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Art Deco Cameras

Agfa-Ansco PD16 Plenax


Agfa-Ansco PD16 Plenax
Agfa-Ansco PD16 Plenax
Manufacturer: Agfa-Ansco
Produced: 1935
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Self Erecting
Film Type:616
Film width:70mm
Image Size:6.5 x 10.5 cm
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Antar Meniscus
Focal Length:130mm
Focus Type:fixed
Focal Range:15ft - inf.
Aperture Type :Iris
Apertures :f/14 - f/32 + filter
Shutter Type:leaf
Shutter Speeds:T, I*(1/50s)
Size Open (w x h x d):90 x 185 x 147 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):90 x 185 x 35 mm
* Measured on this camera

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The Agfa-Ansco PD16 Plenax camera was manufactured by the Agfa company from 1935 to approximately 1941. Designed as a low cost folding bed roll film camera. It is capable of capturing eight exposures of 2½ x 4¼ inch or 16 exposures of 2½ x 2⅛ on no. 616 film. A mask for the film plane is provided to be used to obtain the smaller 16 exposures. This camera features a swivelling brilliant finder, tripod sockets and two covered red windows. Three lens options are available including an Antar f/14, a Tripar F/11 or a Hypar F/6.3. The Antar f/14 is fitted with a simple leaf shutter providing time and instantaneous functions. There is a socket for cable release.

The aperture range is f/14 to f/32. It also has a yellow filter that can be swung into place when on the f/14 setting. The yellow filter can be used to emphasize cloud effects and for better colour rendition of landscapes and flowers.

Using this camera

Find the manual here:- Agfa-Ansco PD16 Plenax Manual

Adapting for use with 120 film

To adapt this camera for the use of 120 film, please see here:- Conversion of 616 film camera to take 120


As the shutter speed is only 1/50s, it is advisable to use a tripod to get clear shake free images. However, holding it against a wall or other solid object would work as well. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summers day (May - August) in the UK.

Remember that the exposure guide in the manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

Using ISO 400 film - shutter speed 1/50s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/32+2 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/32+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/32Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/22Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/16Good
Open Shade
Nonef/14-½ Stop

Photographs taken with this Camera

These images were taken in October 2019 using size 120 film - Ilford XP2 Super 400.

Castell Coch, Cardiff, Wales
Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff, Wales
Caerphilly Castle, Wales