Solinette

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Agfa made this folding 35mm viewfinder camera between 1952 and 1955. The styling echos the medium-format Agfa Isolette cameras.

The Solinette is a horizontal folder, i.e. the bed drops downwards on struts with the camera held horizontally, distinguishing it from the otherwise somewhat similar Kodak Retina. The top plate is almost symmetrical, with matching advance and rewind knobs, and the shutter release button on the right matching the bed release on the left.

The shutter is cocked manually. The release button is threaded for a cable release. There is a double-exposure prevention interlock, with no override control.[1] The shutter is synchronised for flash, with a PC socket on top of the shutter unit, and a cold shoe on the top plate.

The lens focuses to 3½ feet; focusing is by movement of the whole lens and shutter, with a focus ring behind the lens.

There is a mechanical frame counter in a window in the middle of the top plate, in front of the accessory shoe. This must be set manually when a new film is loaded; the counter is advanced to 'A' by pressing the button on the back of the top housing (as in the picture here; the button itself is released by a sliding control nearby). The camera back is then closed and the counter advanced to frame 1 by winding the film normally. The same button serves as the rewind release. On some examples, there is a film-type reminder dial in the rewind knob.

There were two versions of this camera: the Solinette and Solinette II, and the latter is far more common. There were also several lens and shutter variations, as shown in the table below [2].

Name Lens Shutter
Solinette Compur RMXV Solinar f/3.5/50mm Compur RMXV
Solinette Prontor SV Apotar f/3.5/50mm Prontor SV
Solinette Prontor SVS Apotar f/3.5/50mm Prontor SVS
Solinette Compur RMX Solinar f/3.5/45mm Synchro-Compur
Solinette USA Color Apotar f/3.5/45mm Prontor SVS
Solinette II Solinar Solinar f/3.5/50mm Synchro-Compur
Solinette II Prontor SVS Solinar f/3.5/50mm Prontor-SVS
Solinette II Apotar Apotar f/3.5/50mm Prontor SV


There is a similar rangefinder-equipped model, the Super Solinette, which has a Solinar lens, and a Synchro-Compur shutter.

The Solinette was replaced by the Silette, and the two were sold concurrently.

At sometime after 1958, the following the restyling of the Silette line, a rigid-body Solinette model was produced, as illustrated below.



Notes

  1. However, the double-exposure prevention interlock operates on the release button, so may be overridden by using the release lever on the shutter body itself. The shutter cannot be released without film in the camera, except by winding the sprocket-roller in the film chamber manually to disarm the interlock.
  2. Information obtained from the publication "Agfa Geschichte eines deutschen Weltunternehmens von 1867 bis 1997"


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