Agfa Click Review – Retro Curveball

This Vintage number looks positively Art Deco but actually hails from the late 50’s and had a run into the 70’s

Agfa Click I
Agfa Click I a German Fixed focus 120 camera from the 1950’s

Widely available this makes an interesting alternative to the Holga or Diana F+.

My suspicion is that like the  Holga was aimed for China,  the Click was intended for the burgeoning home market in Post WWII reconstruction West Germany. Agfa had a good pre and post war reputation and were already making much more advanced cameras like the Stilette 35mm series and the rebooted Isolette 120 folders so both the Click and the slightly earlier Clack seem at odds for a company going for higher markets. However Agfa clearly got the market right and the Click enjoyed a long life even beyond the arrival of the slightly more advanced Agfa Isoly series.

Click test roll II
Central Hotel, Annan, November 2014. Agfa Click I with Fomapan 100.

Agfa Click 1 Specs

  • Lens:  72.5mm 1 element
  • Focus: Fixed
  • Metering: None
  • Aperture: f/11 & f/16
  • Shutter speeds: ~1/30
  • Frame:  6×6
  • EV (100ISO) : 12-13
  • Filter: Built in  & Push on

4 Versions exist. All share the same curved black plastic body with Iconic viewfinder above and have identical controls. Most information on the web concerns the Click I and II with the major difference being the change from the Click I’s simple meniscus lens to a slight better Achromat 72.5mm lens.  My suspicion is that the III & IV were actually made for the India & SE asia market. The III shares the same simple meniscus as the Click I and the last Click IV shares that Achromat lens of the II. The IV also ditches the proprietary Agfa Clibo flash unit for a standard hot shoe (The clibo is actually much harder to get so if flash bothers you, I’d get a IV)

Click test roll II
Annan Academy, November 2014. Agfa Click I with Fomapan 100.

Away from the flash you have really just 3 user control – the winder knob, shutter and aperture switch. This gives a choice of 2 apertures and a yellow filter (at f/11) setting for B&W (later versions seem to lose the filter but gain an extra f-stop). The shutter of 1/30 with a smallest f/11 on paper would match the manual’s apparent recommendation of DIN 17° (40 ISO) for good conditions. Today thanks to film latitude you’ll probably get away with modern 100 ISO or less negative film.  The manual quotes 2m to infinity  for focal range and I think the sweet spot is around 5 metres.

Loading is familiar to any Holga user.  There are 2 clips on the sides to slide off allowing you to remove the back. The camera has a red window for film count but this isn’t shuttered. There is a tripod mount but no options for Bulb setting or cable. Build quality seems good but my clips were going mean I had to use a rubber band to hold the back on.

After the flood
Agfa Click I with Lomography 100CN. Feb 2015. Annan Harbour.

Shotwise it actually ain’t that bad for what it is. The camera has a curved plane that makes up for the basic lens. Things are  a bit soft (more obvious in colour but have a retro charm). Shots I’ve seen on the Click II do seem a bit sharper. There is a slight barrel distortion but less than the effect you get with a Holga.

Good clean simple fun for retro shooters and quite a looker despite its limitations.

Why Buy ?

  • Retro styling
  • Cheaper than a Holga or Diana F+
  • Built in yellow filter
  • Lo-fi lens

Why not ?

  • Limited options
  • Bit Bulky
  • Lo-Fi Lens
  • Propriety Flash (Except IV)

What I Paid

  • Paid £6 plus postage  with strap  on eBay in 2014

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