Christopher
Stoll

1955 Agfa Solinette II

1955 Agfa Solinette II
Year
c.1955
Make
Agfa
Model
Solinette II
Type
folding scale focus
Film
135
Lens
Agfa Apotar 50mm ƒ/3.5
Apertures
ƒ/3.5 – ƒ/22
Speeds
1/300 – 1s , Bulb
Meter
none
Battery
none
MSRP
$34.76 (equal to $349.15 in 2021)
Condition
3J (received) / 3D (current)

This camera is a bit larger than an Olympus XA, but it still fits in my back jeans pocket. And, while I constantly worry about squashing the relatively fragile plastic of the XA, I never really worry that I will damage the beefy metal Solinette. The Agfa lacks any sort of meter and relies upon scale focusing, but if you can work with those constraints the 50mm Apotar lens can produce some very nice photographs. The lens can flare, but that’s to be expected for the uncoated lenses of this vintage. The up side to cameras of this vintage is that they don’t require batteries. Then again the mechanical shutter is not linked to the film wind, so it has to be manually set prior to taking a photo. Additionally, the shutter sticks occasionally, though that could probably be fixed with a good cleaning and lubrication.

If Agfa could have bridged the generations and mashed together the features of the Optima 1535 Sensor with the compact sturdiness of the Solinette, then they would have created the ultimate point-and-shoot. Yet despite its quirks and shortcomings I still frequently use this camera. When I want to bring along a rugged yet portable film camera, I often decide between this Solinette and the Minox LX. The Minox has undeniable portability, but the Solinette uses plain old 35mm film. So, there are still occasions for this sexagenarian camera to be used.

According to a contemporary advertisement

This is what the 35mm camera fan has been waiting for!

Agfa SOLINETTE II

What the solinette offers you:

1) Agfa Apotar lens 1:3.5 - f = 50mm (reflex-free and color corrected).
2) All settings readable from above
3) Locked rewind and advance.
4) A transparent view in all corners
5) Mechanism that prevents unexposed film advance, double exposure, and uncocked shutter release.
6) Springs open - ready for immediate use
7) Fits very comfortably in the hand.
8) Prontor S V shutter (B, 1 s to 1/300 s) - Synchronized.
9) Camera can be closed at any position of the lens

a masterpiece of technical ingenuity

One of the most remarkable features of this camera is the way the lens is set. Due to a so-called delayed screw > movement, i.e. make full use of all the special properties of the lens.

FOR TOP PHOTO PERFORMANCE Agfa

Images from this Solinette II

Shutter Speed Accuracy

External Resources