image by Jaap Schelvis (Image rights)
The Optima-Parat should not be confused with the Agfa Parat-I, which is a much simpler camera. The Optima-Parat is in fact one of the most sophisticated half frame cameras made by Agfa. It is fitted with the excellent Color-Solinar 1:2.8/30mm lens and it has a Compur shutter with speeds ranging from 1/30s to 1/500s plus B. Automatic exposure is provided by a Selenium cell, but manual exposure is also possible; aperture ranges from f/2.8 to f/22. Focusing is done by turning the small silver front ring of the lens, which focuses from 0.9 m. to infinity. Focussing is a matter of guessing the right distance. The focussing scale at the underside of the lens is given in meters as well as feet (in green). There are also three pictograms at the upper side of the lens indicating the optimal distances for portrait (at c. 1.8m., which seems pretty far for a 30mm lens), group pictures (at c. 4m.) and landscapes. The first two (two heads and a 'family' respectively) have a click stop, the latter (church between mountains) is simply the infinity end of the focussing scale.
Film speed can be set from ASA 10 - 250, DIN 12 - 25 with a round selector in the top plate. Film transport is done with an advance lever and the shutter release button is found on the front of the camera. The cable release socket is situated rather unconventionally at the underside of the shutter release button. The frame counter is to be found at the underside of the camera and runs all the way up to 72, since this half frame camera could take 72 pictures of 18x24 mm on a standard roll of 135mm film.