Monday, February 08, 2010

Agfa Clack

From the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s the Agfa Clack was the pre-eminent family camera for many Europeans. The camera occupied a niche which in the U.S. was dominated by the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash. Both of these simple box cameras were exceedingly well designed to appeal to their markets, and they produced images of approximately equal quality.

While I have great affection for the Hawkeye Flash, I have to admit that in several ways, the Clack is the better camera. The Agfa camera's eye-level viewfinder is easier to use in bright daylight. A single lever allows both aperture and distance adjustment. There is a tripod mount on the Clack to go along with the B shutter setting and the cable release fitting. And, finally, the efficient curved film path yields both a very compact, ergonomic design and excellent edge-to-edge image sharpness from a single-element meniscus lens. The Clack produced eight big 6x9 frames per 120 film roll, while the Hawkeye Flash yielded twelve 6x6 frames on 620-format film. One use for which I definitely prefer the Kodak box to the Agfa is for portrait work. I discussed the reasons for that along with some other technical considerations in a thread on's Classic Cameras Forum.

Pictures from the Clack:


Edwin said...

Och Mike, it's a camera av olwaes wonted tae buy but never got roond tae acquiring wun :-(

Mike said...

In the States, the Clack is not very commonly available and tends to bring a hefty price for a box camera. My understanding is that they are pretty common in Europe and considerably less expensive. Though it is a simple camera, the Clack is capable of making excellent images using that big 6x9 cm format.

I'm just recycling some articles from my web site at present on my blog. I do have a couple new cameras, however, and I hope to present some reports on them before long.

Thanks for dropping by.

Julio F said...

The Clack is a great camera for the outdoors. Glad to see you are posting again!