other Agilux cameras in my collection
Agilux Agimatic [1956 - 1959]
The Agimatic boasts a comprehensive specification, which includes an unusual system of rapid film transport and shutter operation, interchangeable lenses, adjustable viewfinder masks, a built in uncoupled rangefinder, and an extinction meter.
What makes the Agimatic unusual is the rapid film transport mechanism. A lever attached to the shutter housing simultaneously advances the film, tensions the shutter and increments the frame counter. Once cocked, a partial depression of this lever fires the shutter, and a further press winds-on: exposure and winding all in one movement. A visual indicator displays red when the shutter is tensioned, and a separate disc marked with alternate black and white bands shows whether the film feed shaft is rotating forwards or in reverse.
The entire back and base of the camera is removable to facilitate film loading. A consequence of such a design is that the film pressure plate is unconventionally attached to the film track, and must be opened on a hinge to accommodate the film. The closed pressure plate rests positively on the film, and is held in place by a friction stud.
The lens system on the Agimatic is interchangeable, and uses a bayonet mount. The locating mechanism is unusual in that to achieve locking - the mount is rotated (via a lever) and not the lens. Two lenses were available for the camera. Mine is fitted with an Agilux 45mm f/2.8, but an 85mm f/5.5 telephoto lens was also available (now very rare), and the viewfinder has a slide-in mask to suit the longer lens.
The viewfinder is of the direct optical type and has a green tint to provide contrast to the rangefinder field, which is orange coloured. The uncoupled rangefinder is of the coincidence type, and is operated by a wheel located beside the viewfinder. The focus distance is read from a scale on the operating wheel and the lens set accordingly.
The Agimatic is fitted with a visual exposure meter, which operates on the extinction principle. A second eyepiece is provided, through which the user observes a numerical scale of diminishing brightness. The least visible number is read and the value set on the exposure calculator fitted to the camera top plate, on which the correct aperture-shutter combinations are indicated. Using an Extinction meter is very subjective: I'd say the graphic reads 11, but others may think differently.
The camera body is manufactured from die-cast alloy. The back and base are of pressed metal covered in black grain leather. Metal fittings and trimmings are satin anodised.
In 1958, the price of this camera was £24 17s 6d, which was almost two weeks average UK pay.
Viewfinder: A split image rangefinder and viewfinder. No parallax markings. Image about 3/4 natural size.
Focus: Uncoupled rangefinder with manual setting on lens barrel.
Lens: The standard lens is the 45mm f2.8 Agilux. This is a coated anastigmat 4-element design.
Close Focus: 3'.
Diaphragm: Ten blades, stopping down to f/16.
Shutter: Two blade. Speeds: 1, 1/2nd, 1/5th, 1/10th, 1/25th, 1/50th, 1/100th, 1/200th, 1/350th and B Flash synchronised for X, F, M, or S at any selected speed.
Cable Release: None.
Meter: Extinction type with readouts from 1 to 12, where 12 is only visible at the brightest light level.
Film Speed: 8 to 250 ASA.
Filter Size: Not known.
Flash: Cold shoe and selectable X, F, M and S sync.
Film Advance: Combined lever wind & shutter release.
Frame Counter: Manually set, with automatic count-up.
Rewind: Via rewind lever (no release button).
Back Opening: Sliding button.
Size: 73mm (w) x 67mm (H) x 114 mm (L).
I paid £7.50 for this camera in March 2014.
I wanted a camera with an extinction meter, but the unique film transport mechanism, cute and compact styling, and the fact it's British (made in Croydon - a town where I once worked in my late teens ... a crappy job in a crappy shop, for crappy pay ... but happy memories), all made the Agimatic a must have.
Sadly the rangefinder doesn't work (there is no second image), but it's still a fabulous little camera. The leather cover on the shutter release was missing (and often seems to be), so I replaced this along with giving the camera a good clean.
The Agimatic doesn't seem to be very well known, but it's a really neat camera, and deserves a place in any collection.