Agfa Optima Parat half frame camera - few words and pictures

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by maciek_stankiewicz, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    Here is short review of beautiful half frame camera from 1963: Agfa Optima Parat.
    Camera is small but very solid. It's HEAVY (especially for the size), what I really like.
    This model with silver and white stripes on the body is the high end from Parat family. It's also equipped with the best lens from Agfa: Color Solinar instead of Color Apotar mounted in less expensive black-bodied cameras (Parat 1 and Paramat).
    The lens is a 4-element 30mm f2.8 Color Solinar. Camera is equipped with selenium light meter which adjust aperture and shutter speed. When you switch to Flash mode (1/30s) then you can adjust aperture manually. There is also Bulb mode which is very helpful.
    I really like the heft, weight and the professional quality of this fine camera.
    Lens. Lens is very good. Sharp without any distortions to speak of.
    Bottom Line: This is great little camera. Highly recommended!
    I will attach some shots of the camera and some pictures taken with this fine half frime camera. Most of the pictures were underexposed. Looks like selenium light meter is getting old... I recovered (and desaturated) the double (diptych) pictures, other pictures are just resized. All taken on Fuji Superia 100.
    Shooting Diptych pictures is a great fun but require some skills. In this case every half frame picture was scanned separately so I was stitching them with the computer software.
    O.K. Here is the camera:
  2. And here are some pictures...
  3. #3 Street Artist. He was drowing my portrait and I was "photographing" his portrait :)
  4. The last one #6
  5. Nice pics! I'll have to get a half framer someday. When film is $50 a roll they'll be very desirable. Most likely your girlfriend is smiling because you did such a nice job refurbishing her camera. :eek:)
  6. Thanks Louis! As we can see my girlfriend (one on the right) is now very happy with her refurbished Yashica. ...And when I'll show her Your comment I will probably get another kiss :)
  7. Wow, nice write up Maciek. Since 1972 I've never been without a 35mm half frame camera. I really like the 3:4 aspect ratio and compact form of the cameras. My platform has always been Olympus Pens of various specifications and although some of the later compact Olympus XA series full frame cameras were actually smaller than my VF Pens I still prefer the solid construction and full manual exposure control of the standard Pens. The only problem sometimes is finishing a 72 exposure roll. Contact prints are a little hard to read too. Don't know much about scanning the negs but I wonder if a 2X enlarged ink jet contact sheet could be made with 1.5 X 2 inch prints you could put a whole roll on a few sheets of paper and they would be big enough to select frames for larger prints. With care I find 8X10 prints can be quite good.
  8. Hi Maciek,
    How nice to see the Agfa model covered by you with some sample pictures. Here is the 1963 UK catalog page showing the accesories for it. Just in case you want to hunt them down for completeness.
  9. Great work with the Parat, Maciek. You've almost restored my faith in half-frames...In my experience, the Soilinar lens are uniformly good performers, and your images seem to bear this out. I have a couple of high-end Agfa Rapid cameras I'm keen to try out, when I can get round to loading some film for them. From the ad Matthew posted, the Parat obviously wasn't a cheap camera in it's day. Hard to nominate a favourite image, though I like the shots of the street artist, and the gloomy streetscape is lovely. There we go, and not a single Parat joke...
    Excellent images of the camera, too. Thanks for a fine post.
  10. There were three Parat models available. The Optima was 18 pounds more expensive than the next lower model.
    I should have mentioned I recently scanned the catalog as I was after information on the Optima Reflex. That was the TLR 35mm model they sold for a few years. I am in the USA but found it in the UK doing international searches. Rolleiflex information is easy on the web compared to getting info on the Agfa lines.
  11. Nice work all around. Sweet camera and great shots. :)
  12. Maciek, Super shots!, I was considering one of them half frames but never fully understood how you can scan the negs, now I see you make one scan out of two frames. Nice shots, I like the Sprzatnij Kupe one and your wife or girlfriend one is great too. Also from the map you used as a backdrop for the camera shot I see you are from Chicago Suburbs or near by (East Dundee sounds familiar).
  13. Mathew, I'm lucky to have Parat with an original leather case. I also found rubber lens hood that fits inside the thread.
    Kris, scanning technique is depending on the lab. In my Lab every half frame is scanned separately. I need to find different lab that would scan it as a 24x36mm frame with two images. Probably lab is scanning separately because if the frames are very different in brightness scanning them at once may ruin both frames...
    Actually, I would Love to have it scanned together with film perforation! Need to find the lab that can do it. Is it that difficult to scan 35mm film together with the perforation ?
    Yes, I love Chicago, more than Warsaw where I grew up! I spent few years in Chicago and love it. This is my father's old road atlas.

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