Agfa Silette: Back to life after 50 years

Posted on by Mike Evans

My first camera was a 1963 Agfa Silette which was my pride and joy and cost £25, now equivalent to £500. As I wrote in this earlier article, I found a 1958 example of the long-running and popular Silette in a London second-hand photo fair a couple of months ago. Here is a test shot from the old camera, using Ilford FP4 125 ISO film, taken at one of my regular photo test spots on the River Thames.

The second shot is from a similar angle but using my 2004 Leica MP with a 50mm Summilux on Ilford HP5 at ISO 400. Both shots are basic scans and both would be better with a high-resolution take.

Above: 1958 50mm Agfa Silette, Ilford FP4, ISO 125. Below, Leica MP and 50mm Summilux ASPH with Ilford XP2 at ISO 400. Both f/4.5 @ 1/250s, medium-resolution scans from negative

There's life in the old dog yet. Modern digital fans should note that both these cameras, from the Leica MP back to the Agfa, are what we now call "full frame". A sensor this size, the same as a frame of 35mm film, is an expensive and desirable thing: Think Leica M, Sony RX1 or, perhaps more appropriate, Leica's £6,200 M Monochrom.