The Agfa Solina

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Thank you stopping by again to Buzword “everything photography”. A couple of weeks ago I visited a few yard sales in our home town. This is a huge event every year in our area, they call it the Rt. 90 sales. So I usually stay clear of the madness. This year I just finished doing a job in the area, so  I stopped, and walk up and down the beginning of the sales to see if I could find some vintage cameras.

 I walked up the road scanning the yards for any type of camera gear, I was having no luck. It seemed like whatever anybody might want was available except for cameras. There were a few point and shoot cameras, but nothing that I was looking for. I was looking for some old different cameras. On my way back up the street I spotted what I was looking for Vintage Camera Equipment. I was excited as I walked up to the table. The table had a small camera bag, some zoom lens’, and a camera in a brown leather case. I couldn’t see what was in the small leather case, but I knew it was going to be cool. I looked at the lens’s and the larger bag, but I really wanted to see what was in that small case. So I picked it up unsnapped the case and opened up the front to see this old cool looking piece. The tag said Agfa, I have heard of them on a film photography podcast that I listen to. so I checked out the lens to see if I could see any fungus, it looked clear. Then I moved the aperture ring, and focus ring to see if they moved freely. So far so good. By now the owner was on his way over to try and make a sale. I had no idea what this camera was worth, but I did know that I would pay up to $20 for it. As I was testing the shutter the man said to me ” make me a offer” I said no you tell me what you want for it and I will let you know how much I want to spend. He paused for a bit and came back at me with ” How does 5 dollars sound?” I was like heck ya! (inside thats what I was thinking). So I said sure that sounds fair. I paid the man and went on my way.My yard sale mission was a success.

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When I got home I cleaned it up some and loaded a roll of 400ASA color film in it. This is a German made camera that was first introduced in 1953. These models were produced from 53- the early 60’s.This one that I found was a early model from the 50’s, this camera is a basic camera. 25-200 shutter speed, f3.5- 22 aperture, and manual focus. The focus system is very hard to use. You can’t look through the viewfinder and get you subject in focus, instead you have to guess how far way you are from you subject and set the dial. So it is a guessing game as far as getting you shot in focus.

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Like this shot of my wonderful wife Tammy. She is out of focus and the door behind her is in focus. I really missed this one.Every time I was ready to shoot I had to try and figure how far away I was. I am not very good at judging that as you can see.

We went to Skaneateles, NY last Sunday to hang out by the lake and enjoy some goodies from the local bakery. This is a nice little town to carry a camera around with you. The lake is beautiful, and there are always people wondering main street. I had 24 exposers in the Agfa to burn up, and that didn’t take very long. As I was shooting I made sure that what I pointed the camera at was something that I wanted to shoot. Film is not cheep, and neither is developing it. The Solina was pretty fun to use, making me really concentrate on my settings. I was using the sunny 16 rule, and it seemed to work good. After walking around the town for an hour or so, I finally ran out of exposer. So I pushed the button on the bottom of the camera and started to wind the film back into the canister. As I was winding for a bit the winder stopped, and the button popped back out. I’m like well it must be done, but the winder never became free wheeling. So I tried to wind it some more but, it wouldn’t move. So I thought it was done. I opened the back of the Agfa, and there was film still in the back. Crap I just exposed the whole roll of film. I shut the back up and pushed the button on the bottom again and of course it started winding up again. Not sure what happened, but it did.

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I was a little upset because I really wanted to see what kind of image this camera produced. Oh well the doughnuts were good from the bakery, and I got to spend the day with my wife. I was hoping that I would get something off this roll just to see if the camera worked or not. I picked up my prints the other day, and I had 17 out of 24 prints, not bad after a bonehead move by the operator.

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I was pretty happy with what was saved. I need to work on my distance some more, but I love the look that this 60 year old camera produces. It was a good find at the yard sales. I can’t wait to find some more vintage cameras, and shoot them.

Stop back to see what kind of old camera I plan on shooting next.

Check out my site at http://johnzacharyphotography.com

One Click At A time

Take care
John

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