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Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Donald Boyd, Jun 12, 2007.
Has the Ikon undergone any improvements since it first came out?
No. What had you in mind? The only thing I'd change is the metering...
When I was at Oberkochen a few weeks ago they said they were not sure the market was big enough for a Mk. II but that they had not ruled it out either. New lenses are definitely planned.
I had read its shutter is crummy.
Where did you read that? It's a modified Copal electronic shutter, as far as I know. And define "crummy."
Here we go again...
Art, where's the popcorn maker?
I read numerous complaints about its shutter on rangefinderforum since people began buying them and posted their complaints.
The only thing I have read was a comment about metering. Since the meter reads off a grey shutter area, you have to wind the film to the next frame for the shutter to work. Not everyone winds the film after every shot, which would seem to indicate that the meter would not read, or not read accurately.
Other than that, this particular shutter is a fairly well proven design. It would surprise me to read about failures already, though that is what a warranty should cover. Obviously this type of metal shutter will be louder than a cloth shutter in a Leica rangefinder.
Anyway, the posts have me curious. Is their really a problem with this camera, other than a handful of people expecting perfection?
A G Studio
I'd be surprised if there were. Though my objection is that the meter readout is in the wrong place; is hard to see in bright light; and has low resolution. As far as I recall, it's only 1 stop, unlike the 1/2 or 1/3 stop possible with a 'traffic lights' (3-LED, centre 'Go', L and R 'over' and 'under'). Zeiss is not unsympathetic to this analysis.
As Copal is the last surviving serious shutter maker, it would be odd if this camera alone were defective. If it were, I'm sure the shutter would have been revised, possibly without announcement, hence no 'improvements'.
Yes, it is a shame that there wasn't enough demand for even one frivolous shutter maker to stay in business. The upside of that is that my collection of frivolous shutters is rapidly appreciating in value, even though spares are hard to find. My pink size two-and-a-bit Rompur needs a new feather for the monkey, and you can't get them anywhere.
If modern Copal shutters are so good, why all the reported shutter problems on rangefinderforum? Is it the camera that is ill-designed?
I have a zeiss ikon, and I am very happy. It's a wonderful camera. Shutter is silent, and precise.
People with problems tend to complain about those problems. People without them don't. Read any discussion or review of any car rental company on any forum on the net for example. You would get the distinct impression that all rent a car offices are run by the devil himself...mainly because really, really angry people are motivated to put finger to keyboard. I would certainly post a complaint if I had a bad experience. Yet I've never really had a bad rental car experience, most were fine. So I've never felt the urge to post about it.
Again, those who are pissed off, tend to mouth off (often quiet justifiably), those who are not pissed off usually don't make a peep. They just quietly carry on enjoying the ride. I don't think a forum is a very good place to get accurate stats about real numbers of problems. Most forums tend to have more posts from squeeky wheels than from happy campers.
Of course, that is just my opinion. I could be drunk.
Consider what percentage of Zeiss Ikon users actually are on Rangefinder Forum, then look at the number of complaints in that context. If a handful of people type tens of messages of complaints, it could appear that there is a greater problem than their might be in reality.
Anyway, things do fail out of the box, or within warranty periods. To expect zero failures is not realistic. Even new Leica rangefinders have failed in the warranty period, and that is probably the measure by which Zeiss might be judged. So does Zeiss Ikon have more warranty claims than Leica?
Even APUG is a good example of this. As a forum, this is heavily trafficked, but only a very small percentage of actual film users.
A G Studio
Just wanted to add in some information about two other rangefinders of the past. One was the Konica Hexar RF and the other the Bronica RF645.
In the case of the Konica Hexar RF, stories circulated about a back focus issue. Depending upon what forum or internet site you read, this was either a huge problem guaranteeing blurry images, or it was a non-issue meaning you could get nice image results. Unfortunately enough people took this to be an issue that sales never really went anywhere with this camera line.
With the Bronica RF645 the early cameras had a few so-so reviews. Among the complaints were the vertical frame orientation and the too small film size (compared to 6x7). Then Bronica pulled back on the 135mm lens, and slowly came back with a 100mm. Enough discussion on the internet, comparisons to SLR choices (especially close focus, like headshots), too many mentions of the change in lenses, and this product was essentially done in the market.
So a few comments, or bad reviews in heavily trafficked internet areas, could essentially kill off camera sales. Maybe the RFF complainers have an agenda, or want to kill off the Zeiss Ikon, or maybe they are just overly dramatic and vocal. However, a few dissenting voices that are loud enough, or simply create enough doubt, could easily drive Zeiss out of this market. So who wins in that situation?
A G Studio
P.S. - It might be notable that both the Konica Hexar RF and Bronica RF645 are actually sought out by some people on used markets.
Actually, that was an unconsidered quote direct from Leica, who use Copals in the M8. I shall make them aware of your excellent analysis when I see them at Arles. Their excuse is that English was a second language. I have no such defence.
With warm appreciation,