The Agfa Isolette II is the second rendition of a series of medium format folding cameras. It was produced during the 1950s, and usually came with an Apotar 85mm lens in a Prontor-S or Compur-Rapid shutter. It is a nice looking, well made camera; however the bellows was of low quality, and after decades almost all of them have light leaks. |
It has double exposure prevention. The shutter button at the top of the camera will not work unless the camera is wound for the next shot. The shutter release (on the lens) can be operated with a cable release or with your finger to allow double exposures if wanted. The Apotar 85mm lens is considered "sharp" or "very sharp", producing quality 6x6 images;
however, the Solinar lens has been considered the best lens for the series.
|Vendor name ||Type ||Country of origin
|Lenses ||Elements In Group ||Focal length / Aperture
||3 element Apochromatic Anastigmat
|Year of production ||Dimensions ||Weight | Filter size
||143 x 96 x 39mm (closed) 143 x 96 x 99 ( open)
|Shutter ||Film type ||Link to Manual
||12 shoots on 120mm film 6x6cm
|Focusing aid ||Extra ||Speeds
||Double exposure prevention
||B, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 300 and switch for T
Not long after I began looking for older cameras to use in my photography, I noticed these folding medium format cameras. And when I saw this Agfa Isolette II, it was love at first sight. It's not original black leather and bellows, but having been totally refurbished with new cranberry bellows, adjusted and lubricated...it was ready to go. And it is a sweet camera. It folds into a truly pocket-sized unit, and is so nice to hold and use. It is strictly best judgement when it comes to focus. Guesstimate the distance in meters, set the focusing ring and shoot at f8 or so to make up for any error. Or, get an accessory rangefinder for assistance. This Agfa is definitely the creme of my camera collection so far, and the images I've made with it are noteworthy. If shot with the aperture wide open, the edges of the image are soft, just the way I like them to be. Otherwise the images are sharp and the shutter is like a whisper. This folder is a perfect camera if one wants to travel light, and still have a high quality 6X6cm negative.
The collapsed camera is a small ideal partner for travel. It has a front cell focusing lens. To obtain the proper focus you need to measure the distance between film plane and the subject, either with an external measuring device or by estimating the distance.
Several tools are available to measure focusing distance. The most popular is an external range finder, which can be mounted onto the cold shoe on top of the body. Several types are available on the used market. The best ones are made by Voigtlander and are usually accurate after decades without any maintenance. Other German made range finders such as Watameter, Leica, etc. are usually of high quality. I have had poor experiences with inexpensive Russian external meters - none of them that I tried worked without first undergoing
maintenance. An inexpensive solution is to use your SLR camera as a distance meter, or you can use a digital ultrasonic distance meter.