Agfa Record folding camera: can I install a Solinar lens into a Prontor shutter?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by pablo_escobar, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Dear all

    I'm having a bit of a 'folder' moment. I've had good success with sourcing old Agfa Isolette cameras off the bay and lubricating/re-calibrating them, to the point that most turn into usable cameras.

    I've now put my hands on my best one yet: an Agfa Record with a Solinar f/4.5 lens (4 elements rather than 3 that are present in the Apotar of my other folders) and Synchro-computer shutter, able to go to 1/500.

    The problem: the shutter, the Synchro-compur, seems to be doing poorly. The problem is, as it's common with these shutters I hear, the slow speeds. However, sometimes even the fast speeds are problematic: the shutter locks wide open during the exposure. In general, it is very erratic and unreliable. I have tried soaking it in 100% ethanol. It instantly goes back to perfect functionality. Everything works - for a couple of minutes, that is: when the alcohol dries up, the shutter goes back to erratic operation.

    The solinar lens, which I have removed from the shutter and cleaned/degreased, is in perfect condition: no scratches or any other problem. Would be a pity to leave it there unused due to a non functioning shutter.

    Which brings me to my question: I have another Agfa record folder with a Prontor-SV shutter and an Apotar lens. This works perfectly well. I don't really *need* the added shutter speeds of the Synchro-compur, so my question is:

    Could I get rid of the Apotar lens installed on the Prontor, stick the Solinar on the Prontor and install this combo back in my Agfa Record? My worry is that the distance between the glass elements of the Solinar will be slightly different when screwed onto the Prontor - is this the case? The two shutter assemblies seem to be about the same thickness - but I don't know. Any help is appreciated.
  2. You should be able to swap the lens into the Prontor shutter. The front standard which holds the shutter is the same for both the Record III with a Compur and Record II with a Prontor.

    P.S. don't give up on the Compur. Once you have the lens removed - soak it and run it a small container of Naptha, a.k.a. Rosinol.

    This is my favorite video. Although for an older and smaller sized shutter, it clearly shows the operation of the slow speed escapement - referred to as the retard gears in the video.

    Usually, fingers crossed, there is no need to remove the cocking ring as shown in the video. After cleaning and drying the shutter, place a tiny amount of watch oil on each pivot point for the escapement gears.

    Pure Silicone Watch Oil, 100 (CS) Centistokes, 4ml

    A sewing needle can be used in place of a dip oiler to apply tiny amounts of oil to the pivot points. Again, let me emphasize - with fingers crossed - you don't usually need to fully disassemble the shutter.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  3. Thanks Andrew - I've just seen your reply and will go through the video. Meanwhile, I had gone ahead and placed the solinar on the working Prontor-SV. I've reassembled everything - the lens seems to collimate well to infinity and back to 1m. I've managed to clean and degrease the rangefinder, too, which is great. I haven't replaced the bellows yet. What I've done as a temporary solution is to apply a thin coating of black silicone rubber on all the corners. I see no more pinholes now. Should get me going for a while. Looking forward to trying it today. Will report back.
  4. After swapping shutters (or lenses) the lens collimation will need to be checked, itโ€™s unlikely to be correct. It can be adjusted with shimmies behind the shutter or the front focus ring on the lens. The usual way is with a frosted glass on the film frame.
  5. Thanks - that's exactly what I did. I taped a yashicamat 124g ground glass on the film frame; camera on tripod set on B; collimation to infinity with a 8x loupe by focusing on far away target (>150m). Looks good, and checks ok when measuring at 1m. Time for a test roll. Fingers crossed!
  6. Worth recovering a Solinar lens in a Billy. Don't give up in the Compur, a hydrocarbon solvent (naphta or lighter fluid) should clean it.

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