Ventura flea market find-- HELP!

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by adrian_seward, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. I found a great little camera today. It's a ventura 69. It's a 6x9 folder with a compur-rapid
    shutter that goes all the way from B to 400. Full range of f-stops too. It says "made in
    germany- US zone. " The lens looks to be 4 elements, and it says Solinar.

    So here's the problem. When I found it I thought there was something wrong with the
    focusing. It has scale focusing, but when you turn the ring it just slips around and doesn't
    seem to do anything. I got it home and started to investigate and it looks to me as if when
    you turn the ring it should turn the front element. It looks as though the helical holds the
    front element. It also looks as though someone glued it together, and I can't see any way
    to break it loose. Why would someone do that? Am I right about the front element doing
    the focusing? Does that work?

    What could I do with this thing? Has anyone else encountered one? I'd love to be able to
    use it, and it would be nice to be able to change the focus.
     
  2. All the evidence ('solinar', 'ventura', made in Germany) indicate Agfa as the manufacturer. Sadly, Agfa folders seem to have a reputation for leaky bellows and frozen focus. I doubt anyone glued anything - the grease simply turned to cement with time and lack of use. Do some searching with google - I know I have read discussions on how to unfreeze the focus. If you're lucky, yours has a leather bellows, which is far more likely to be intact than the synthetic material Agfa used on less expensive models. The good news is that the Solinar is a Tessar design, and the compur rapid was top of the line in its day. So in my estimation that's a folder worth fixing!
     
  3. I have the same camera with Solinar lens. The focus on mine is frozen solid too. Oh well I guess I have to just look for subjects 15 feet away!
     
  4. Yep, Agfa Ventura. If the focus ring slips without doing anything, it may be that someone has loosened the tiny grub screws that clamp the ring to the helical. Or perhaps they applied force to the ring when trying to move a stuck helical and stripped something. To remove the whole assembly (based on my retarded memory), you first need to remove the stop pin, then the grub screws, then the ring and you can unscrew the entire front group/helical from the shutter. That green goo that used to be grease needs to be well cleaned out and relubed, reassembled and infinity focus set using a ground glass screen. It's not very easy but well worth the effort. The Solinar lens is a sought after item in the Agfa users crowd.
     
  5. Hmm.

    It is green goo. And I can't find any way to budge it. Unfortunately, someone did get as
    far as taking the lens apart and giving it a nice "cleaning". The inside of the rear cell is
    covered in scratches. It's too bad. The overall condition is very good. The shutter even
    seems good.
     
  6. I did not encounter an old Agfa with non-frozen focus yet.

    You can easily dissolve the focus grease with a hot air gun. Remove the front lens cell (i.e. the first two lens elements) - sometimes they come off by just turning the focus ring. Put them in a vise, and heat them for some minutes. You should be able to remove the first lens element now.

    The green gooo can be removed with lighter fluid. Finally scratch this horror out of every thread (with wooden tooth picks) and regrease with synthetic grease or silicon grease.
     
  7. I have an Agfa Compur version of the "Billy Record". It has a Solinar. The camera is a 1930s type with the D-ring winder. It worked well until I got confidence with it, and now it works VERY well. Occasionally I find the lens shows too high a contrast and I miss intermediate greys, but this may be too simplistic. It is a pleasant camera to have. M.
    00ClDi-24472784.jpg
     
  8. Well, I got it. I had been warming it in the oven and soaking in alcohol. The alcohol was
    turning green so I thought I was getting somewhere, but it still would not budge. Finally I
    saw a page that said to use pliers on it. I hoped that would be unneccesary, but once I
    saw that it might be required, I gave in. I did damage the front cell threads a little, but it
    all went back together nicely. It's too bad that the rear lens cell is scratched, but I think it
    will still take nice pictures as long as the sun isn't right in the frame.

    For $30, I'm very happy with it.

    Thanks for all your help. Now if you really want a tale of heartbreak, read my next post
    about the crown graphic.
     
  9. Well, I got it. I had been warming it in the oven and soaking in alcohol. The alcohol was
    turning green so I thought I was getting somewhere, but it still would not budge. Finally I
    saw a page that said to use pliers on it. I hoped that would be unneccesary, but once I
    saw that it might be required, I gave in. I did damage the front cell threads a little, but it
    all went back together nicely. It's too bad that the rear lens cell is scratched, but I think it
    will still take nice pictures as long as the sun isn't right in the frame.

    For $30, I'm very happy with it.

    Thanks for all your help. Now if you really want a tale of heartbreak, read my next post
    about the crown graphic.
     
  10. Agfa's from this period used a grease that turned green and solidified with age. Heating usually isn't necessary, just ethanol and lots of patience.

    The 6X9 Venura with the Solinar is a really good camera. The Solinar is a Tessar copy. The really nice thing about the Agfa/Anscos is that they use 120 film and thereby avoid the complications from having to use 620 film spools.

    -Paul Shinkawa
     

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