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Agfa Karat viewfinder camera with strap lugs

This is a very short pictorial review of the model of  Agfa Karat viewfinder camera which has strap lugs fitted to the top cover. In functionality, it is identical to the Agfa Karat f/3.5 which I covered in a previous post, so this article is just a description of my particular camera and some images of the camera.

Agfa Karat Viewfinder camera Images

My Agfa Karat Viewfinder Camera

This camera was bought from eBay as a faulty unit with a frozen focus, locked shutter and in a very dirty condition. I had to carry out much of the same operations on this camera as I did on my other Karats such as cleaning up and lubricating the film advance, stripping down the shutter and cleaning & lubricating it and also cleaning up the focus helicoid.

Although I’ve covered those repair operations on other cameras (which I’ve linked above), I took some more pictures of the shutter cleanup which I’ll include here simply because if you need to do this operation extra photos are always a help.

Also, on the shutter in this camera I had to remove and clean the aperture blades which is something I didn’t have to do on the other Compur rapid shutters I’ve cleaned.

Compur Rapid Shutter stripdown images

The things of note about repairing the shutter in this camera were:

  • I used an ultrasonic cleaner to remove the grease, dirt and old oil from all the parts that I could use it on. This is all the individual components such as the shutter base and rings, levers etc. This made a really good job of getting everything clean.
  • I used a teflon coating fluid on the rings which hold and operate the aperture and shutter blades. Although when this is applied it seems to be really sticky and looks as if the rings will not work again, as long as it is left to properly dry overnight it leaves a hard surface which the blades glide over.
  • This aperture has 10 blades and each has to be fitted to be on top of the next blade and under the one in front. As you can imagine that is not easy to arrange when you have to do it inside the aperture holder using only tweezers. I found I needed to fit them so the blades fanned out so I could get them all in place and then carefully move them back in to form a circle in order to fit the retaining ring on the top. It is a tricky operation and it took me about an hour.
  • Be careful when you re-fit the aperture actuator lever. It screws into the ring on the back of the shutter which holds the blades in place and then the shutter is re-assembled on top. I managed to fit it the wrong way round so the aperture control was on the wrong side of the shutter. I didn’t find this out until I was fitting the slow speed escapement and had to strip half the shutter down again to fix it :(. Fortunately, I didn’t need to get the aperture blades out again – there was access to unscrew the lever and fit it the other way round.

Once the camera was functioning properly, I cleaned the body up with some black saddle soap, and used some chrome polish to clean up the aluminium work. With this done the camera is fully functioning with one problem. The focus, although it now functions, is missing the stop which prevents it being wound completely out of the front of the lens. If I can find another copy of this model (ideally bought as another faulty unit) I should be able to get the parts necessary to fix that one remaining fault.

Agfa Karat Viewfinder f/3.5 Description and Specifications

The description and specification of this camera is basically the same as the other camera in my collection so please refer to that review for the description. The only real difference is the addition of the strap lugs on the top of the camera which were fitted to earlier models made in the late 1930s.


I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.

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