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Art Deco Cameras

Agfa Billy Clack No. 74


Agfa Billy Clack
Agfa Billy Clack No. 74
Manufacturer: Agfa
Produced: 1934-1940
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Strut
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 3¼ in
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:bilinar achromat
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:95mm
Focal Range:7ft - inf.
Aperture Type :Multihole
Apertures :f/11, f/16, f/22
Shutter Type:Rotary
Shutter Speeds:B,I(1/30 sec)
Size Open (w x h x d):85 x 165 x 105 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):85 x 165 x 36 mm

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The Billy-Clack No.74 is one of two strut-folding cameras made by Agfa from about 1934 to 1940. The two models have different formats. The No. 74 takes eight 6×9 cm pictures on 120 film whereas the Agfa Billy Clack No.51 takes sixteen 4.5×6 cm pictures on 120 film. The name 'Clack' was used for simple cameras made by Rietzschel before they and Agfa merged. In some countries they were sold with the name Speedex

The front panel is decorated with glossy black enamel between raised chrome strips. It has a bilinar achromat lens with aperture settings for f/11, f/16 and f/22 switching between fixed-size apertures. It has an 'I' and 'B' shutter and brilliant finders for both orientations. It also has a folding frame finder on the camera body. This camera has a portrait lens which can be swung into place using a lever underneath the face plate. Early examples are covered with leatherette with vertical stripes impressed above the Agfa rhombus logo. Later cameras, like the one shown here have the fine chevron patterned covering.

How to Use

The Billy-Clack takes good quality snaps with 120 film which is easily available. As the shutter speed is only 1/30s - 1/40s, it is advisable to use a tripod to get clear shake free images. However, holding it against a wall or other solid object would work as well. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body. The snapshots below were taken using Portra 120 160 film. Don't worry too much about exposure values, the latitude of modern films is good. With ISO 100 film use the aperture f/22 for sunny days, f/16 for hazy days and f/11 for cloudy days.

Photographs taken with this camera

Kodak Portra 160 film.

Funchal, Madeira
Royal Oak, Cardiff, UK
Fino Lounge, Whitchurch, Cardiff, UK
The Tabernacle, Whitchurch, Cardiff, Wales