So there it was. A vintage German camera sitting at a flea market stall. It had a brown cover and not much else. It reminded me of my Diana in an eerie metallic kind of way. The seller could not guarantee it still worked. For $8, I thought I'd find out.
The camera was a 1961 Agfa Isoly Junior and I did not expect the quality of my first film to be so fantastic! No light leaks, great contrast and framing, and the whole roll worked!
I managed to locate some instruction for the Agfa Isoly (base model) on the Internet by translating German to English. As far as I can tell, the Agfa Isoly and Agfa Isoly Junior are structured much the same (maybe they ARE the same yet named differently in different parts of the world?). I know that the Junior is also sometimes referred to as Isoly “0”. Either way these are the most accurate specifications I can find here.
Shutter speed: single speed 1/30 sec
Focus (in meters): 5 to infinity – sun, 5 to infinity – overcast, 2.5 to 5m – close up, sun.
Aperture size: 11; 16
Tripod thread: available
The Isoly instructions recommend ASA/ISO 40 film for sunlight and ASA/ISO 100 film for dull days. I have used ISO 100 B&W. I feel that even on a bright day, the ISO 40 recommendation would be too slow. Overall the camera is very forgiving of the available light given such few settings.
I have yet to find a Agfa flash that will fit this camera so that I can try it out in low light/night.
One of my favorite things about this camera is its curved framing which gives the shots a very vintage feel, as if they were taken decades ago. They remind me of several of my mum’s high school photo albums which I trawled with pleasure as a kid.
I adore this camera for its simplicity, size and light forgiving accuracy. Given its age (50 years!) and simple construction – I am pleasantly surprised with this great little flea market find :D
Best recommendation I can give is to trawl your local markets – the treasures are hiding so go find them!