The folding camera abc image results and summary

The folding camera abc image results and summary

Image results and summaryYou can only form a final opinion about a camera when you have not only seen images that have been taken with it by others, but when you have worked with the camera yourself. After the image quality, the handling is the second reason to decide for or against a camera. Since with folding cameras no simple recommendation can be given (Buy model A! Is not necessarily useful as a guideline), after viewing all accessible information, the only thing left is the own experiment.

11.1 Image results

To illustrate what is pictorially possible with folding cameras and what problems can occur, a few example photos appear at this point. Since the author does not have access to a film scanner for roll film, the pictures have simply been enlarged to 10x15cm in the minilab and then scanned with a flatbed scanner. A real quality control is only possible on the basis of the negative or the slide, but the examples given here give a first insight.

Simple and old cameras

Deliberately, the following pictures were not only taken with simple cameras, but also given to the drugstore for development and enlargement. The image quality is already dubious in the scan, but it is not worse than some images of a modern, technically valuable 35 mm camera.

Pouva Start

The Pouva Start is a camera with a fixed focus lens that also visibly vignettes, as this shot from Dessau unfortunately clearly shows. Nevertheless, even this image does not sound out the lower limit of the capability of large laboratories. Also with modern cameras I have seen with development. Magnification in the large lab has already been handed worse images than this one.


Christian Zahn exposed slide film with the Ihagee, to his example he writes: A slide made with the Ihagee on Fujia Astia can be found [here]. Hermann Wenzel" power plant in Duisburg-Ruhrort, with a car bridge in front of it and the old railroad basin below, now a yacht and leisure harbor.


The Hongmei already delivers visibly better results, as this shot of the lock in Berlin's Tiergarten shows.

Agfa Box

Surprisingly good is the quality of the Agfa box, as this picture provided by Stefan Nützel shows.

Agfa Standard

Although the mechanics of the Agfa Standard make a highly trustworthy impression, the quality of the optics is unfortunately so poor that it is not possible to work sensibly with this camera. Especially chromatic aberration causes problems, as can be seen in the examples of a black and white image of a church in Dahlem and in contrast a color image of the courtyard of the Zuse computer center.

Agfa Isola

Although the Agfa Isola was already at that time a simple, if not really inexpensive camera, it succeeds in taking very useful pictures, so that it can be used comfortably for different motif sizes. However, it must be pointed out once again that the Agfa Isola I, due to its simple lens, is nowhere near the imaging performance of the Agfa Isola. As the picture of the Schöneberg town hall shows, the camera is just as suitable for classic travel photography as it is for close-up shots, as this still life in a beer garden shows. By the way, on the coffee table there is a second copy of the Agfa Isola, just purchased at this time. From the Minilab enlargement to 15x15cm, a cutout scanned at 300dpi was made without post-processing, and all automatic features of the scanner were also switched off. Although the sharpness of detail is certainly not up to today's standards, enough details of the coffee table are still preserved.

The backlight sensitivity common for cameras of that time is demonstrated by the photo of a floodplain forest in the backlight, also taken with the Agfa Isola at noon. The Zeiss Nettar proves itself in production-. Lens quality clearly outperforms the camera. Although the lens is only a three-lens, it can produce respectable results that should be quite sufficient for most purposes. To demonstrate the sharpness of the lens, a section of the large image of the Leibnizstraße transformer station scanned at 300dpi was taken at maximum scanner resolution (600dpi, not interpolated) scanned.


The Belfoca is conceptually a copy of the Zeiss Nettar, and on paper has similar specifications (three-lens, shutter, etc).), but in practice it must visibly fall behind the competitor from Zeiss. To demonstrate the sharpness of the lens, a section of the large image of Kleine Hamburger Straße scanned at 300dpi was taken at maximum scanner resolution (600dpi, not interpolated) scanned. Despite the fact that the boundary conditions are largely comparable (same type of film, same shutter speed, similar light, similar motif, etc.), the same processes can also be observed with tires.), the selected detail clearly shows that the resolution of the Meritar leaves a lot to be desired, but this is in line with expectations: the Meritar does not always get the best reviews. Furthermore, the picture on the lower right shows clear traces of light penetration through the rear film window. Incident light through the bellows would have the color of the ambient light, i.E. Would be white here, and due to the nature of the hole edges usually produces comet tail-like images of point-shaped light sources.

Ercona with Zeiss Ikon Tessar

The Ercona is an interesting replica of the Zeiss Ikon Ikonta, with the same locking mechanism, but not quite as stable and securely locking spreaders. The camera used here is equipped with a Zeiss Tessar. To demonstrate the sharpness of the lens, a section of the large image of the restaurant Beijing scanned at 300dpi was taken at maximum scanner resolution (600dpi, not interpolated) scanned.

Comparison shots Zeiss Tessar – Leitz Hektor – Nikon Nikkor

For better clarity, I took pictures of the same subject (Ostkreuz station) with three different lenses of similar focal length. Besides the Ercona with Zeiss lens presented here, a Leitz Hektor 90mm on an M2 as well as a 105mm/2.5 used on a Nikon F301. The Leitz lens is uncoated and has shown clear signs of use (and unfortunately also traces of cleaning) over the years. The Nikon lens and the Tessar of the Ercona are technically in better condition than the Leitz lens.

With back light, i.E. Following the classic recommendation, the reference image is taken with the Ercona. For comparison, the Leitz Hektor offers a much weaker contrast here, whereas even the Nikon lens in this application (paper images from the Minilab) offers no significant gain in sharpness or contrast.

The lenses differed even more clearly when exposed to stray light. With light from the side, the Ercona Tessar still produces a usable image, but the image with the Leitz Hektor sinks behind a low-contrast veil that covers the whole image. The picture taken with the Nikon lens clearly shows that the old folding camera is still usable, because a significant increase in quality is not visible here either.

To get real information about the sharpness, the films should be scanned with a film scanner, but the first impression of the paper prints shows at least a direction in which the different lenses can be classified.

11.2 Summary

The advantages of folding cameras are obvious. With low initial investment (occasionally from 5 euros, for really useful cameras from ca. 20 Euro), they are relatively small and handy and, depending on the lens, allow sharp images to be taken. From 6×6- and 6×9-image format, enlargements can often be made at the same reasonable prices as from KB.

The disadvantages should not be concealed either: The bellows is often not light-tight, the folding mechanism sometimes damaged. A rangefinder is only available with expensive specimens, and sometimes you are just unlucky with shutter and/or lens (but then again the advantage of low initial investment applies).

Dieter Oberle writes: I look at such cameras with mixed feelings.

In another personal statement, Peter Müller writes: Actually, an experiment with 6×9 folding cameras is only worthwhile with models after II. World War II, not only because of the coating of the lenses. The problem is that cameras with high quality lenses, z.B. Voigtländer Apo-Lanthar or Heliar, can be traded at corresponding prices. Four-lens, z.B. Color Skopar are already cheaper. I own these cameras, but for practical purposes I have to conclude that my Agfa Record III with the Solinar lens gives the best results.

In another comment Wilfried Pupke writes: Recently, when it was still sunny, I took a folding camera-Comparative test undertaken. Fairly the sun diagonally from the left behind. The candidates: – Mockba 5; – AGFA Billy-Record with Anastigmat 4,5/105; – Baldalux with Radionar 4,5/105 and – large format camera with 6×9 rollfilm cassette and Rodenstock Grandagon 4,5/90 Bj.1988.

The best way to get usable pictures is to look for the described quality features (lens, shutter), to test the camera thoroughly (sample film) and to be ready to spend ca. 50 euros to spend. Below that, the probability of a showcase-ready bad buy just becomes too great.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: