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Karat 36

Karat 36 v.1
Karat 36 v.2
Karat 36 v.3

Karomat 36


Ansco Karomat


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Agfa Karat 36


The Karat 36 was the first Karat to use 135 film rolls and could take a maximum of 36 exposures. It was similar in design to the Karat 12, but had a silver-coloured shutter plate and no longer had separate buttons for opening and closing the lens struts. It was available with a variety of lenses: a Karat-Xenar f/2.8, a Karat-Xenon f/2, a Rodenstock Heligon f/2, an Agfa Solinar 50/2.8 or an Agfa Solagon 50/2, although the latter two were not introduced until the second model. Based on lens serial#, it was produced from 1949 until at least 1953.

Karat 36 v.1

The first version of the Karat 36 was very similar to the Karat 12, but as 135 film cameras needed rewind knobs, the depth of field scale was moved to the top plate, thus replacing the film indicator. This model also featured a wind lever that could be folded down instead of the fixed one of the Karat 12 range. Flash sync sockets were now standard. Most had Xenon or Heligon lenses in Compur-Rapid shutters.

Agfa Karat 36 photo

The first version of the Agfa Karat 36, here with a fast Rodenstock Heligon f/2 lens. Although most Karat 36 had a mushroom-shaped shutter release button, this particular one has a simple straight one. It is also missing a flash sync socket.

Agfa Karat 36 photo

Same model with Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon f:2 F=5 cm lens. I wrote this deliberately like that, as not long after the markings on the lenses were changed to Xenon 1:2/50, so in millimetres. I didn't take the photo very well, so you'll have to take my word for it.


Karat 36 v.2

With the second model of the Karat 36 (ca. 1951) the foldable wind lever was replaced by a fixed one with a round knob and the frame counter was integrated in the top plate. In addition, a small film reminder window was introduced next to the rewind knob and a flash sync socket was added to the shutter assembly. This model no longer featured the T button on the front of the camera. It came with a Synchro-Compur shutter and either a Schneider Xenon or Rodenstock Heligon lens.

Agfa Karat 36 photo

The second version of the Agfa Karat 36, here with a fast Schneider Xenon f/2 lens and shown with its original box.


Karat 36 v.3

The third and most common version of the Karat 36 (ca. 1953) had depth of field markings integrated in the lens base, so the indicator on the top plate was no longer needed. It had 'Agfa Karat 36' engraved in italics on top of the camera and no longer featured the diamond-shaped Agfa logo that had been engraved on the camera since the first model of the Karat 12. Otherwise it was very similar to the previous version. It can be found with any of the five lenses mentioned in the intro, but most commonly with Xenar, Rodenstock or Solinar.

Agfa Karat 36 photo

The third version of the Karat 36 with Solinar f/2.8 lens. I am not sure the rewind knob is original, as it is the only one I have ever seen without arrow and concentric grooves engraved on top.

Agfa Karat 36 Heligon photo

Example of the same model but here with Rodenstock Heligon 50mm f/2 lens and an original Agfa lens cap.

Agfa Karat 36 Xenar photo

And finally, the Xenar 50mm f/2.8 version. Only a Solagon and a Xenon to go!


Karomat 36

The Karomat 36 was identical to the Karat 36 v.1 and destined for export to the US. The only difference with the Karat 36 v.1 were the markings on the top plate, which said 'Karomat 36', as well as 'made by Agfa Camerawerke München Germany U.S. zone' all in capitals.
This model is not to be confused with the Ansco Karomat, which were Karat 36 sold in the US rebranded as Ansco, see below.

Agfa Karomat 36 photo

An Agfa Karomat 36 with Schneider Xenon f/2 lens.

Agfa Karomat 36 photo

Top view of the Karomat 36.

Ansco Karomat

Not to be confused with the Karomat 36 above, the Ansco Karomat was a rebranded Karat 36. Ansco was an American photography company owned by Agfa and sold many rebranded cameras, including Minoltas such as the Uniomat (sold as Anscoset) and the Hi-Matic (sold as Autoset, famous for being taken into space by John Glen).
All three Karat 36 versions were sold as Ansco Karomat, including the first version which was initially sold as Karomat 36, the rebranding perhaps due to Agfa being associated with WWII Germany. However, the third version appears to be most common and is typically found with Schneider Xenar or Xenon lens.

Ansco Karomat photo

An Agfa Karomat 36 with Schneider Xenon f/2 lens.

Ansco Karomat photo

A little hard to see, but the camera carried the familiar Agfa logo and was marked 'Made for Ansco by Agfa Camera Werk München, Germany.