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Agfa Standard Model 208 Plate Camera
Excellent cosmetic condition and working
Agfa Doppel Anastigmat 13.5cm f4.5
General Agfa Standard Model 208 Information
Agfa Standard cameras are a range of metal-bodied folding cameras, some models for plates and pack film, and others for roll film. They were made by Agfa from about 1926, when the company had recently become part of IG Farben and taken over the Rietzschel factory, until the mid-1930s (1933, according to McKeown). It is clear from patents filed by Rietzschel that the Standard range of cameras was already planned by the company before the change of name.
- Model 204 is for 6.5x9 cm plates, or 6x9 cm film-pack;
- Model 208 is for 9x12 cm plates;
- Models 254 and 264 (the same camera with a coupled rangefinder, introduced later) are for 6x9 cm on 120 roll film (Agfa size B2);
- Models 255 and 265 (again, the latter with a rangefinder, and only available later) are for 6.5x11 cm on 116 roll film (Agfa D6).
Both plate and roll film cameras were at first offered only in a normal finish, with black leather and bellows; a Luxus finish (not described with this term) was also offered in the early 1930s, with light brown leather. Brown leather added just 4 Marks to the price for equal lens/shutter specifications; however, some specifications were only available with brown leather: for example, the model 254 was offered with the Trilinear f/6.3 or f/4.5, and with the Automat shutter when in black finish, and with the same lenses and the choice of Automat or Compurshutters when in brown. Standard model 208 seems to have been discontinued before the smaller cameras: the 1930s brochure no longer offers model 208 (roll-film and 6.5x9 cm plate cameras are still listed), and the Isolar, with a more conventional lens carriage, rack-and-pinion focus and both rise and shift, is the only 9x12 camera offered.
The 1928 brochure offers the roll-film cameras with the Agfa Anastigmat, available as an f/7.7, f/6.3 or f/4.5, and the plate cameras only with the Agfa Double-Anastigmat f/4.5. The later brochure offers both roll-film and plate cameras with the triplet Trilinear as an f/6.3 or f/4.5; the double-anastigmat Helostar f/4.5 and the Solinar f/4.5 are offered for the 6.5x9 roll-film and plate cameras (it seems likely that the Trilinear is identical to the Anastigmat, and the Helostar to the Double-Anastigmat); the Solinar is also offered for the 6x9 camera if fitted with a rangefinder. McKeown states that some cameras of models 254 and 255 were fitted with Krauss Quatryl f/4.5 or f/4.7 lenses at the Krauss factory in Paris.
Even in the plate cameras, where the lens carriage slides on rails, the lens is mounted in a helical mechanism for focusing; this gives unit focusing; i.e. the whole lens moves, not just the front element. In surviving examples, the mechanism is frequently stiff because of dried grease.
The shutter is usually the Automat everset shutter illustrated here, with speeds 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 second, plus 'B' and 'T'. This was made by Gauthier; it is not marked with a name, but has the company's logo on it. It was the only shutter mentioned in the 1928 brochure: as noted above, some models were later available with a Compur shutter, giving 1 - 1/200 or 1/250 second plus 'B' and 'T', and with a self-timer.
Plate model 208 (for 9x12 plates) has front rise; there is no shift. The lens carriage on this model latches at the infinity-focus position, at which the helical mechanism gives focus down to two metres. However, the carriage can be drawn further forward to obtain closer focus, down to about one metre, using a scale on the right of the bed. Some of these cameras have double-anastigmat lenses, in principle separable, but the bed (with a simple pair of fixed rails) is not long enough to give infinity focus with the front group removed. Instead, slip-on front-mounted Vorsatzlinsen or Verlängerungslinsen ('front-mounting lenses' or 'lengthening lenses') were available. A 1928 brochure mentions only one, which increases the focal length from 13.5 to 16.5 cm; the 1930s brochure offers two: model 'A' is said to extend the focal length by a factor of 1.3 (i.e. to about 17.5 cm) and model 'B' by 1.5 (i.e. to about 20 cm). lenses of other powers have been seen, suggesting the range was changed more than once.
The cameras all have a brilliant finder, which rotates for portrait and landscape orientation, and a wire frame finder. Plate models can be used with a ground glass focusing screen.
As noted above, a slim, side-mounted coupled rangefinder was made available later (it is mentioned in the early-1930s brochure, but not in the 1928 one) for several of the Standard cameras. In addition to the roll-film models, where the camera with the RF was a distinct model number, the RF was an option for model 204, adding 20 Marks to the price (the price of the camera without RF was between 55 and 95 Marks, depending on the lens and shutter). The rangefinder is of an interesting type, with only one front window (presumably housing two prisms), and giving a split view rather than two overlaid images.
The roll-film cameras have spool-holders that hinge out of the camera body for more convenient loading.
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Looking after your camera
Use a Camera Bag
A camera bag does more than just protect the camera against scratches and dust: It keeps it safe from rain because many are waterproof on the outside.
Be Very Careful Around the LCD Screen and Camera Lens
Use only special equipment to clean your camera’s LCD screen and camera lens. Buy a special cleaning kit that includes liquid solutions, microfiber cloths and brushes that have been specially designed to clean your camera lens.
Never Leave Your Batteries in Your Camera for Too Long
Many camera batteries are now alkaline or lithium formats. If you keep your camera with the batteries inside of it in a moist area, then the batteries can get corrosive. So if you’re thinking about just putting your camera on the shelf for several months, do yourself a favor and remove them.
Turn Your Camera Off Prior to Doing Anything
Before you do anything to your camera, always keep in mind that it should be turned off first. No matter what it is—swapping lenses, changing memory cards or disconnecting or attaching cables—your camera should be turned off.
Cold and Wet Weather Can Wreak Havoc on Your Camera Body
Take your camera out only in a waterproof bag. If the weather’s unusually cold, just wrap your camera in a plastic bag that has silica desiccant packets for the reduction of moisture. It’s also a smart idea to have a soft towel with you to wipe off any moisture, just in case it should get on your camera.
Good Memory Card Care Is Good Camera Care
Only transport your memory cards inside of a protective caseMake sure the memory cards stay dust-free at all times. When removing memory cards, make sure you do so indoors or in non-dusty situations.
Make sure that you keep memory cards only in cool places. Never keep them in places where they may heat up, like dashboards or glove compartments.
Never place your memory cards close to magnetic sources. Examples of magnetic sources are things such as audio speakers, TV monitors and actual magnets.
Use a Filter to Protect Your Camera Lens
The lens of your camera is naturally fragile. As such, it’s susceptible to scratches, cracks, dents…you name it. A UV filter will not only will you give your lens a fighting chance, but you’ll also enhance the quality of your pictures.
Condensation Can Be Controlled
Condensation normally happens when you move your camera between different temperatures.
Allow your camera a chance to naturally get used to the hotter environment. Don’t place it inside a closed plastic bag when transporting it between different temperatures! Just let the camera sit in the humid temperature for a while, until condensation disappears.
If this still doesn’t get rid of all of it, you can utilize a soft cloth to wipe away any remaining moisture and marks left behind from the condensation.