Agfa Synchro Box

Agfa Synchrobox

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It’s so cute I can hardly stand it! I don’t know why I keep thinking they’ll be bigger, like a lunch box or something, but I can’t get over how tiny these little B2 box cameras are. (On an 800×600 screen the above picture is actual size!) This one is all-steel, but it’s still very lightweight for its size – box cameras are so simple they’re mostly hollow. Only one shutter speed, ‘instant’, I’ll guess about 1/30. Instant-return self-cocking shutter like on the Shur-Shot. In fact the whole thing is very like the Shur-Shot. A tab pulls out above the shutter release with your choice of two apertures and a yellow filter, and another button above the tab allows you to change from ‘instant’ to ‘time’ (like ‘B’). Bright magnifying viewfinders, not ground glass like on the Shur-Shot. Only one aspect ratio though, 6×9.

Agfa boxen have model numbers, and this is Agfa box 600, aka the ‘Synchro Box’. Synchro is for flash sync, as it accepts and syncs with the Clibo-Blitz flash, the same as on the Agfa Clack. Ich don’t spreche too much Deutch but I’m pretty sure that Clibo-Blitz means ‘Clip-on Flash’. The Agfa box 600 was apparently also made in France and India; this one says ‘made in Germany’ on the front so I know it was made in Munich at Agfa-Werk proper.

No sticker inside to indicate film type for a change. For consistency’s sake I’ll guess it was meant for DIN 17 / ASA 50 but will gladly accept ASA 100/120.


None – just needed a basic cleaning, particularly the glass, which is thankfully clear. I did disassemble the thing and clean the viewfinders, both sides, the protective front glass, both sides, and the single-element (?) lens. Part of the tough cloth covering is peeling up, I’ll glue that, and there are some scratches on the paint which are strictly cosmetic. The rubberlike handle (as opposed to leather on the Cadet and Shur-Shot) is in perfect shape.

Tips & Tricks

Tripod mounts! Cable release socket! Flash sync! Wow! AND – a built-in yellow filter. Yellow filters are useful in black and white photography for increasing sky contrast and smoothing out skin tones, in fact it may be the most common colored filter used with black and white film. Here, one is built in so you don’t have to worry about crazy stuff like taping a filter to the front of the camera. (Though that works too.) The tripod mounts are exciting, now I have a matched set with my Agfa tripod. The cable release socket is at the corner below the pull-out tabs. And as for the flash, I am told that the Clibo-Blitz takes an Osram XM1 bulb, and that other Philips bulbs like PF1 or PF1B will fit as well. Its battery is a 22.5V.

Loading film: don’t forget that you need to pull out the film wind knob before you can get the ‘cone’ out. You’ll know which way the cone goes back in by the location of the extra hole for the winder. See Marcy’s ‘Box Camera 101‘.

According to the manual (see link below) the small aperture is equal to f16, I would presume that the large aperture is equal to f8. And if f16 coupled with DIN 17 (ASA 50) is right for bright sun, then the shutter speed must be about 1/50 or so. Ah, algebra… It also says to use the yellow filter only in bright sun, and that the DOF doesn’t change with the small aperture, you just get sharper pictures 😉 Large aperture is for cloudy/overcast; use T setting (long line instead of dot) for indoors. Or just throw some 400 film in there and forget what I just said.

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