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Lomopedia: Agfa Ambi Silette

Aside from films, box cameras, 110 pocket cameras, and even folding cameras, German camera and film manufacturer Agfa also made some 35mm rangefinder cameras. One of them was the Agfa Ambi Silette.

An improved version of the 35mm rangefinders in the Super Silette line, the Agfa Ambi Silette was the only interchangeable lens model in the series. Introduced in 1957 and manufactured until 1961, the Ambi Silette came with the standard rapid 4-element Agfa Color-Solinar 50mm f/2.8 lens. Features include a rapid film wind lever, automatic shutter wind, double and blank exposure lock, and viewfinder automatically compensated for parallax upon changing from one focal length to another. Alternative lenses were Agfa Color-Telinear f/4.0 – 90mm telephoto lens and Agfa Color-Ambion f/4.0 – 35mm wide angle lens.

Despite being called “The Poor Man’s Leica M3,” the Ambi Silette is not without quirks. It lacks eyelets and lugs for camera straps, has a pull-out foot that keeps the camera from leaning forward when equipped with longer lenses, and the second version had some sort of a flip-type protective cover over the viewfinder and rangefinder windows. See a comparison between the first and second Ambi Silette versions here

Technical Specifications:

  • Lens: Agfa Color-Solinar 50mm f/2.8, four elements, interchangeable w/35-50-90-135mm; three other main Agfa lenses are 35mm/f4 Color-Ambion, 90mm/f4 Color-Telinear, 130mm/f4 Color-Telinear
  • Mount: bayonet, very easy mounting, filter size 37mm slip-on
  • Lens release: press the catch on the lower front of the lens mount and simultaneously turn the lens counter clock-wise gripping the fixed miled ring on the lens; Aperture: f/2.8-f/22
  • Focusing: matching yellow rangefinder images in the finder, via turning the ring on the lens, w/DOF scale; Focus range: 1-10m +inf
  • Shutter: Synchro-Compur leaf shutter speeds: 1-1/500 +B; setting: ring and scale on the shutter, behind the lens, w/ two little handles
  • Shutter release: on the right of the top plate, w/ cable release socket
  • Viewfinder: coupled view/rangefinder, matching yellow images, w/ bright-line frames, parallax correction by a switch on the top plate adjusts to the 35-50-90mm lenses, the 130mm lens required a separate viewfinder
  • Cocking lever: also winds the film, short stroke, on the right of the top plate
  • Frame counter: coupled with winding lever, advance type, manual setting
  • Self-timer: the small green lever must point to V of the dial on the top of the shutter, after exposure and winding it turns to X
  • Flash PC socket: on the right of the shutter, M 1/60-1/500, X 1/30 synch, adjustment via the small green lever on the top of the shutter
  • Others: Cold-shoe; Memory dial;Tripod socket 1/4 inch; Supporting slide on the front of the bottom plate
    Back cover: Hinged, opens by tha latch on the left side of the camera
  • Body: metal; Weight: 705g

All information for this article were sourced from Camerapedia, Collection Appareils, and urmonas.net.

written by plasticpopsicle

2 comments

  1. le_ors

    le_ors

    Thank you @plasticpopsicle :D
    it's my favorite rangefinder <3

    8 months ago · report as spam
  2. plasticpopsicle

    plasticpopsicle

    You look really happy holding it in your first photo above, @le_ors! Nice snaps! :D

    8 months ago · report as spam