Agfa Super Silette w. Color-Apotar f/2.8 45mm

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by daniel_iggers, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. This Agfa Super Silette is not a first string camera in my book. It is solid and seemingly well made, but it has the charmless bulkiness of early '60s Agfas. It has a Color Apotar lens, a rangefinder and a Prontor SVS shutter. The Color Apotar lens, apparently a "triplet" and not a Tessar, is well-regarded, but something of an also ran when stacked (and piled) on the shelf beside many others of more exalted pedigree. I've actually had very nice results from a Color Apotar on a single lens reflex. However, what's the point of acquiring an old camera if you're not going to give it a spin at least once? Jay Leno probably owns an old 4-cylinder Porshe 912; surely he's willing to forsake a ride in a 400hp turbo once to take the old 912 around the block.
  2. I went downtown today, in nasty weather, to catch the Modigliani exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario before it closes. This shot was taken while heading up the stairs from the subway. No, not much of a shot.
  3. and here is Dundas West, looking west toward the "Village of the Deranged" (Village by the Grange.) Again, nothing special.
  4. These "Chinese ladies" are in the window of a small Chinese curio shop, of the sort that used to line old Chinatown.
  5. Before heading into the AGO, I tried to take another shot out of doors, but the shutter jammed. It advanced but would not fire. I went through the Modigliani exhibit wearing my down vest and my bulky down coat, with the Agfa stuffed in a pocket and a small bag for another camera - a Contax 139 Quartz with a Yashica ML f/1.4 50mm lens. And a sheaf of papers, for reading on the subway, rolled in my hand. Abominable snowgeek. After going through the Modigliani, I headed further along the main hall to the large room devoted to Henry Moore sculptures. There photography is permitted. I tried the camera again, and could see the rewind whatsis turn when I advanced. So I took more photos. some turned out, but some had spacing problems. Here are a couple of the ones that turned out:
  6. Oops. I'm sure I have a smaller version. Here:
  7. and another:
  8. A final Moore taken with the Agfa. All with store brand 400asa color. Most indoor shots were 1/30 and f/2.8 or f/4 but one was 5.6.
  9. I would be remiss if I did not post at least one shot of a Moore taken with the Contax. Film was 200asa Agfa color.
  10. Final shot in this "post": Another Moore taken with the Contax / Yashica 1.4/50mm.
  11. Thanks for sharing, Daniel. I've seen these Agfas before, but never had the chance to handle one. Nice to have a rangefinder. It seems strange that Agfa decided to put a lever type shutter release on these. It looks like it wouldn't be as easy to get a steady shot with this kind of release as with a regular button. Are these the only shots you got with it before it had problems? I'm wondering what the shots would look like from a tripod with the lens down to about f8.
  12. Thanks. I don't think the lever causes shake, though I did fumble a couple of times searching for it.

    I think the photo of Dundas Street may have been taken at f/8. The shut up the subway stairs may have been at 5.6, and the "Chinese ladies" also.

    As for the slippage / film advance / double exposure problem: it requires further investigation. On "dry firing" the camera seems fime. I may load one of my junk films and run it through to see whether there is more slippage.
  13. Contax 139 Quartz - don't know the year, but I consider it one of the sleekest, smart-looking, ergonomic camera bodies ever made-(not something easy to do with the SLR, which is perhaps the most sterotypical camera type except for the TLR?}-and before the SLR became adorned like an airplane cockpit or arcade game. Nice post.
  14. Nice pix, Daniel, and evidence again what a mere triplet lens can produce when closed down a few stops. A friend in the US who has one of those lens collimator gizmos that give acuity readings, came up with the startling news that the AGFA Color-Apotar 2.8 gave the sharpest test results he'd ever seen for a 3-element lens. When you think just how many triplets have been made around the world since 1898 or whenever it was that Mr Cooke designed it, that's quite a feat! I have to agree with your views about the "looks" of the 60s AGFAs, they're really awful, although maybe not quite as bad as the contemporary offerings from Balda. They made some seriously ugly ducklings in the 60s, and I think this may have been another reason why the Japanese camera makers got an increasingly large toehold in the world markets during that era. Shame really, because so many of the 50s models looked so neat and classic - or am I being a dinosaur yet again? PN

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