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Art Deco Cameras

Agfa Karat 3.5 V2


Agfa Karat 3.5 V2
Agfa Karat 3.5 V2
Manufacturer: Agfa
Produced: 1939
Body Type:Folding Strut
Construction:Cast Aluminium
Film Type:Rapid
Film width:35mm
Image Size:36mm x 24mm
No. of Images:12
Lens Type:Agfa Solinar
Focus Type:Variable
Focal Length:50mm
Focal Range:3 feet - inf.
Aperture Type :Iris
Apertures :f/3.5 - f/22
Shutter Type:Copmpur Rapid
Shutter Speeds:B, I(1s - 1/500s)
Size Open (w x h x d):120 x 69 x 75 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):120 x 69 x 55 mm

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Noteworthy: Worth giving special attention


This Karat is one of many having the same body shape. It has a rounded cast aluminum body covered with a durable black synthetic material. The top cover is also rounded and made from shiny aluminium. On the top is a frame counter and the film advance knob, which interlocks with the Compur Rapid shutter for double exposure prevention. The top cover also has the shutter release, with cable release socket, and a sliding time exposure lock. The viewfinder is a simple Galilean tube.

The collapsible front plate, which is released by a button on the top, is supported by four chrome plated scissors struts. The lens is screw mounded so that focussing can be acheived by turning the lens bezel. A latch on the side allows the back to be opened. There is a tripod mount on the bottom.

This version was the last of the Karats to be built before camera production was stopped in 1941 due to WWII.

Karat Rapid film system

This camera uses a type of film cartridge called 'Rapid' that holds 12 35mm frames. The camera is loaded with a light tight Rapid film cartridge which holds the film. The film advance mechanism transfers the film into a similar cartridge on the other side of the camera. The film is not rewound and the receiving cartridge is taken for developing.

How to Use

Being fairly old, it would probably benefit from cleaning the lenses, film transport mechanism, shutter and viewfinders. This is easy to do and most worthwile. Check out my page:- 'Restoration of an Agfa Karat' for restoration of a similar camera.

The Rapid cartridges are no longer produced. It is possible to load a Karat/Rapid cassette with 35mm film in a dark room or changing bag. If you do not have any Karat/Rapid cassettes you can simply load the camera with bare film. See more about how to use 35mm film in this camera here:- Loading Cameras that use Karat or Rapid cassettes

Shutter speed can be varied between 1 sec and 1/500s although the accuracy with an old camera is not guaranteed. The aperture range is f/3.5 to f/22

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.

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

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

If you are not sure about the light level, err on the side of overexposure - i.e. assume the smaller f number.

Where there is a choice, a larger f number will give a larger depth of field.

For the slowest speed, you may need a tripod to stop blur through shake.

Using ISO 100/125 film

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailShutter Speed (s)
with sharp edges
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16f/11f/8
OvercastBarely visiblef/11f/8f/5.6
Heavy OvercastNonef/8f/5.6f/4
Open Shade