Agfa Clack

The Agfa Clack falls right among the Kodak Brownies and Holga in regards to simplicity.  In fact it’s a combination of both.  Produced from the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties, the Agfa Clack represents simple, German engineering.  Resembling its cousins the Agfa/Ansco Pioneer or ReadyFlash, the Clack is constructed from a black, metal frame covered in leatherette.  This is one solid camera.

A simple twist lock on the bottom that also houses the tripod mount, allows the outer shell of the camera to be removed for film loading.  It utilizes 120 roll film and produces a large 6x9cm negative similar to the Kodak Brownie Bull’s Eye.  However it is not quite as bulky.  Framing is done using a simple viewfinder.  What sets it apart from the Holga is its durable construction, and the ability to utilize the M or B shutter settings.  The M setting is actually an instant exposure which seems to fall around 1/60, and B is the standard Bulb setting allowing an exposure to last as long as the shutter release on the side of the lens is depressed.  But unlike the recent Holga, the dual aperture settings actually function.  If you purchased a Holga recently you will discover that although there is a switch near the lens for sunny (f/11) and cloudy (f/8), the f/11 setting does nothing.  The alternate aperture is no longer existent, this can be modified however.

The Clack on the other hand, has three different, “working” settings.  On the side of the lens is a small switch that can be adjusted for sunny, cloudy and close-ups.  When the close-up (3-10 feet) is selected an aperture swings into place that appears to have a piece of magnifying glass in the opening.   The larger aperture (probably f/8) is the only option for the close-up setting.  The lens is of a basic, one element design, and appears to be glass, but may very well be plastic.  It also features flash connectors on the upper, right side of the camera body.  The Agfa Clack is a great and economical way to jump into Medium Format snapshot photography and own a little piece of history.

As with virtually all cameras purchased on EBay this camera was filthy, but in relatively good shape.  It came with a brown, vinyl case, which was in surprisingly good shape for being around 40 years old.  Leather cleaner and Windex took care of the dirty camera exterior, and a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia cleaned the viewfinder and lens.  Some M.A.A.S metal polish was used with a soft toothbrush to remove some oxidation on the bare metal trim, although this did remove some black paint.  I was required to remove the lens housing in order to clean the inside of the lens, but this was not difficult.  Remove the single small screw underneath the lens barrel.  The thin retaining ring around the lens barrel will come off and allow the front of the barrel to be pulled off with a short twist.  The lens is held in place by a small screw that also retains the aperture arm.  Remove the screw but keep the aperture arm in place.  The lens housing can now be removed.  Windex or the 50/50 solution of ammonia and peroxide can be used to clean both sides of the lens.  I also dabbed some on a cotton swab to clean the small piece of magnifying glass in the close-up aperture ring.  Since the Clack uses a simple rotary style shutter, it should not be sticky or gummed up, if on the slight chance it is, now is the time to flood the shutter with Rosonal lighter fluid and work the shutter until its loose.  Put it all back together and you’re ready to start using the Clack.

The Agfa Clack is somewhat common but camera condition will usually vary.  The Pioneer and ReadyFlash seem to be more prevalent but you must be cautious as 116 roll film models are available and can be a little annoying to modify for 120 film.  The Clack was only produced for 120 roll film so this is not an issue.  I picked this little guy up for only five dollars, with a case, so they can be found for reasonable prices if patient.  The average seems to be around 10-12 dollars.  As usual my best advice is patience.  Place your maximum bid and walk away.  Another opportunity is sure to come along if you are not the highest bidder.  Always verify shipping.  If exact shipping charges aren’t listed, email the seller with your zip code and ask them to calculate postage, or ask for their zip code and calculate postage yourself.

Agfa Clack Sample 1 Agfa Clack Sample 2

Agfa Clack – Wikipedia
Agfa Clack – Camerapedia
Alfred’s Agfa Clack
Agfa Cameras
Agfa Shelf

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