ZeissIkon Ikonta

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writing4me

Hello all,
I went to inspect an Ikonta (regular Ikonta, not a Super Ikonta) yesterday, and although I'm not going to buy it, I thought I'd pass along what I discovered in case it is right for someone else. The seller was very nice to me and that goes a long way in my book.

My reason for not buying it is that I prefer the Super Ikonta with it's rangefinder. The Ikonta works via zone focus - no rangefinder.

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It is a B 523/16. While it is super clean and in very nice shape, it is much smaller than a Super Ikonta. That shocked me as I hadnt handled one before. The lens is clean, clear and beautiful. I held it up to the ceiling light and looked through it at many angles. I didn't see haze, nor fungus, nor any anomolies (sp?) of any kind. The bellows seem to be light tight as best I could determine in a fully lit room with a flashlight. I wish I would have been able to test it in a dark room for better accuracy though. Focus/distance ring moves smooth as silk. Aperature is very easy to change. Shutter speeds ring is a smidgen stiff, but not much. It fires at fast speeds just fine, but at 1 second it opened up but wouldn't close until nudging the little lever that cocks the shutter. I guess it probably has a little gunky grease somewhere preventing better movement at slow speeds - maybe a cleaning? I don't know these models well enough to say if the film automatically advances to the right location, and I didn't notice a film counter (but there must be one?). Anyway, the man who is selling it was very nice and let me spend all the time I wanted looking it over. I'd have no worries buying from him at all. Besides, he's local for me at only 30 minutes drive.

Hope this is helpful to someone who might be looking for an Ikonta.

Best,
-Lynn
 
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writing4me

Oops! I forgot to say, I don't know what shape the accessories are in since I didn't really care about those. Although I think metal hood was dented? The little GE light meter showed some movement but I wasn't interested so I didn't bother to try to figure it out. -Lynn
 

ruben_blaedel

Well-Known Member
I have a zeiss Ikon Nettar 515/2 with a "Novar" anaststigmat 1:4,5 f= 11 cm lens f stops from wide open to 32 and speeds from T B 125, 100, 50.25 sec film format 6x9 - everything seems to work very smoth and speeds souns right. As it is not a rangefinder focusing is a bit more difficult and I have have done some test films and found it somewhat more soft then expected - has anyone experience with this camera - is it possible to take sharp pictures (sharp as in 1930-1945 sharp)
thaks
Ruben
 

superwide

Member
In my experience the most likely cause of a lack of sharpness in an older camera is an oil film on the lens element inner surfaces. This oil film is caused by deterioration of the original optical d&ing grease used in the threads of the rotating front element used for focusing. The grease releases its oil when it gets old and this oil is very sticky and forms a thin film that can significantly degrade the performance of the lens.

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writing4me

Hello Ruben, I've been reading up on these Novar lenses and have a 6x9 camera coming shortly that has one. From my research (magazine articles, web articles and first hand information from people who shoot and restore these cameras) I have been told the Novar lenses ARE able to provide quite good and sharp images if you work with their limitations. One of my sources summed it up like this:

(quote) I would recommend f 11 - f16 for maximum performance. It may sound excessive compared to 35mm where lenses peak at about f8 but Tessars and triplets in this focal length work best when stopped down. Photographers with larger format cameras (8x10) and even longer lenses regularly used f64... When ever possible try to use a tripod or brace the camera on something solid. Folders are rather light for their focal lengths and a lot of fuzzyness is due to camera shake rather then lens deficiencies. (end quote)

So, test it on a tripod and at these apertures, focussed on something distant to see if you get sharper images. That would be the first test I would run.

Henry Scherer(nice to see you in our forum!), of course, is completely right in what he said about the lens maybe also having oil that could be causing lack of sharpness. I've been told that MANY times people condemn or make fun of the Novar lenses when in reality they don't realize the lens simply was compromised by dirt or oil. Hardly fair to assess a lens in that condition.

My research shows that stopped down, a coated Novar lens should produce comparable to it's Tessar counterparts and that it should be very difficult (if at all possible) to tell the difference between the images.

I hope this helps. Best, -Lynn
 
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writing4me

I forgot to add, there are four other things that can cause soft images in folding cameras. (1) If the front standard is out of alignment. Sometimes you can even wiggle it. If this isn't all in proper alignment, then your images can't be sharp. (2) If you have a rangefinder on the camera (which your model does not) sometimes the rangefinder is out of alignment. That can be a real bear to fix, depending upon what is wrong. (3) If someone has already tried to open up this camera but didn't quite know what they were doing, they might have made things worse (4) if a hack-repair man tried to replace the only one of the elements of the lens with that from another camera, you might end up with a camera that can no longer properly focus at infinity. You can't mix and match front and rear elements between these cameras, even if it is the same type of lens. But again, a good ex&le of a Novar should work well. Hope this is of additional help. -Lynn
 

ruben_blaedel

Well-Known Member
Lynn and Henry Thanks

The glas looks very clear no fongus no oil etc no trace of fidly repair work the camera apears like mint inside, but with sigsn of use on the outside picked it up cheap so now I will just have a go with a tripod to se! thanks By the wway Lynn how did things work out with your rangefinde-super-ikonta I had one once but sold it being broke just before going on a hollyday with wife and kids - regretted selling but did not regret the hollyday
 
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writing4me

Good luck with it Ruben. I hope the tripod solves the problems. It would be nice to hear how things turn out if you would let us all know?

Thanks for asking about the Super Ikonta. There were too many problems with that camera but the seller accepted the camera back for a refund. Tonight I received a very nice Ikonta (no rangefinder) 523/2 with a Novar lens. Very inexpensive. It looks very clean. The bellows are beautiful, soft and light-tight. Everything on it works fine, but 1 second sound slow. The only fault I can find is the back element of the lens looked like it had a fingerprint - but since it won't come off, I think it is really very fine scratches from cleaning. I hope it doesn't affect the images. I'll take it out tomorrow before I start working for the day and report back to the list when I get the results in a few days. Good luck with yours!

-Lynn
 
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writing4me

Just to follow up about the Ikonta that I bought. While it looks great, it has a film advance problem. All of my 8 images were overlapping eachother over the space of about 3 frames. *sigh* The shutter seems fine, since from what could be seen, the exposures looked okay. More testing required. Will report back when I have something to say constructively about the lens quality. (My Contaflex just arrived back last night, so at least I have one working classic at hand to play around with) -Lynn
 

ruben_blaedel

Well-Known Member
Is there not a little red window on the back were you can see the counted numer printed on the paber back of the film ? Do you post your images taken by classic cameras on the gallery here or on a website ? - good luck with the 523/2
 
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writing4me

Hello Ruben, Yes, there is a red window on the back. But I am a little confused about film advance in this camera. I thought the red window was to line up the first frame and after that the camera would advance correctly. Maybe I am wrong about that. When I fire the shutter, then I can advance the film wheel. When it needs to be advanced, a small red mark appears next to the wheel. After I turn the wheel, the red mark disappears and the wheel wants to stop turning. I thought that meant it is advanced far enough, but it doesn't seem right. I opened the back and loaded a piece of paper cut into the size of a roll of film, and watched how far it advances this way, and it is only about 1/3 of a frame. So do I force the wheel to advance farther than it wants to move and watch that ruby window? I hate to force anything unless someone says "yes that's right". Thanks, -Lynn
 

neilb

Active Member
Lynn,

I think you can just go ahead and wind through until the next frame number appears in the window. It will be a little tight as you wind. That's certainly how my Ikonta 532/16 works. As soon as I begin winding, the little red flag disappears, but I must keep going until the frame number appears. There's no detent or click or any other indication that you've gone far enough except the number in the window.

Neil
 
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writing4me

Thanks very much, Neil. There is nothing like handling an unfamiliar camera to humble me. Your advice about film advance was right. It works perfectly now that I realize I'm supposed to keep an eye on the ruby window for all exposures. Shot 6 frames this afternoon as the sun was disappearing and hope to shoot the last 2 tomorrow and process it Monday. Fingers crossed! Actually, it was a funny afternoon. I probably looked like quite a "geek" out there with my gear. I had the Contaflex hanging from my shoulder, an Argus C3 that took over the entire middle of my purse which was slung over the shoulder courier style, and my Ikonta tucked into the pocket of my coat. The mighty little sekonic hung around my neck tucked under the coat. The poor little Yashica Electro had to stay in the car because I ran out of places to tuck cameras! One woman asked if I was "the lady photographer for the town?" A man almost created a traffic accident when he decided to be polite and back up his car to get out of my shot - I waved him forward thankfully! Wish the light would have held out longer. Oh well, there's still tomorrow. Thanks very much for your advice. -Lynn
 
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