Julian Tanase Photography

My Minox journey continues…

Agfa Silette-L (Compur)

Agfa Silette-L (Compur)

At some point, during the end of the 90’s I was quite taken by the Agfa Silette’s line of cameras. Something about them sleek lines, the ergonomics, and the simplicity of the operation. I distinctly remember that my preferred one for colour film was a Silette with Apotar glass, 3.5/45. Very good results, mainly with 400 ASA colour film. So this article is about one of the cameras I have owned for a really long time, Agfa Silette-L.

This here is almost new, a Silette-L with Solinar 2.8/50mm, set in a Compur Rapid shutter. To my eyes, the lens is up to par with the Apotar one, at least this is how it looks loaded with the same type of film. Very nice results when loaded with the current Fomapan line I now use for everyday photography.

Aperture ranges from 2.8 to 22, with speeds from B to 1/500s. It has an uncoupled meter, needle-matching type, reading in EV values. Simple and effective, fast operation. Of course you can just skip the metering thing and set your shutter and aperture manually, if you are so inclined.

The light meter on this camera is of course selenium, and to my surprise it still goes as if it was produced yesterday. True, since I bought the thing (1997 or 1998), the camera was stored in proper conditions and in the dark, in its own leather case. This must’ve helped conserve the selenium cell and its circuitry.

What amazes me every time when I pick this camera to run a film through it is the excellent feeling one has holding and operating it. Feels like a real machine, with a reassuring weight and smooth mechanics. The sound of the shutter is actually a purr, not a clonk. Clockwork, really.

All the goodies are on the top plate, such as the exposure counter, the meter and reading panel, shutter release button, cold shoe and the rewind knob. The flash sync is present on the front plate, near the lens.

These images were taken with the camera I presented here, film was an expired (2008) Konica VX400, lab dev and scan. While not great, it seems the camera does its job as it should, more or less.

All said, this camera is an excellent example of craftmanship and ingenious design of the old days. Agfa (as other manufacturers of the day) fully understood that a camera has to have beauty as well as functionality.