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Agfa Solinette II

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This is an Agfa Solinette II dating from about 1955. Its a 35mm folding camera which takes standard cassettes giving the usual 24x36mm pictures. The Agfa Solinette II is a bit of an oddity as 35mm folding cameras had by this time been largely replaced by fixed body cameras such as the
Agfa Silette. The Solinette is more like a cross between a Silette and Agfa Isolette II. Alternatively it could be described as a Silette with bellows.

The Solinette II was a development of the original Solinette which was largely the same camera. There was some variation in lenses/shutters across the cameras - but in conclusion the Solinette was short lived range of cameras from the middle of the 1950's.

A Solinette II of this configuration would have cost in 1955, (pounds, shillings and pence) 24 12s 7d including purchase tax. Value today is more like 20-40.

Photo of Agfa Solinette II

Specifications

Lens Type

3 element (coated) Apotar

Focal Length

50mm

Maximum Aperture

F3.5

Film Type

35mm standard cassette

Picture Size

24x36mm

Shutter

8 speed Prontor-SV + B

Flash Sync

X and M

This picture was taken with a Epson PhotoPC 650 digital camera.

A review of the Solinette II appeared in the 1955 edition of "The British Journal Photographic Almanac", where the following was said of it:

The interior of the camera body is finished to high standard and indeed the whole appearance of the camera indicates that it is an instrument of high quality.


Closeup of lens/shutter of Agfa Solinette II

This closeup of the lens/shutter shows the high quality of finish mentioned above. It also shows the ribbed focus ring which moves the whole lens/shutter assembly back and forth for focussing. This arrangement provides a better quality picture than just moving the front element of the lens which is the normal method of operation on many small cameras of this period.

This picture was taken with a Epson PhotoPC 650 digital camera.




 

Some notes on using the Solinette II

There doesn't seem to be much info around on the Solinette II and as we sometimes get asked questions about it, here are some general notes which hopefully will be of some use.

The Solinette II actually is a very conventional camera - and holds no  real surprises for anybody used to older style mechanical cameras.

(all descriptions assume looking at back of camera - as would if holding  it to take a picture).

Conveniently the Solinette II takes ordinary 35mm film - so you have the widest possible choice of film types. The back  opens by pulling down on a little catch on the side opposite the hinge for  the back. Inside on the left will be where the 35mm cassette goes and on  the right - the takeup spool where the film leader goes.

Winding is via the knob on the right (with the counter clockwise arrow) and  if you do this with the back open you can seen the film takeup spool  rotate (and you should also hear a clicking noise).

There is no need to set the film speed as there is no built in light  meter (Click
HERE for more info on this subject). However you do need to set the shutter/speed and aperture manually.

Shutter speed is on a ring marked B,1,2,5,10,25,50,100,300 etc. In each  case these are fractions of a seconds - apart from 'B' which just keeps  the shutter open as long as the button is pressed. (yours might have a  slightly different range of numbers)

Unlike more modern cameras - winding the film on doesn't cock the shutter  (cocking the shutter is tensioning the spring inside so it fires very  rapidly when you push the button). The shutter is cocked by pulling the  small lever at the front of the shutter (just behind the speed select  ring) from left to right. It should lock in position.

Like modern cameras - to actually fire the shutter - you use the button to  the right of the viewfinder. The camera is fitted with a double exposure  protection - to ensure you wind the film on between taking each picture.  With no film loaded - the shutter release button won't work as the camera  cannot detect the film moving properly. Don't worry - just load a film and all will be well.

Aperture is on the scale 3.5 - 22. The smaller the number - the more light  that gets let in.

To use properly you need a separate light meter - but colour print film is  very forgiving so an aperture of 11 with a shutter speed of 100 will give  okay results outside in daylight (using ASA100 or 200 speed film)

Maybe at some time in the future we'll have a guide to basic manual camera technique using shutter speeds and aperture controls. However as this info is universal - any decent camera book (and probably dozens of other websites) should fill in most of the detail.

Got a question or can't find the info you are looking for? Click HERE to contact us.

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All text and images Copyright © 2000-2011 Roland Givan, unless otherwise stated. All Rights Reserved.

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