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Agfa Selectaflex

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Got this Agfa Selectaflex in good cosmetic shape, from a local seller. It was the camera of the seller's grandad and came at a reasonable price, with all the marks of the careful amateur user.


I have never been a fan of leaf-shutter SLRs, but on the other side have always been intrigued about how that dead branch of camera design evolved.




The set was a body and three lenses, the Ambion 35mm, Solinar 50mm and Telinear 90mm. I have a good tech nearby so everything went to his capable hands and came back in good shape.


The body includes the shutter and aperture mechanisms; the lenses have just the glass and the helicoid focusing. Shutter speeds go from 1 second to 1/300; as we all know it was not easy to get these large leaf shutters to move much faster, reliably.


I have seen references to a Selectaflex I and II but would not know how to differentiate them, except for the letter size of the "Selectaflex" over the selenium light meter. This example is the large size one. The II model apparently came with the Solagon lens as normal, instead of the Solinar.


The camera and lenses are small and relatively heavy. It is smaller than a Canon 7, but it weights 1088 g with the Solinar, just 60 g short of a Nikon F2 with 50/1-4 and Photomic prism.


The test roll was FP4+ in DK-50 1:1 (a mix that came from a 50+ year old can). Here are some examples. The first one I had already posted in March 23 week, excuse the repetition.


Ambion 35mm at f/11 and f/5.6






Solinar 50mm at f/2.8 and f/11






Telinear 90mm at f/11 and f/4






Handling of the camera is crisp and precise, although the shutter release takes a lot more force than I am used to. It is not as silky as a Contaflex, or even a Retina Reflex; and it does not begin to compare to the Spotmatics and Nikons that were eating the lunch of German manufacturers at the time. The lenses look very decent, as it is my experience with all of the higher-end Agfa cameras.


I have no idea about long-term serviceability, which is often mentioned as a problem of leaf-shutter SLRs. When I got the camera it has been unused for many years but it was working, except for the auto-exposure mode; the shutter speeds were way off, especially the slower ones. But this is more or less to be expected in an old, unused mechamism. So I have some hopes.


Thanks for looking!

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That's a fine series of images, Julio. The Reflectflex and it's cousin the Ambiflex are excellent examples of Agfa camera creation at it's best, with magnificent build and superb finish, even if the engineering tended to be a little complicated. Fine lenses, too, with the Solagon being one of my favourites, though the Solinar is certainly no slouch. As fate had it, the cameras were born in an era when the Japanese camera industry was to render them somewhat obsolete, almost overnight. Thanks for an interesting post!
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Excellent work with a camera I'd never heard of. I've always been wary of leaf shutter SLR's after bad experiences with a Kowa and a Retina Reflex. But I recently acquired a nice looking Contaflex with three lenses, and it seems to be functional, so I'm just waiting for an opportunity to use it and show some results.


You are lucky to have a camera technician nearby.

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Thanks for the kind comments. I will look around for more information about the two Selectaflex models and keep an eye open for a Solagon. There is a longer telephoto as well, but these are not very common lenses.


I wonder if lenses for Agfa SLR cameras were compatible among different models (i.e. the Ambiflex, for instance and this one).

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When I was 10, my grandfather had a Topcon Auto-100. When he died, I inherited much of his photographic equipment, especially darkroom equipment, but not the Auto 100. I knew at the time it was a leaf shutter SLR, though. That was not long after my father bought a Canon Pellix, and I often got to use his Canon VI.


Yes, leaf shutter SLRs are interesting, but with the added complications, they don't seem to age well.


I am glad yours works!

-- glen

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