genuine Agfa set of cut film holders, ground glass focusing screen, and a Rada 120 roll film adaptor, which is the equivalent of Agfa's own version, or better. All are 1930's vintage. These Agfa Standard Camera Models were made from 1928, to about 1935.
Not bad for £13.50.... It will need a service on the focus helicoid screw, which is said to move! The rest of the camera is usually reliable on the models, as it has a fairly plain shutter. The usual check on the bellows will be needed, and the Rada film back got back into service to try it out.
The grease is the problem, it is a green coloured glue in most peoples opinion! Agfa chose a grease that dried out over time, it has to be cleaned off, although sometimes adding a spot of solvent will soften it. Paraffin will do fine, as it does not rapidly evaporate away, but in the long term it must be cleaned away and replaced with a lithium car grease, or a silicone equivalent, like LaBelle.
Win some, lose some, the camera may be lost in transit, it is from a shop, who had two of them, both listed with virtually the same details, hope there was no confusion caused! Might just be the Post, despatched on the 19th, now at the end of the month though......
It Arrived!, or at least after a search of the local Post Office they found it!
Condition looks good, the lever focus works, (they rarely do due to dried grease), giving it a check over and clean up this afternoon, then finish painting the Plaubel Rada roll film adaptor and find some 120 film or paper negatives. By that time the Ernemann will be here to compare the two cameras. This Agfa one is later 1920's , the Ernemann is early 1920's, both similar lenses and 6x9 format.
It has the better Agfa lens than the stock Ebay picture the seller used, it has the F4.5 Anastigmat,(F6.3 for the Ernemann).
That's a very fine looking camera, Stephen! There seems to be a lot of intererst in folders lately, I'm interested in them as well. Besides Ansco, I've been searching for Japanese folders and just won the bidding on an old Olympus 6 folder in very bad condition, but cheap. Doug
The Agfa 204 Standard plate camera that finally arrived is not quite the same one in the Ebay listings picture, the seller had two cameras on sale at the same time, with the same photograph, but fortunately the Agfa 204 camera that came is the better specification model with the lens being the triplet Agfa Anastigmat 105mm at F4.5. The simpler version still had a triplet lens, but with a smaller F6.3 aperture.
The lens glass is clean, scratch free, and clear, just needed a clean to remove a tiny bit of dust inside.
The shutter remains the same as the basic Agfa 204 standard model, a Gauthier everset type, and the focus system is the same.
I believe this Agfa model was the first folding plate camera with a helical focusing lever and a proper focusing scale. The cameras were made by Rietzschel, who had been taken over by IG Farben, and incorporated into the new Agfa company.
There are lots of variations on the basic model, and roll film versions were made as well, all manufactured between 1926 and 1932, they fiddled a bit with the fittings and viewfinders.
Initial tests shows that the bellows are still light tight, and the camera plush velvet light seals are OK, the shutter speeds are OK, apart from 1/2th sec, which is non-op at the moment. 1/25th upwards all are accurate. As usual with the everset type shutter, they work better with a cable release, due to the long stroke of the lever. There is enough space in the folded body to leave a short cable release attached, folded around the shutter for storage.
Agfa added an interlock to the lens retraction, you must set the focus to infinity before the extended lens will release to slid back into the body. The units "floats" in the body to get a good fit when the door closes, very simple sound engineering.
I recently bought a set of matching plate film holders with a case and it has a spare glass focus screen of exactly the same type with better condition leather, so that has been swapped over. The set is exactly contemporary with the standard, I have some cut Ilford B/W film coming from Ebay to try out the holders as well. It is not quite the same size, but can be trimmed down in the darkroom.
For Colour film I have a Plaubel Rada film back for 6x9mm format, which fits right and has the same film plane measurement. The Agfa helical focus lever and focus scale make the use without the glass focus screen very easy indeed.
Only trouble is most colour film is very fast these days for this type of shutter, but it the lens does stop down to F32, but it may be better to add a neutral density filter to allow the lns to work at a medium setting for sharpest results. Small apertures may be all right with Black and white negatives, but chromatic colour fringing shows more with colour film at F32.
Fast film also does not help with possibly dodgy bellows, any light leak shows! It pays to keep the older bellows cameras out of the direct sunlight, and fold the camera away between shots, or put a photographic black bag over the whole camera.
I will make a matching lens hood, push on type, which will help with lens contrast. The f4.5 version lens has a filter thread fitted as well. I have to source some vintage filters for it, red and yellow are useful, again both increasing contrast and apparent sharpness.
As long as the lens is in good order then the 6x9 (2 1/4 x 3 1/2) negatives should yield A4 or above prints, with 5x7 at an excellent standard. 6x9mm negatives can of course make usable contact prints of stunning sharpness, and are an easy to scan into the computer, or re-photograph with a digital camera,( usually the best way with a micro 3/4 camera).
I'm a big fan of old graphics too! Your ad says something like this... Photography is really so easy a child can do it! Take your Agfa Standard camera with Agfa Rollfilm, set the distance and aperture, and press the shutter release. Bring your film in the morning to your Agfa dealer who will develop them and print them on Agfa "Lupex paper". Pick them up in the evening. You will see how much joy it gives you!
I lived in Germany for 20 years and read, write, and speak it well
Thanks for the translation, I struggle a bit with German, the presence of kinder changes the "it is easy" meaning that Google translates. the graphics are quite easy to "repair" in photoshop, small text on bad online copies causes issues!. I like to display small copies with the cameras of the House Adverts for the maker.
Had a quick look for some b/w film on Ebay, cut film, and no go, or at least not at a low price! I may get some of the Direct positive Paper to try in the camera, in the meantime it will be paper negatives and scanning the paper negatives to positive in the computer.
The Rada 120 roll film holder now works properly, but needs a full black satin paint job on the outside. The agfa cut film holders are genuine Agfa brand of the same vintage, and are very little used, good condition.
I have found a suitable vintage cloth cable release, it works far smoother with the release. They seem expensive on Ebay, fortunately this one came with a purchase, in as new condition.
The camera has cleaned up well, no damage about from bumps in the leather, which at the moment are not worth the trouble stripping the leatherette off and cleaning etc.
The only non correct item are the two low speeds, they ar very slow, the 1/2 is 2 seconds! but no loss really and at least they work. The higher speeds from 1/25 to 1/100th are quite accurate, not bad for 86+ years old.
Although the weather is poor today, I will try to get out and take some shots with the Agfa Standard.
Test shot with the Agfa Standard, Bishops Garden Rochester, on a paper negative, which gives a slow 10ASA orthochromatic film, (non red sensitive), which has resulted in the orange flowers around the sundial being rendered black, and the grass a strange patchy look. Scanned from paper neg, reversed and sepia tone done in the Gimp, on the computer.
Still working on the Rada roll film back restoration, to enable roll film to be used.
Selection of black and white shots taken with the Agfa Standard, on cut film, Ilford FP O/D, the Agfa Standard works fine, the negs were scanned by the Pen PM-1. I will later do some paper prints, the 6x9 negs are sharper than the scan resolves. I am getting far better shots with the film than digital, and this Agfa camera is over 80 years old.
All the shots were taken with a lens hood, and the camera mounted on a heavy duty Slik tripod.
Main Garden Gate at Foords Almshouses........25th at F22.
Foords Almshouses Gardens, Rochester,.......50th at F16 exposure.
Foords Almshouse Garden and Temple........ 50th at F16 exposure
Foords Grounds, ...............25th at F16 with Red filter.