How I came to find this camera
This is what I came across on a Friday afternoon at a flea market selling old camera bits and bobs in Graz. It was a sunshine filled day as I notice the old selenium cell light meter’s needle moving in the light. Thinking to myself this can’t be too bad, I mean I wasn’t expecting a built in light meter by any stretch. This was a bonus. I checked if the shutter operated at it’s highest setting of 1/300 and it’s lowest value of 1 second. These shutter speeds seemed to perform. The leaf shutter opened and closed quite nicely. It took awhile to figure out how the aperture dial would turn. It was stiff even when I push down on the serrated edged metal release to rotate the aperture ring to fully open at ƒ/3.5. The focal length of the compact lens is 45 mm.
It was a sunshine filled day as I notice the old selenium cell light meter’s needle moving in the light
However sadly I did later realise the focusing was stuck. I’m actually happy that I made this discovery after the fact in the evening then at the time of purchase. I probably would have left the camera there and not buy it. Thinking that the lens was stuck at infinity. It could work still, I guess for making images at least for landscape. But being a curious type I decided to take a leatherman’s tool to it. The pliers in fact, squeezing it around the focus ring. Normally I wouldn’t attempt such brashness to a camera. You just know don’t do that kind of thing! To proclaim my innocence at this point, I had actually removed what I could of the front plate. Nonetheless I did the unthinkable. And you know what ? It worked. The focus ring loosen and now it’s back to a usable state. Now try that on a modern camera made of plastic – not a chance!
Images from the Camera
Below are a few images taken with €4 camera with Ilford PanF, all are developed at home with Rodinal developer.These were taken on holidays in Croatia.
A Little History
The camera for the first post is the Agfa Silette L. This little neglected beauty is a 35mm film viewfinder camera. Produced by Agfa some time after 1956. There’s a whole series of the Silette. I believe there’s even a painted version of this one. It’s also known as the Ansco Memar which was sold in United States.
This little neglected beauty is a 35mm film viewfinder camera. Produced by Agfa some time after 1956. There’s a whole series of the Silette.
It based on the same body as the Agfa Silette (original) but with some improvements as an uncoupled Selenium cell light meter in the top plate. There were three successive types of meter, with a bigger or smaller setting knob, and a larger or smaller cover flap. There were many lens/shutter combinations like Agfa Color-Apotar, Color-Agnar, Color-Solinar lenses and Pronto, Prontor, Prontor-SVS, Compur-Rapid, and Parator shutters. Certain metal parts before are from now on out of plastic.
There are 7 types/versions of the camera Source – http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Agfa_Silette_L
How do I rate this camera
What’s really useful is the EV based light meter, which you match up the value of light in EV to the number of the side of the aperture ring/timing ring combination.
Fun Factor: Moderate
Build Quality: Excellent
Ease of Use: Simple