Agfa-Gevaert: Projector Lenses

Agfa/Reflecta Slide Projector Models

With one exception, Agfa slide projector lenses were not serialled – often an indicator that the manufacturer doesn’t take them seriously. Agfa’s reputation in Mainland Europe is healthy, but UK opinion is well summarised by the view of a repair specialist who recently harrumphed in my direction: “Well… Agfa projectors – they never were any good”. Well, many of their lenses certainly were. Even Agfa’s basic projector models had relatively high resolution optics compared to their competition – knowledge that seemingly never filtered into the wider market. Most were typical triplets, but there are more complex designs to tempt the connoisseur, too.

In the absence of serials, dating depends on linking lenses to a projector model timeline. The following dates confirm when a model was in production, but don’t always define its total shelf life: in most cases, it can be assumed that a given projector remained on the market for some time after the date here specified, unless it is marked with an asterisk – in which case we have a confirmed date on which the model was discontinued.

DateAgfa Projector ModelPart NoLens Options
1940Opticus (early Black)75/3
1937-1952Karator I (most expensive)Agomar 100/2.8
1939-1957Karator IIAgomar 75/2.8
1939-1957Karator III (least expensive)K III 100/3.3
1951-1968Karator U5950/03Agomar 100/2.8
Agomar 150/2.8 [V1]
Agomar 150/3.2
1955-1960Opticus / Opticus 1005965Agomar 85/2.5
Agomar 85/3.5
1955-1960Opticus 1505966Agomar 85/2.5
Agomar 85/3.5
1956-1962*Diamator S
Diamator SE (2×2)
Agomar 85/2.5
Agomar 100/2.5
Agomar 150/2.8

Agomar 85/2.8 [V1]
Agomar 150
1958-1960Karator 55‘155’/2.8
1958-1960Karator 77 (medium format)Agomar 150/2.8 [V2]
Protelinar 250/4
1960-62Diamator M5910Agomar 85/2.5
Agomar 85/2.8
Agomar 100/2.8
Agomar 150
1960-68Diamator H5905Agomar 50/2.8
Agomar 85/2.8
Agomar 100/2.8
1962-63Diamator N12
Diamator N24
Agomar 85/2.5
1963-64Diamator H185904Agomar 60/2.8
1963-64Diamator M18 (half-frame)5907
1965-66Diamator 100 5925Agomar 60/2.8
Agomar 85/2.8
Agomar 100/2.8
Agolar 150/2.8
1965-66Diamator 1505922Agomar 85/2.8
Agomar 100/2.8
1965Biluscop viewer/projectorunlabeled
1965-1968CP1505963Agomar 85/2.8
from 1970Agfacolor 50 Automatic5923Agomar 85
1971-1976Agfacolor 250
Agfacolor 250/AV
Color-Agolar 60/2.8
Color-Agolon 90/2.5
Color-Agolar 150/2.8
Color-Agolar 250/4.5
1973-1975Agfacolor Pocket5935Agomar 45/2.8
from 1974Agfacolor 505920Agomar 85 (sharp)
1979-1984*Agfa Diamator AF5947Agomar 85/2.8
1979-1984*Agfa Diamator 1500 / 1500AF5945Agomar 85/2.8
+ 60, 90, 150mm
Agolon 90/2.5 MC
1984-1992Reflecta Diamator 1800 AF1021Reflecta Agomar 90/2.8 MC
Docter Agomar 90/2.8 MC
1984-1992Reflecta Diamator A
Reflecta Diamator AF
Reflecta Diamator AF Combi
Reflecta Diamator AF Delux
Agomar 90/2.8 MC ‘Wetzlar’
Agomar 90 red ring
Will Maginon 85/2.8
Docter Agomar 90/2.8 MC
1992Reflecta Diamator 1500 AF
Reflecta Diamator 1502 AF

Agomar 90/2.8 MC
Agolon 90/2.5
1990Reflecta Diamator 2500 AF
Reflecta Diamator 2502 AF
Reflecta Diamator 2506 AF

Vario-Agomar 70-120/3.0
Agomar 90/2.8 MC
1992-1994Reflecta Diamator 2000 AF
Reflecta Diamator 2002 AF
Reflecta Diamator 2004 AF
Reflecta Diamator 2008 AF

Reflecta Agomar 90/2.8 MC
1995Reflecta Diamator 2501 AF
Reflecta Diamator 2505 AF-IR
Agomar 90/2.8 MC (on 2501)
Agomar 90/2.4 MC (on 2505)
1994*-Reflecta Diamator 1504 AF
Reflecta Diamator 2006 AF
Agomar 90/2.8 MC (red ring)
Agomar 90/2.4 MC (red ring)
1999-2001Reflecta Diamator 7800 AF
Reflecta Diamator 7805 AF
Reflecta Diamator 7808 AF
Reflecta Diamator 7810 AF
Reflecta Diamator 7811 AF
Reflecta Diamator 7812 AF
Reflecta Diamator 7815 AF
Reflecta Diamator 7817 AF
Reflecta Diamator 7819 AF

Agfa’s slide projector operation effectively ended in 1984 when their Portugeuse production facility, and future development of second generation Diamator models, was taken over by Reflecta until well into the next century. Reflecta-branded lenses of this period are conspicuously similar to Braun’s, but projectors from the 90s often seem to have bundled with lenses made by Docter and Wilhelm Will (Maginon 85/2.8) Models were reset to 1xxx type numbers and carried markings stating ‘made under licence from Agfa-Gevaert’.

You’ll notice that Agfa is typically idiosyncratic about its model numbers (ie, not chronological) and fond of recycling brand names: the pre-war black Opticus was reborn as a range of coloruful 1950’s Opticus-es in the 1950s. The Karator (first trademarked in the UK in 1938) had a second life in the 1960s. Agfa’s CP range was almost resurrected as the CS range, which was simultaneously called Diamator – which died in the late 1960s, then revived in the 1980s, before it came under their aegis of Reflecta. The Agomar is reassuringly constant, appearing on Agfa lenses for more than half a century.

Agfa Slide Projector Lenses

It’s hard to establish provenance for specific projector lenses. Agfa had the in-house resource to design and make them, but in typical German (and very Agfa) fashion, there was a collective resource pool between Braun, Agfa and Staeble from the 1950s-1980s that makes it likely that some of each company’s intellectual copyright (and production fingerprints) might linger on any model in any range. Similarly, some – probably a majority – of Reflecta-branded lenses were made by Docter and interchangeably branded Reflecta / Docter. However, specifically Agfa-branded lenses are seen of the following types:


Agomar was a lens name shared between many German manufacturers, appearing on Agfa models as early as 1940, distinguishing the better two of three triplets offered for Karator series slide projectors. At present count Delta lists XX versions of the Agfa Agomar, commonly air-spaced three-element primes in the range of 75-150mm focal lengths. Most are f2.8, but later 1960’s-era Diamators upped the ante to f2.5. These mechanically fragile f2.5 lenses are tremendously characterful and out-Meyer the Trioplan when it comes to exciting bubble bokeh. Later lenses returned to f2.8 and have somewhat more sedate rendering. Agomars fitted to late-1970’s Agfacolor 50 and 1980’s-era Diamators are unreasonably sharp, despite their unpromising plastic barrels and ubiquitous 85/2.8 specification.

In the Reflecta era we see not only improved multicoating on stock Agomars but a much more purposeful series of four-element f2.4 Agomars from 1994 that appear to have co-developed as the Braun Ultralit PL.


Only one lens is seen marked Agolon: a plastic-barrel four-element 90/2.5 positioned as ‘the upgrade lens’ from 1979-1993, when it was superceded by the Reflecta Agomar 90/2.4 MC. It therefore spans the Agfa/Reflecta era and is seen in both Agfa and Reflecta guises.


The six-element 60/2.8 Color-Agolar (Cat 4784/100) was the shorter sibling of the Color-Agolon – Agfa’s best lenses for their best projector series: the Agfacolor 250 D, A, S and DAV models sold from 1971 until at least 1976. There were in fact three Color-Agolars produced for the Agfacolor 250 Series – although the longer 150/2.8 and 250/4.5 variants must have relatively unpopular, given their scarcity on the used market.


The solitary Color-Agolon 90mm was a more substantial version of the Agolon 90mm. Both are f2.5, but the Color-Agolon is throttled down from a potential f2 by a (removable) internal waterhouse stop, giving slightly better resolution, particularly in the outer image circle. The dissimilarity of this lens’ drawing style to similar Braun and Staeble models suggests this was a unique Agfa design.

The Color-Agolon 90/2.5 [Cat 4785/100] combined with the Color-Agolar 60/2.8 to form a ‘luxe-pack’ designed for the range-topping Agfacolor 250. It’s a lens with something of a cult following – not because of unusual sharpness (scoring just 7.6 / 7.3) but because of its refined and appealing drawing style, and absence of aberrations. It’s a five-element air-spaced design: uncommonly well corrected for a projector lens – second only to Leica’s Super-Colorplans. The image circle is larger than necessary for 35mm slides, which results in consistent Zone 1-3 performance and minimal mechanical vignetting (cat-eye bokeh balls and swirl).

Cine Projector Lenses

Pending . . .

Additional chapters in the Agfa-Gevaert story:

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