Thursday, 29 August 2013

Adox Golf 63 S

At one time Adox were a major photographic force.  German in origin, they were bought by Dupont. The Dupont company was sold to Agfa (and so became German once again) and Agfa did not use the Adox brand name so their registration of the name lapsed.  Almost immediately, Canadian and German companies registered the name, neither of which have any connection with the original German company (although the modern German Adox make excellent films).  The Adox name is now used exclusively by Adox Fotowerke GmbH although two companies own the rights to the name in different countries.  The Adox that made this camera are the original Adox - the owners of the name being Dr C. Schleussner Fotowerke GmbH - and the camera was made between 1954 and 1959.  It is at the bottom of the range of Golf cameras.
Adox Golf S

lens: Adoxar (made by Will Wetzlar)
focal length:  75 mm
apertures: f6.3 - f22
focus range: 1m to infinity
lens fitting: fixed
shutter: Gauthier Pronto
speeds: b, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200
flash: PC connector
film size: 120



The internal construction of the Golf resembles Agfa cameras of the period.  The visible parts of the body are made of pressed steel rather than the machined die-cast aluminium alloy used by the likes of Zeiss Ikon and Voigtlander.

The bottom and top plates are pressed aluminium which has not been anodised - it is very prone to corrosion. Again, this is very different to the practice of Zeiss Ikon and Voigtlander who used chrome plated brass.

That is the negative part over.  The design is good, even if basic. It is easier to load than my Zeiss Ikon medium format cameras of the period, with hinged spool holders (which is also reminiscent of Agfa).

The lens base board snaps fully open at the press of a button on the top plate and there is a double exposure interlock.

So, more specific details.  The outside of the camera first.  The size of the camera is basically dictated by the film size - 120 - and the frame size - 60 by 60 mm.  The camera measures 135 by 90 by 40 mm when closed and opens to 90 mm. It weighs 475 grams. This is very light compared to Zeiss Ikon and Voigtlander models and is down to the use of pressed steel instead of die-cast aluminium.
Adox Golf S - closed

The lens is an Adoxar 1:6.3 75 mm lens.  It seems to be have been quite the fashion to have a lens name end in 'ar'.  This lens was made for Adox by Will Wetzlar (now a part of Helmut Hund GmbH). The lens is housed in a Gauthier Pronto shutter (which earns the camera the designation 'S') rather than the usual Vario shutter. This is a good, well made shutter which is unlikely to give trouble even after sixty-odd years.  Gauthier shutters were designed to run dry - that is, with no lubricant. This means there is no oil to dry out and become sticky and there is nothing to trap dust and foul the movement. I have yet to come across a Gauthier shutter that did not work right, even after sitting untouched in a drawer for forty years.
Adox Golf S - side view

The top plate is uncluttered. The only controls here are the shutter release and film advance.  The shutter release is a simple aluminium button, threaded for a standard cable release. The film advance is a knurled knob. Between the shutter release and the film advance is an indicator window for the double exposure interlock. The shutter release will only work if this indicator is red. When you press the shutter release, the indicator changes to white and the shutter is now locked. When you advance the film, the indicator will change back from white to red and the shutter is unlocked. It takes about a half turn of the film advance knob to achieve this.

In the centre of the top plate is a simple accessory shoe. There are no electrical contacts here and flash is connected via a PC connector on the top of the shutter housing. Flash is synchronised for fast flash bulbs.  As this camera has a leaf shutter, shutter speed is not so important as with a focal plane shutter. The manual (which I have!) says the camera will work fine with electronic flash as well.

The bottom plate is plain apart from a linear machining and a centre tripod boss (1/4 inch Whitworth).

The back of the camera has no features apart from a red window. The position of this window is dictated by the negative size which is 6 by 6 cm. 120 film has three sets of numbers on the backing paper - one for full frame (6x9),one for half frame (6x4.5) and one for square (6x6). The set of numbers for 6x6 runs down the middle of the length of film, so needs a central window.
Adox Golf S - front

When winding on a 120 film, you have to look through the window at the numbers on the backing paper. The numbers are typically preceded by a row of circles of increasing size to show the number is getting closer.  For those only experienced in 35 mm film (or digital), when the film is finished, there is no need to rewind. You wind on until all trace of the backing paper has disappeared from the red window - then you open the camera, carefully take out the film and stick the self-adhesive tab around the film to prevent it from rewinding.

Under the window, the legend 'made in Germany' is embossed in the leatherette and beneath that is 'T-YD'

In use, the base board drops down vertically. This is how I prefer it to be as it leaves plenty of room on either side of the lens for my not so small hands. My Franka folder has the base board hinged on the side and this makes it hard to hold securely.

The viewfinder is very small and I find I need to put my eye very close to it to frame the picture. This means I have to take my glasses off and then I can no longer see the picture I am framing. The shutter release falls nicely to my finger.


Sample pictures.

I am quite impressed with these.  They all came out a bit on the dark side (Gimped to get brightness where it should be) but I am impressed with the quality.  Perhaps I should not be surprised.  The lens was made by Will Wetzlar who also made lenses for Leica.

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