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Agilux, Agifold 120/620 roll film folding rangefinder camera. c1950

Agifold rangefinder camera for twelve 6x6cm images on either 120 or 620 roll film, made by Agilux in England. Agilux was a diversified company of AGI limited whose primary business was military instruments, their civilian cameras drew upon their WW2 experience with various cameras and shared some components across the range. The first Agifold camera arrived in around 1948, but was a viewfinder camera with direct and waist level finders. This uncoupled rangefinder version arrived later in 1950, sharing much of the body and other tooling with the view model. The rangefinder housing also serves as the opening mechanism as sliding it sideways releases the front. Without this knowledge it's impossible to open one, and examples with damaged hatches from being prised open are not uncommon. Construction starts off with a pressed steel sheet which is folded and joined to form the inner tray, then painted matt black. Onto this is attached the pressed aluminium front and lens bed/hatch. The back is pressed from aluminium sheet, and is removable rather than hinged, it features two film window options - green, for Panchromatic films and red, for orthochromatic films. Although independent, they frequently stick together, covering one whilst uncovering the other, which rather negates the feature. All the outer shell parts are covered in faux leather. The bellows are sealed linen and the side struts are chrome plated steel. The various knobs are of turned aluminium stock. The rangefinder body is prominently mirror chrome plated back and front incorporating an extinction meter, the calculator for which is mounted on the body. The Agilux leaf shutter is built into aluminium shells and is a mixture of pressed steel parts and brass brake mechanism, the shutter being released via a linkage to a button to one side of the rangefinder housing. Most had 9 speed shutters from 1 second to 150th including B setting, with Agilux flash contacts. Some earlier examples had 6 speed shutters from B to 125th, very late ones prior to 1955 had more modern shutter speed spacing up to 300th. The Agilux shutter was also used in some military cameras including the AGI Dial cameras, it is also used for the wide angle Agilux Envoy, however it's not a particularly elegant or well made device. The shutter is unusual for leaf shutters in that the blades travel at the same speed irrespective of the shutter speed, the brake mechanism is employed for all speeds below the fastest speed, to delay the closure. For this reason many of these cameras are stuck at the fastest speed, changing the dial has no effect on the shutter speed as the brake mechanism is sticky. For speeds down to 25th the brake is partially used, for speeds below this the escapement mechanism is also engaged. The lens was the rather long 3 element 9cm Agilux anastigmat. This design was superseded in 1955 by another, which was superficially similar, but a different camera altogether.

This example was acquired in September 2020 and given a deep clean to resolve a sticky shutter.

View other 6x6cm folding cameras in this collection.

View other rangefinder cameras in this collection.

Agifold box

Agilux Agifold Rangefinder I

Body No. 105346
Shutter, B, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 & 150th
Lens, Agilux Anastigmat, 9cm, f/4.5
Condition, 5F
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