Agfa Ansco PB20 Viking
I guess...I don't really know the name of this camera.

Often, the name on the lens of a camera is the name
of the lens.
So, this could just be an Agfa-Ansco camera with a Viking Anastigmat
lens.  I dunno.  I've always heard these cameras referred to as "Vikings".
Whatever the case, I'm pretty sure it's not Swedish.

I got this rig for $8, and that's about all it was worth.  The bellows wouldn't
hold Jello, much less keep light from striking the film.  All the corners were peppered
with holes.  The back had been badly sprung too, and I did what I could for it, but
it still requires a piece of black tape along the hinge to make it completely light tight.
There was one other problem.....

The lens had been liberally bathed in oil.  Someone, sometime in the past had seen fit to squirt oil on
 the aperture blades, and it had migrated to the lens elements.  Next time I see someone with a camera
 in one hand and an oil can in the other, I'm gonna zap 'em with a Taser, or at least suggest counseling.
I unscrewed the spanner nut from the inside of the bellows and removed the lens/shutter.  The rear
element can then be unthreaded and the middle element removed.  After cleaning, everything was re-
assembled, and I moved on to the bellows.

Repairing the bellows is easy enough if it's not ripped badly.  This one just had
a whole bunch of pinholes that needed filling.  This Liquid Electrical Tape can
be had at many auto supply stores.  It's a viscous stinky liquid when wet, but when
it dries it's like very pliable rubber.  Just the ticket!

You can check for holes with a flashlight.  Go into a pretty dark room,
(the darker the better), put your eye up to the opening in the back of the
camera and hold the light next to the bellows.  Check especially carefully
at the corners.  Check it from the inside and outside.  You can get a small
flashlight to hold inside the bellows to check from the outside of the camera.

The brush that comes in the can is very coarse, and only good for easy to
reach places.  You should probably do this outside, if you can.  It smells.

For hard to get to areas, use a small brush with short bristles.  Don't expect
to be able to reuse this brush when you're done.  Apply the liquid to the bad
part of the bellows in a light coat and work it in a little, but go easy.  You don't
want to make the holes in the bellows any bigger.  One coat is probably all that
will be needed unless you have holes large enough to need a patch.  This next
part is really important!  Let the bellows dry for at least 48 hours before you
close the camera.  If this stuff is not totally dry, the folds in the bellows will stick
to each other, and you could rip it apart when you open the camera.  It may
feel completely dry in an hour or two...don't be deceived.

After a few hours you can check for holes again.  Retouch as needed.

This is the repaired bellows.  With the lens cleaned and
light leaks fixed I gave it a try.  The photos that follow are
not at all interesting.  I just wanted to see how the lens on this
camera would do.  I've heard some unflattering remarks about it
and had to see for myself.  Film is JandC 100, printed
on Agfa RC paper.

This is at the minimum focus of the lens, (5 ft.) and since there is no rangefinder
on the camera, it's a guess at best.  This is a crop.  Actual print size would be 15 x 22 inches!

Another at minimum focus.  The lens is plenty sharp, especially considering it's hand
held at 1/50 sec.  This is a crop.  A full frame print would 12 x 18 inches.

A full frame print, and....

....a crop from the same neg.  In the previous shot you can see the fogging
from the sprung hinge on the back of the camera.  I forgot to tape the hinge!

For the $8.00 price of this camera, it does pretty well.  All fixed up it's probably worth
$8.99.  It uses 620 film (that's what Agfa-Ansco called PB20) and it makes a
nice big 6 x 9 cm negative.  I'm gonna use it.  Even if I drop it off a cliff, it
can't get much worse than it was when I got it.

Thanks for checkin' it out!

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copyright 2005 Dean Williams