In your bag 501- Robert Kittel
Robert is back, again. He has been on here a couple of times before(here and here), but each time his bag has been different. Now he has another bag for us, and it is lovely.
as things are changing I send you a new bagshot of my beloved ancient Tenba-bag. I have this bag with me every day and would like to have a second one. Just for the case that …
Anyway, it fits perfect what I’m willing to carry around: A Fuji X100 and a Agfa Ambi Silette with some films and other stuff. I dont think that I must introduce the Fuji. I like it because it is so incredible silent and the IQ is almost as good as with my Full frame. Also I like the viewfinder and this made me taking out my old Agfa once again after years of storage. Allow me to tell you more about this gem.
The Afa Ambi Silette was never intended to match Leica. It evolved from the Silette, a quite simple viewfinder with a fixed three- or fourlens optic. Maybe it was thought as a luxury item with changeable lenses. However, the Ambi Silette is extremly well made. It is rather heavy, seems to be heavyer than the Leica M3, but much smaller than this. Camera and lenses are mostly made of brass which explains the weight. You will not find often an original M3 today, where you not have to service the shutter – mostly the high speed times do not work correct. Every Ambi Silette I saw was perfectly working, even the worn looking samples.
The Rangefinder of the Ambi Silette is very bright. Brighter than most other cameras of the Fifties. Rangefinderbase is a bit smaller than with the M3, almost the same as the later M2. It has frames for 35, 50 and 90mm, and an automatic parallax correction for all lenses. Four lenses were provided: Solinar 2,8 50 mm (a Tessar), Ambion 4 35mm, Telinear 4 90mm and Color Telinear 4 130mm. All were coated and suitable for colorfilm. I only have the 50mm, which works extremely well, just look at the sample image.
The lens mount is a piece of genious enginiering. It has a central shutter with 1/500 as fastest time and you must not look for red dots to match. Just put the lens on the camera and turn it as long till it snaps in. The shutter works extremely silent, like a Rolleiflex.
I wouldn’t call the Agfa a poor mans Leica. In some respect it is even better. I love it because changing film is much easyier than the fiddling with Leicas. The funny looking flap over the viewfinder does make sense. The finder image gets better contrast. It is small, sturdy and silent. All in all it is very easy to work with it (keeping in mind that is made in the Fifties), and the image quality is excellent. Lenses are rare today. When you find them, then only as part of a complete outfit for a rather high price. Ambi Silettes only with standard lens are cheap – here in Vienna they are sold around 100 € / 120 $. They are highly underestimated gems.
As film I use mostly Agfa APX 100. I have only a few rolls of the original Agfas left, but can get them as Rollei Retro 100 now. Fresh films, made with the original Agfa machines and recipes. I develop them in Rodinal 1:50 which gives me very fine negatives suitable both for silverprints and for scanning.
After a lot of trys with several filmscanners including drumscanners I now found a method, which is quick and give me better greys than the scanners. I dismount the head of my enlarger using it as shadow free lightsource on the baseplate. The enlargercolum is used as a reprostand with a Nikon DSLR and a 55mm 3,5 micro nikkor. This combination is able to resolve the filmgrain and gives rather useable digital images from black and white negatives (works also with color slides) really quick.
I use this bag mainly for assignments. When I’m on travel I often leave the hotel in the evening to explore the places. The Fuji is perfect for this and has also useable BW-Modes. But I think they are not looking the same as real film. Agfa film get out much more shades of grey so I decided to take the Agfa as a perfect pendent to the Fuji with me. A simple Gossen Bisix is all I need for metering, my Minolta Flash Meter would be bigger than the camera.
Thanks for sharing your bag with us again Robert. It is very interesting to see how your gear changes.
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