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Old Dec 5, 2004, 6:36 PM   #1
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... I just went a little nutty and 5 minutes ago bid and won a vintage 1950's Agfa Ventura 66 medium format folder on eBay! It has the "legendary" Solinar lens and is (allegedly at least, we'll see what it looks like when it arrives...) minty and in 100% working condition.

The folders are terrific cameras that have gotten some renewed interest lately. These contraptions have leather bellows, that fold up inside the camera, so that unfolded they look like a large cigarette case.

I want this to be my walk'n around street camera, load up some contrasty B&W film, keep it tucked in the inside jacket pocket and take arty-farty street scenes. The FZ-1 is my family snap cam, which doubles as my trippy inferared and maco cam. From a "megapixel" standpoint, medium format = 48 megapixels. Ever see those old photos from the 40's and 50's? How crisp, contrasty, detailed, and long lasting they are? That's medium format.

... I just can't believe how much I just spent for this 50 year old camera (gulps). :roll: Hope it arrives as billed. This one is especially rare due to its lens and condition.

... ahhh F-it. Ya only live once.




(Hummms Stevie Wonder tune...)
Isn't she lovely....
Isn't she beau-teee--full...

Nick Tropiano, do you take this "woman" to be your lawfully wedded camera? To have and to hold, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health?

I do.



:love:
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Old Dec 5, 2004, 7:24 PM   #2
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Looks like a nice peice of history. Nice purchase.

bobc
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Old Dec 5, 2004, 7:55 PM   #3
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Gotta love ebay.
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Old Dec 5, 2004, 8:01 PM   #4
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bobc wrote:
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Looks like a nice peice of history. Nice purchase.

bobc
True, but not why I bought it. I hope to take some rockin pics. Researched it, and got what I wanted, but boy did I pay for it. Fingers crossed.
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Old Dec 5, 2004, 8:52 PM   #5
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NickTrop wrote:
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True, but not why I bought it. I hope to take some rockin pics. Researched it, and got what I wanted, but boy did I pay for it. Fingers crossed.
I could not even begin to imagine how much something like that would cost.

I can't wait to see some pics from it.

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Old Dec 5, 2004, 9:30 PM   #6
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bobc wrote:
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I could not even begin to imagine how much something like that would cost.
Oh.. bob, don't let me give you the wrong impression. It wasn't THAT bad - $200. But bear in mind, this is a 50 year old camera, which might be a DOA paperweight, and often they are. I might have paid $50 or so above market value for it but coming across one in mint condition, with the higher-end lens (Solinar), that actually works obviously drives the price up. Otherwise these things go for $25. The Zeiss cams go for much more, but they're more complicated and prone to unfixable jams (no parts...) and their price is inflated because of the name.

... kinda like buying a vintage old guitar, ya know? Same exact thing. Overpriced "names" but very playable well-made lesser-known brands that produce a sound that can't be replicated by today's models.

This is like that... You can't get "that" image quality from today's cameras... not to take anything away from them.

It's unfortunate that no one makes a medium folder today. They were wonderful walking around cameras. Something to consider as your interest in photography progresses, perhaps. The reason they take such marvelous images is that medium format film produces a negative 4X as large as 35mm film. Think of them as the FZ-3's of their day, but with resolution equivalent to 48(!) megapixels.
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Old Dec 5, 2004, 9:59 PM   #7
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Hello. I'm a little confused. I've been looking at the Vintage AGFA Ventura 66 Deluxe for a while on Ebay and it is not expensive at all when there is one listed. One auction ended in Nov at only $43.00 and another one ended today with a starting bid of 19.99 with no takers which I started to bid on but was a little hesitant because of the description. Should I be looking elsewhere for a decent one? Thanks!
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Old Dec 5, 2004, 11:28 PM   #8
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jazzisit wrote:
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Hello.* I'm a little confused. I've been looking at the Vintage AGFA Ventura 66 Deluxe for a while on Ebay and it is not expensive at all when there is one listed. One auction ended in Nov at only $43.00 and another one ended today with a starting bid of 19.99 with no takers which I started to bid on but was a little hesitant because of the description. Should I be looking elsewhere for a decent one?* Thanks!
The most determinate issues are 1. does it have a Solinar lens? and 2. what kind of condition is it in?

You know, I've been looking at them for a while too and they do vary dramatically in price. Boils down to the lens, shutter type, and condition of the camera. The Solinar lens was the top of the line lens on the Agfa folders, the mid-range was the Apotar, and the low end was the Agnar lens. Solinars are somewhat rare. Agnars are plentiful. Look as well for the Compu-Rapid or Compu-synch shutter, as opposed to the lower-end Pronto shutter. The Solinar is supposed to be an excellent lens, on par with the better lenses of today. So, the price is determined by if it has a Solinar, if it's in good working and cosmetic condition. If there has been testing to see if the shutter fires at all speeds and is accurate. The condition of the lens - no scratches or fungus in the inner elements. So an old Agfa folder with a pronto shutter, Agnar lens, in so-so or even inteterminate condition, that's untest might go for $20 to $30 if anyone bids at all. Same camera in excellent working condition with a clean, clear Solinar lens, no light leaks in the bellow, Comu-synch shutter in excellent to mint condition? $150 to $200 and rising.


There seems to be two types of sellers who put these up. Those who find them in the attic and know nothing about them... might be real "finds" or (more likely) not. Or camera nerds who know all about them, run some film through them... etc, and can provide some assurances that you receive a working camera, and know their value range and set the reserve price accordingly. The $30 to $40 ones your taking a chance, and will cost $150 to restore if they're restorable.

I think I might have overpaid a bit for a camera in this condition - which is excellent +, by about $30 but I didn't see too many of these with Solinar lenses in this kind of condition.

These are no different that any other antique. Ever watch that PBS show? Hard to tell the junk from the jewels unless you know what to look for. And if a seller just puts it up for auction, and knows nothing about it, found it in the attic, you might find a gem, or a paperweight. I won't bid on those, you don't know what you're getting.
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Old Dec 6, 2004, 12:02 AM   #9
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Nick,

Congrats on your new purchase! What size film do you use in that camera? Way back in High School, we had a 4 x 5 Speed Graphic that I used quite a bit, but the film was really expensive. We also had a 3- 1/4 x 4- 1/4 Speed Graphic for which we had an adapter that made it so that we could use regular old 120 film rolls. That made it much more economical to use. It was really fun playing around with the bellows. You could drop or raise the front of the camera to take out distortion (like when shooting tall buildings). Or, if you didn't know what you were doing, you could add a lot of distortion to the shot as well. I seemed to be pretty good at adding distortion! Those cameras were lots of fun. I hope you have a good time with your new toy.
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Old Dec 6, 2004, 12:07 AM   #10
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propwash wrote:
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Nick,

Congrats on your new purchase!* What size film do you use in that camera?
Thanks... it takes 6X6. The Ventura 66 = 6X6, The Ventura 69 = 6X9. Speedex's were great cameras. These great old cameras seem to be making a come back. They just took great pictures under the right condition. (Outdoors, lots of light...)
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