Agfa Isolar 9x12cm plate camera

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Bennybee
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Agfa Isolar 9x12cm plate camera

Post by Bennybee »

I could not resist this one :roll: . The seller said it looked like new, and indeed it (almost) does. I already own a couple of Kodak 3A folders for which I need to invent some sort of (thin) frame to support the smaller 120 film in those large film gates in order to keep the film flat for the sharpest possible images. Lately I was also looking for my first folding plate camera and this one is what I bought.
The Solinear lens is in great condition (I cleaned a minute amount of internal haze between the two front elements) and the Compur dial shutter works perfectly at all speeds. The ground glass is also whole and very usable but the folding 'hood' is ripping in the folds, like any 100-year old textile would. The only issue is the front (lens) standard which is hard to pull all the way to the infinity stop. I tried to clean and lube the rails, but it remains very stubborn.
IF I decide to use the camera I would not use the ground glass anyway and would rely on the little distance scale on the camera bed. I don't know what to expect from this lens and I wonder if it is worth a further investment in a Stearman developing tank and a box of 9x12 sheet film. That tank is made for 4x5 inch film and one needs to 3D print a couple of adapters in order to be able to use 9x12 sheet film (#D print file available at their website).
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P C Headland
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Re: Agfa Isolar 9x12cm plate camera

Post by P C Headland »

For developing my 4x5" and 9x12cm film I use a Paterson Orbital. It's like a daylight tray in effect. You can do four 4x5 or 9x12 sheets, two 5x7 or one 8x10, and uses less that 200ml of developer. Easier to find in Europe than the US, but worth keeping a look out for.

Another option is, if you've got a 2x120 tank or even something the size of a Jobo 1520, to use the "rubber band" method. Bend the sheet and put a rubber band around it, emulsion side in. Drop into the tank with the centre column. You can do two or three sheets at a time by inverting.

Do you have any holders and film sheaths?

For a cheap experimental option, you could try some paper negatives.
Bennybee
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Re: Agfa Isolar 9x12cm plate camera

Post by Bennybee »

Thanks Paul. I completely forgot about the Paterson Orbital. That does indeed sound like a good solution. I have never seen one in real life but I remember having seen them in catalogs back when they were available. I immediately checked the auction site and found a couple of them for sale in the UK. Prices range from 90 pounds, all the way up to 250 pounds (plus VAT taxes, thanks to Brexit :roll: )
Otherwise the 'Taco' method sounds simple and cheap, but I'll probably need to buy a bigger tank - I doubt the 9x12 will fit in my standard Paterson System 4 tank. I will check tonight.
Have you 'improved' yours by roughing the bottom of the tank? Won't the slightly smaller 9x12 films float around, since the position of those red plugs is intended for 4x5 inch?
P C Headland
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Re: Agfa Isolar 9x12cm plate camera

Post by P C Headland »

The dividers in the Orbital stop the sheets escaping their quadrant. Of course, if you overfill the thing you do risk a sheet floating away, though the "skis" on the underside of the lid may stop that happening - I've not tried ;)

Rather than roughing up the base (and permanently marking it), I made some "ribs" from thin plastic covered with electrical tape. Achieves the same thing, stoping the film sticking to the base.
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