The Agfa Pioneer is little more than a toy, box camera with a simple one element lens and shutter release.
This camera was made by Ansco, an American company that was formerly associated with Agfa, a German company. The Agfa Pioneer was produced from around 1940 to 1953, and it came in two sizes: one for 620 film and one for 616 film; this version that I have uses 616 film, which is larger than 120/620, but can use 120/620 with an adapter.
The camera has a metal body and a plastic lens barrel, and it features a fixed-focus wide-angle lens and a built-in flash. The camera also has a curved film plane, which helps to reduce distortion and improve sharpness. The Agfa Pioneer is a simple camera that can take color or black and white photos, depending on the film you use. It is pretty basic in use, with a single shutter speed of about 1/50 second, and an aperture of f/14. This means that you need to use fast film (ISO 400 or higher) for low-light situations, and slow film (ISO 100 or lower) for bright sunlight.
The camera has an optical window viewfinder, which shows you a rough approximation of what you are framing. To take a photo, you just need to wind the film, press the shutter release lever on the lens barrel, and then wind the film again. The Agfa Pioneer is a fun camera to experiment with, and it can produce some interesting results. It is also a piece of history, as it was designed by Henry Dreyfuss, a famous industrial designer who also created some iconic telephones for Bell System.
There are no mechanisms in place to prevent double exposures. This is particularly important when using the smaller 120 sized film; the film must be advanced more than what is seen in the viewfinder to advance a complete frame, otherwise double exposures will result.
This is a seriously fun camera to use. It’s simple, but fits nicely in the hand. There are no frills to it at all, but if lomography is your thing, then this camera will be right up your alley.