I want a Zeiss Ikon.. Tell me why I shouldn't do it..

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by brian steinberger, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I'm a rangefinder man all the way. I currently have two Mamiya 6's and two Bronica RF645's. These are my babies. I do all my work with them. I love working in medium format. But over the last year I've seen alot of really great 35mm work, all with Leica's or Zeiss's.. etc. It really got me longing for a Zeiss Ikon. You can buy them new with a 50/2 planar for just over 2k at B&H. That's certainly affordable compared to a Leica, even a used Leica.

    half of me is trying to talk myself into it, and half of me is trying to talk myself out of it. My main problem besides the cost is I'm not sure why I really NEED it. What situations would I prefer the 35mm RF? I can think of a few. Low light. The 50/2 is fast, much faster than all my MF RF lenses which are pretty much all f/4. But why couldn't I shoot the RF645 with some Delta 3200? Wouldn't the grain be similar between a 6x4.5 3200 shot compared to a 35mm pushed Tri-x or HP5 shot?? But the grain is just lovely in 35mm IMHO, and the images that are made with Zeiss/Leica glass are just special, they really are. They just have a soul to them, they speak to you. That is the main reason I want one. It would also help me to photograph people more, something I don't do very often.

    I'd just like some thoughts and suggestions....

    Thanks!
     
  2. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    You only live once, life is too short, etc., etc.
    Get it and make yourself happy. If later you find you've gotten it out of your system, sell it on and make someone else happy.:happy:
     
  3. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Why should we care what you do with your money?

    - Leigh
     
  4. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Doesn't everyone enjoy spending other peoples money??!!
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Sure, go get it because you deserve it.

    Are we enablers or what!?
     
  6. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Can't help ya. I love mine. If you can find one at agood price I would definitely buy it.
     
  7. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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    Is anyone going to be deprived of something important, if you spend the money? If yes, then you shouldn't. Otherwise...... :smile:
     
  8. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Don't get one of the new ones. Get the real thing.

    Glass Key Photo, a regular here, has (had?) a Zeiss Contax IIa w/50mm f2 Sonnar T lens for sale.
     
  9. zsas

    zsas Member

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    I went through the same mess recently, and ended up getting a Contax G2, you can save $1K going that route and get the same quality, but it is a much differnt type of system....food for thought....reguardless....if you can afford it, get that Zeiss if the Contax G2 isnt your cup a tea....
     
  10. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I think it's fair ball to just get a 35mm kit just to explore your own artistic vision, or more fully explore your photographic work.

    Myself, I don't shoot 4x5 often but I like having the option...so I keep my Crown Graphic. I think the same applies to a curiosity about 35mm format.

    On a related note, don't be so quick to write off Leica bodies for price. Some fine quality ones out there for around a grand, sometimes less. No reason you can't be happy with an M3, or an M4 (heck I won a bit of a lottery in finding my M6 for $1K but that's another story).

    Good luck with your journey.
     
  11. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Oh, shoot, Brian I forgot to tell you, the Contax doesn't have parallax correcting framelines. Don't know if you tend to cut off people's heads without parallax correction (I do), but that's a risk of the old Contax - and why Leicas are so highly regarded.
     
  12. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I'd recommend you get an M2 or M3 and the Zeiss lens. I have the 35/2 Biogon and love it. Use it on my MP and M2. I'd get the Zeiss 50/2 but love my 50/2 Summicron DR too much and have the Zeiss 45/2 Planar on my G2.

    The M2 I just got from Youxin for $550. A total user but fully CLA'd by Youxin and smoooooth as silk with a buttery shutter. He usually has a few M2 and M3 bodies around, contact him and discuss your desire for condition you want as he'll compare to what he's got and quote you well.

    I'm sure the Zeiss Ikon are nice but I think they are a but pricey for what you're getting.
     
  13. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Most Leica's don't have metering, and the one's that do don't offer an Aperture priority mode. That's my problem with them.
     
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  15. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Aren't the G2s autofocus??
     
  16. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Yes the G2 is AF, so if you need traditional manual focus don't give the G2 a thought. It does have a manual focus ability but it gives no conformation like a traditional patch RF. It measures what it is focusing on (in meters only) and then you can dial it in manually. Much much different than a trad RF but food for thought....
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Rule 1 - don't go to APUG if you want to be persuaded against buying a camera.
     
  18. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I should mention I also own a Fuji GA645 and a GA645zi and a slew of 6x6 cameras, mostly Rolleiflex TLRs yet I still love and use my Leicas and Contax G2.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2012
  19. ambaker

    ambaker Subscriber

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    Brian, if it was need we would all be shooting P&S little cameras. It's about the enjoyment of the craft and the cameras. As long as it isn't taking food off the table, or costing a kid an education, go for it. It's easier to sell it when you tire of it, than to wonder what it might have been like.
     
  20. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Time to take it to the next level.... :smile:
     
  21. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    And guess exposure? Not a very efficient way to work. I know there are those who can do that successfully but I have never been one of them... :smile:

    I have a spot meter and use it when I'm working slowly but with this 35 RF I'd like to work quickly and having aperture priority mode helps me do that.
     
  22. jslabovitz

    jslabovitz Member

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    I'm also an RF645 fan (have two, the most recent of which I bought because it came with a 45mm lens and a polarizer filter... ;-). I've also owned the Ikon, and currently own an M2.

    Most of my photography is in two different areas: (1) daytime portraits of people, cities, and landscapes, and (2) low-light/contrasty pictures of performances (circus, cabaret, vaudeville) in small clubs. The RF645 is wonderful for the former, but not so good for the latter, as you may have found. I've shot many rolls of MF Delta 3200 (usually at 1600, always dev'ed in Microphen), at f/4 @ 1/125, and can just *barely* get useful shots. When I get a good one, it's excellent: lots of tone, relatively little grain. But that route has ultimately been frustrating: f/4 (or 4.5, with the 100mm) is just not enough light, and not enough flexibility.

    As you've posited, 35mm RFs work wonderfully in low light, and if you have a fast lens, you should be able to shoot with some degree of adjustability, rather than being at the extremes, as I often find myself with the RF645. I'm currently using a Voigtlander 75/2.5 for most of this work, and it's alright, although I've realized that a faster 50mm would be more useful -- in fact, I've just ordered the Zeiss 50/1.4 Sonnar, and am looking forward to using it.

    I wasn't all that pleased with the Ikon. It shot okay, but is not built nearly as nicely as the Bronica, nor a Leica. The meter is fine in daylight, but jumpy; I found it was much easier for low-light subjects just to use the external spot meter and set the Ikon manually, occasionally flipping shutter speed to allow for brighter/dimmer light. The Bronica's meter is fantastic, and you're probably spoiled by it, as I was. The viewfinder of the Ikon is bright -- like your Bronica -- but the readout is not nearly as nice. Instead of the clear side-display of those green LCDs, you have very bright red shutter numbers, super-imposed on the image. I found them distracting, when I could even see them (I wear glasses).

    I sold the Ikon a year ago, but recently dove back into 35mm, first through an M4P (too many framelines, and felt a bit chintzy), then an M6TTL (whose meter seemed to fail immediately), and now to a 1950s-era M2, which is wonderful. I carry a meter, which really isn't a big deal, and is freeing in some ways. (Granted, I learned on an old Rolleiflex, also w/o built-in metering.)

    So there are my observations. A final observation I'll leave you with is that I've realized that it's always a problem for me when I have two cameras that are too similar. If I have multiple cameras, I've learned that they should have radically different looks and feels (both in shooting & imaging). At the moment, anyway, I'm very much enjoying the M2 and its mechanical nature. I know I'll pick up the Bronica for something a bit slower and less everyday, and the Rolleiflex for something even slower. All have their purposes, and individual personalities.

    Hope this helps.

    --John
     
  23. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    M6, M7, and MP have meters. But an M3/M2/M4 or a IIIF with a Voightlander VC Meter II is a good combo.
     
  24. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Thank you John!! This was extremely helpful!!

    I will be curious to hear what you think of the 50/1.5 sonnar. I did research that lens quite a bit when looking at the planar as well.

    I am spoiled by the RF645's metering. It's great. I don't trust my Mamiya 6 meters and use a digital spot meter with those cameras. But those are the ones I work slower with and also on tripods. I'm thinking that maybe and old Leica may be a better route. Not sure yet. I'm still enjoying the info and suggestions I'm getting!
     
  25. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Can you explain the Voigtlander VC Meter?
     
  26. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    The VC Meter II (Voigtlander Cosina) is a small reflected light meter that sits in your cold or hot shoe. It's quite compact, and looks good on a Leica and many other cameras. I have one that I switch between my IIIc and my M3.

    You have to push the button and turn the aperture dial until the center LED lights up, then transfer the settings to your camera lens and speed dial. So it's like using a separate hand-held meter, except that it perches handily on top of your camera.