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09-26-2022, 06:43 AM - 10 Likes   #1
titrisol's Avatar

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AGFA Ambi SIlette (1957-8)

I learned about this beauty a few years back, thanks to an article in Cameraquest by Stephen Gandy. He called it poor man's Leica and I was curious about it.
A full description of the camera here: Ambi Silette - - The free camera encyclopedia

A few weeks back someone in APUG offered a complete kit (Type I) with all 4 lenses+proxar.
Speeds below 15 were sluggish but that is a common problem with Compurs that can be solved with a few drops of electrical contact cleaner in the shutter to clean the slow-gear assembly and self timer, both should be fine for a few years

Went outside with Film and a few observations
- Speed ring is very easy to use
- Lens focusing seems to be precise, the viewfinder is bright and the framelines are very nice.
- Aperture ring in the front is a VG idea, can use them without watching
- Camera handles very well for the age, nice and bright viewfinder, and the frame lines are a joy to use
- Changing lenses is super-easy, whomever invented that mount should teach the others a few lessons
- No lightmeter but that is fine, I have a handheld and also an app in the mobile phone.
- It is sad that AGFA wasn't more successful with this, the system handles better than the Contax (heresy). I wish I had this camera when I was shooting IR film (using a fixed lens RF)
- Ambion 35mm/4 lens is a joy to use, the 50mm is good but the 90 and 130 feel awkward, especially the 130 is huge.
- All lenses use the same filter size (35.5mm screw) except for the 130 (62mm)

Flash is not available, but ordered the Godox Lux Senior with the retro look and should be fine.

Photos with 35/4 lens
Kodak Gold 200 exposed using sunny 16 (250/11)
Cary NC

Last edited by titrisol; 09-29-2022 at 06:09 AM. Reason: organizing
09-26-2022, 06:58 AM   #2
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Very cool camera. Nice images - the mural in particular is nicely framed and grabs attention.
09-30-2022, 02:32 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Nice camera and nice pictures!
Agfa has always flown slightly under the radar but they produced some fine cameras.

10-02-2022, 05:29 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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Original Poster
Like with every good obsession... one attracts the other
I got a Type II (1959-61) which was modified with a longer RF base for the 130mm lens.
A few cosmetic differences otherwise:
Front look changed, as the RF and frameline windows are separated
Addition of strap lugs
Change in order of Frame Lines from 35-50-90 to 50-35-90
Exposure counter changed from additive to subtractive order
Cosmetic changes to the film advance lever (protrudes from back) and film reminder dial (Types of film).

The good news is that it came with an original manual and leather case, the bad news is that the lens is hazy

Top shows differences in the winding lever and the frame selection

Last edited by titrisol; 01-18-2023 at 02:21 PM.
10-03-2022, 05:34 PM   #5
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Nice looking camera

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