Vintage AGI Cameras
If you are collecting vintage AGI cameras, note that as well as the Agimatic (‘the fastest handling 35’), the company also made and sold the Agiflex 120-roll film reflex camera, the Agifold (120 again) folder (‘something quite unique’), and the Agiflash Bakelite 127 film camera (‘always first choice’). It also made and sold the Agiscope (‘the most modern enlarger of them all’).
All of these were sold under the ‘Agilux Ltd’ name.
Aeronautical & General Instruments were founded in 1915, in Croydon as Radio Instruments Ltd, changing their name to AGI in 1936. During WW2 the company supplied optical and electronic instruments to all three armed forces, especially aerial reconnaissance cameras for the RAF. The company is still in business, and still supplying the same sort of equipment to the armed forces of the UK and other countries, as well as civilian institutions such as airports.
Country of origin: England
Speeds: B 1 1/2 1/5 1/10 1/25 1/50 1/100 1/200 1350
Lens: Interchangeable (45mm, f2.8 4-element)
Stops: 2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16 (continuously variable)
An interesting camera, made by the still-extant firm of Aeronautical & General Instruments.
The shutter is cocked, fired, and film wound with the same lever on the side of the lens housing. An 85mm lens is available (I don’t have one yet). The extinction meter is next to useless, as they all are. There is a hole in the rewind lever where it covers the viewfinder. This camera was bought with a defective lens – a donor camera supplied a better lens. The biggest gripe with this camera is the time it takes to rewind the film – the ratchet seems primitive compared to the rewind handle on more modern cameras.
Cost when new: £24 17s 6d
There was a later version of this camera with a large top-housing for a brighter viewfinder – the similar looking Voigtlander Vito B models have the same evolution.