Agfa Isola II front

The Agfa Isola I

As soon as I lost my “fear” of the medium format, I bought a second camera after the Holga 120 N . Why  the Agfa Isola I? Coincidence. I bought together in bundle with my second Olympus Trip 35 on the Mauerpark flee market in Berlin. The camera is quite light, fits in a pocket (which is not so common for a medium format camera) and has a build in yellow filter. Oh, and it was just 10 € for a camera which makes better pictures then the Holga, prevents you from double exposure and is easier to load. The Agfa Isola I is the third camera of the Isola series, after the original Isola and the Isola II. I usually load my Holga with colour film and this gem with black & white. Agfa, better known for their films then for their cameras, produced the camera in Munich, I used to drive by the building everyday on my way to work.

About the camera: Like the Holga, the camera is a simple viewfinder camera for medium format film. Due to the collapsible lens it is quite flat, which makes it easy to carry in a jacket’s pocket. The shutter speeds are 1/35 or “B”, apertures are f 16 (“sun”) or f 11 (“clouds”), for f 11 you can also use the build in yellow filter. The camera has a PC sync and a cold shoe to connect a flash, a tripod mount and connector for cable release.

Taking pictures: Select the right aperture, choose one of the three preset distances (1.5 – 2.5, 2.5 – 5, 5 – ∞, also called guess-o-matic) and shoot. In low light, use a flash. Try the yellow filter on cloudy days when using b&w film.
Agfa Isola I front Agfa Isola I top Agfa Isola I top Agfa Isola I back Agfa Isola I bottom Agfa Isola I aperture 61690002 61690011 11 10 000008 08  02 06

Brand Agfa
Camera Agfa Isola I
Year built 1957 – 1963
Serial number  –
Lens 1:11/72,5 mm
Film format Medium format
Special features Build in yellow filter
Manufactured by Agfa
Date of purchase 03.2012
Price 10 € (original price 27 DM)
Place of purchase Flohmarkt am Mauerpark, Berlin

Tips&Tricks: Don’t expect crazy vignetting like on the Holga, pictures are sharp till the corners.

Film purchase & processing: I usually shoot Kodak Portra 400 ISO colour and Kodak T-Max 400 ISO for black and white. Films can be developed everywhere.

Useful Links: (manual) (specs and animation of the tube in German)

The Agfa Isola Flickr group
My pictures on Flickr

Deutsche Version


6 thoughts on “The Agfa Isola I

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.