Agfa Standard cameras are a range of folding cameras, some models for plates and pack film, and others for roll film. They were made by Agfa from about 1926 until the 1930s. All of them are easily identified by the name ‘Standard’ below the lens and shutter.
In difference to other folders of that time which are focused by moving the front standard, the Agfa Standard features a focus helical. And while the moving front standard usually still works even after 70 years and more, all Agfa Standard models I’ve seen so far have one problem in common: the focus helical is stuck. That’s because the green grease used by Agfa turns into solid green glue when it dries over the years.
My Agfa Standard specimen were no exception to that rule. The shutter of both cameras was still working like a charm, even the long times of 1/2 and 1 second. But the focus mechanism was stuck. So I removed the front and back lens elements and then put the cameras in the oven at 50 ° C. Well, not the complete camera but just the front, and I kept the oven door open. After 20 minutes I tried to move the focus lever … and it moved! With the helical no longer stuck it was no problem to get rid of all the green grease stuff using Q-tips and lighter fuel. After cleaning I added some WD 40 and everything again works as fine as in the days when the cameras left the factory 🙂
My Agfa Standard Rollfilm model features a coupled rangefinder. I don’t know if this was a standard feature or custom-added by a previous owner.
Usally a rangefinder has two windows: one for each of the images which will coincide when the correct distance is set. But this one on the Agfa has a single window only. So how does it work? Well, you get one image through the rangefinder window. The second image is what you see in the distance above or left of the rangefinder.
Now you move the focusing lever and when the image in the rangefinder window matches with what you see in the distance you’ve got the right distance.
So simple but effective. I really love this kind of stuff 🙂