Agilux is a company established by AGI, the British entity specializing in the manufacture of instrumentation in support of military activities, with considerable attention in the field of optics; the subsidiary was founded just after the Second World War and devoted to production of cameras and optical equipment intended for the civilian market, also producing for others (i.e. the Ilford Sprite cameras were produced by Agilux). The first attempts were the ones to convert to civilian use the aerial camera model ARL, from which came the first Agiflex and then the production of all machine components: body, lenses and shutters. Following the launch of this first reflex were then produced some compact camera 127 and 135 size and an exquisite folding for 120 film, before the final closing of the production, which took place in the first half of the sixties (while the parent company is still active on the market).
The Agiflash was introduced in 1954 and remained in production until 1958, making a success of sales at home but virtually none in the rest of the world, and is a basic level of camera using 127 film made of bakelite, amazing especially for its asymmetrical and unusual design .
HOW IT WORKS
Being dedicated to the mass audience and presenting itself as part of the cheaper products line, the Agiflash has an extremely simple interface and has no mechanism for regulating delegated to the user.
The only controls on which action can be taken are the shutter button and the film advance, both located on the top cover, on which space is also the connector for the characteristic flash reflector (which, unfortunately, , the model in my possession is not equipped with). The composition of the image is carried out through the Galilean viewfinder, positioned slightly offset with respect to lens and without any parallax correction.
The rest of the camera is extremely simple and, as mentioned, does not present any further command: on the back is placed the small red window for the control of the frame number, while on the bottom there is the release mechanism of the back, a screw-type very similar to the common battery cap of the 70’s/80’s reflex. The back is integral with the cap which has to be rotated until the retainer slips pushing down: you have to remember, therefore, to have a coin with you if you want to take more than a roll!
The camera produces eight 4×6 cm images on a roll, then the range is rather limited (and here one must also take into account the cost of the few remaining 127 rolls), while as regards the quality we can not expect much from lens, which is a simple meniscus, often made of plastic material.
Where the Agiflash is particular, however, is in the construction: the body is entirely made of bakelite, and the metal parts are solely those of the mechanisms of advancement and retention of the film, the rim of the eyepiece, the button of shutter release and the flash connection, as well as the retaining screw of the bottom. The body is covered with a vulcanite that seems to hold up well as time and sits with ease thanks to its special form (“streamlined” in Anglo-Saxon terminology), while also providing a solid feel not just as a toycamera.
Unfortunately, however, it is in every way a camera that is part of the toy philosophy , while not belong to her for age reasons: one shutter speed, simple and not very bright lens, no additional control; a defect, in this case, is the use of 127 film, which certainly does not make economic the operation of the camera, which remains more a collector’s item than a usable one and can make a good impression as a design object.
Format: 4×6 cm on 127 film.
Optics : Anonymous Agilux 60 / f14, 5
Shutter: central spring, 1/35 sec fixed time.
Exposure modes: manual.
Flash: jack flash bulb.
Size: Length 150 mm, height 90 mm, depth 70 mm.
Weight: 430 gr.
No B mode.
Lens not accessible.
Wasteful Image Format.
AVAILABILITY ‘AND PRICES
Leaving aside some “crazy” listings the camera can be found online, especially in English sites at reasonable prices, up to a maximum of 30/40 Euro for a model including flash and box (the more attractive, taking into account limitations we mentioned above).