Focusing on the Zeiss Ikon

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by squinonescolon, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. squinonescolon

    squinonescolon Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I've been using a Canonet QL GIII for many years. I've played around with other cameras including Leicas here and there. I had an interesting experience yesterday. Based on reading everyones experiences and reviews I was pretty much sold on an Zeiss Ikon. I went to the store to purchase it, they also had an M6, a Bessa R3A on hand, so I though what the heck let's try them all with the same lens (I believe the Zeiss 35mm f/2 ZM Biogon) and compare. What do you know, the one that won me over, because of the way it handled and fit in my hands was the Bessa. I was really surprised. But what surprised me the most is that I just could not focus the Ikon. The viewfinder was magnificently bright, better than the Leica and the Bessa, but I could only get brief glimpses of the patch. Could it have been my eyes? I thought my eye was pretty centered but I had a heck of a time focusing. I even took the salesman outside with me and played with the camera, but I could hardly see it. Is it just a matter of it being so subtle that one has to get used to it. I had to walk away from the store and I couldn't pull the trigger on the purchase. I will probably get the Bessa instead, but the viewfinder on the Ikon was so nice and bright, I'm throughly confused now. Any opinions?
    Steven
     
  2. mesh

    mesh Member

    Messages:
    264
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2009
    Location:
    Armidale, NS
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Funnily enough, over the last few days, I've had a chance to play with an Ikon, R3A, Leica M2 (with M6 finder) and my own M3. The Ikon finder is obviously sensational - HUGE, bright and just plain gorgeous... BUT, I agree with you, the RF patch is the worst out of the lot. The M3 wins hands down - although the finder isn't the brightest, it's by far (IMO) the easiest to focus with. That patch is so crisp and detailed... I don't think it's down to sample variation either because I've used a few and also used other newer Leicas all with reputable CLAs. The Bessa is possibly a bit better than the M6 and I really like it also, but every one I've owned has broken or required repair constantly. I hate to say that because I'm not a 'Leica snob' but that's my experience. The Bessa feels nice in the hand but it's simply not in the same class as the Ikon or Leica.

    R3A wont be great with 35mm nor will the M3 for that matter. For the same reliability reasons I'd steer away personally from the R2A, so IMO it's the M2/M4x/M6 if you want the best RF performance or just get used to the Ikon. I'm sure the more you live with it you'd adjust. Anyway, that's my 2 cents ;-)
     
  3. Double Negative

    Double Negative Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    This is normal for the Ikon - your eye has to be fairly straight-on to the VF or the patch whites out. You get used to it though and like second nature, begin to align your eye better to where it needs to be. The bright and huuuuge VF is a real treat.
     
  4. arpinum

    arpinum Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Location:
    DC
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes it is harder than other patches I've used. But I got used to it fast, just learned the spot on my face to jam the edge of the camera. If you have deep eye sockets the trick works well. My wife wears glasses and has a hard time with it.
     
  5. thegman

    thegman Member

    Messages:
    623
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I found the Ikon patch better than my M3 (although my M3 is very old of course), but not as good as a Leica M6. On balance though, the finder on the Ikon is great.

    If the Bessa works for you, then get that, they don't have the "bling" of Ikon or Leica, but they do have a industrial charm which is very appealing.
     
  6. squinonescolon

    squinonescolon Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Thanks guys. I'll probably go once more and take another crack at it.