Zeiss Ikon Ikomat age?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by PentaxBronica, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    I've just bought what seems to be a working Zeiss Ikon Ikomat 520/2, it's loaded with Ilford FP4 and ready to go but I'm wondering if anyone can say how old it is?

    I tried Camerapedia and while they have a Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 520/2 listed (with the same lens and shutter as mine) there's no mention of the Ikomat. I understand that Zeiss used the Ikomat brand for cheaper cameras but it seems odd that mine has the same fittings as the Ikonta 520/2. My camera looks identical to their photo apart from "Ikomat" where theirs says "Ikonta" and an all-black flip-up viewfinder rather than the black with chrome surround on theirs. Any thoughts?

    I'd been after a nice old folder for a while, main requirement being that it use 120 film for obvious reasons. This popped up for £20 from a reputable seller, even included the original cable release! It's definitely a user rather than a display example as there are plenty of paint rubs on the metal bits of the casing, but the bellows seem light-tight, the shutter works, the lens is in good condition and everything turns as it should.
     
  2. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    If 6x4.5 , 70/3.5 Tessar ,1933. Look at these images , you cant find this quality with investing 300 times more money today and no guarantee.

    4970219783_d20e10d07e_b.jpg

    4973795354_3d8f7ae029_b.jpg
     
  3. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    The lens is an 105mm f6.3 Novar-Anastigmat with Derval shutter, camera shoots 6x9 on 120 film. Camerapedia has 1938 for the same package with the Ikonta badging.

    I just hope I can get results as good as those from mine! Obviously you have to guess the distance to subject and either carry a light meter or use Sunny 16, I'll be doing the latter as I can generally get close enough for negatives.
     
  4. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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  5. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    Ikomat and Ikonta are the same camera, Ikomat being the earlier name. Neither the Novar lens nor the Derval shutter have serial numbers which makes dating the camera harder. There should be a serial number consisting of a letter and four (five?) digits - the letter gives the year of manufacture. I don't have a list for year letters but you might find them on the Interweb. It is definitely between 1931 and 1938 (the years they made the Ikomat/Ikontas.
     
  6. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    The lettering I have around the lens is "Novar-Anastigmat 1:6.3 F#10.5cm Nr.1140383", no other serial numbers or lettering other than the shutter speed and aperture markings, unless it's on the pressure plate (I didn't look that closely, was too keen to get a film loaded and give it a try after checking the bellows!)

    Interestingly for a German camera the distance markings are imperial rather than metric.
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Earlier Novars did carry a serial number. I've yet to see a postwar Novar with a serial number.

    In any case, you can sometimes tell if you have a very early camera by the shape of the camera. The earliest Ikomat/Ikonta cameras had sharp chiseled edges, while the later models had more rounded edges.

    The Novar was the budget lens, while the Tessar was the premium lens.

    Even so, stopped down, the Novar is a very capable lens.

    For the most part, Zeiss Ikon didn't make cheaper cameras. The lens was always the factor in determining price. That changed in the 1960s and 1970s.
     
  8. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    If the camera was exported to the UK or the USA then the distance scale will be in feet. It will also have the smaller tripod boss via a screw-in adaptor.

    With that lens serial number (I have never seen one on a Novar lens before) the lens was made in mid 1930. That indicates a date for the camera of 1931 - as they didn't start making the Ikomat/Ikonta until then. Lenses were made in batches and it was usual for the lens, shutter and body to be made in different years.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Here's a 1931 Zeiss Ikon advert, there's 3 different 520/2 versions listed, no Ikomat though. By 1936 there were 4 different 520/2 models - only one the same as in 1931. See attached

    Ian
     

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  10. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    Just out of interest, is the shutter the older dial set or the newer rim set type?

    The dial set type has a small circular dial above the lens to set shutter speed, the rim set type has a ring around the lens to do this.
     
  11. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    Ian, that advert is very interesting. These cameras were not cheap - £3/7/6 in 1931 was an average income and equates to about £600 in today's money. Beyond a working man's wallet.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's interesting that camera prices start to drop in relative terms with much greater production volumes in the 1930's but they stayed expensive until the 1960's in relation to average wages.

    I haven't a pre-WWII reference to Ikomat cameras in the UK, the name wasn't used here however it does appear that name Ikomat is used in the US instead of Ikonta even on top models. Maybe there was a trademark issue. This happend to Exacta with the Varex models which were sold as VX in the US.

    The TLR Ikoflex was sold as an Ikomat as well in the US.

    Ian
     
  13. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    Non of my 'standard' literature mentions Ikomat at all (Tubb's Zeiss Ikon Cameras 1926-1939, and The Hove Blue Book, Millennium edition). I have only found a couple of mentions on the Interweb - nothing detailed.

    Matt's Ikomat has the same die cast body as a Netter 515/2 but that cheaper camera has a Nettar lens instead of a Novar (both triplets. The Novar being made by Rodenstock, I think, and the Nettar is an old Contessa Nagel design from before the merger that formed Zeiss Ikon).
     
  14. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    The shutter speed control is a dial above the lens - speeds are 100, 50, 25, T and B. Hence why you don't really want to put anything faster than FP4 in as you'll struggle to get the right exposure when the sun is out!

    It also has the smaller tripod fittings, there's even a tiny grub screw to stop the adapters from working loose (talk about attention to detail). I'll try to get a few photos later as it seems to be something a bit unusual.

    As for price, it seems that you will always pay about the same amount for a quality item. I found a scan of a 1980s Argos catalogue a while ago with a kit of a Pentax ME Super, Pentax-A 50mm f1.7, AF200s flashgun and gadget bag for £189. In real terms that's probably what you'd pay now for a consumer DSLR.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2012
  15. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    "It also has the smaller tripod fittings, there's even a tiny grub screw to stop the adapters from working loose"

    Just had a look at my Nettar tripod bushes - never noticed the grub screw before.
     
  16. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    A couple of quick shots of the camera. I still need to take the top off the brilliant finder and have another go at cleaning the mirror (it looks like rust but may just be very stubborn gunge).
     

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  17. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    It will be rust in the brilliant finder. They seemed to chrome plate straight onto steel. I have certainly never managed to get one into a useable state.
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Chip proof black nail polish is good for touching up the paintwork :D

    Ian
     
  19. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    Well, I improved it a bit with a cotton bud soaked in lighter fuel (which made the rust spots smaller). I suspect a previous owner wasn't so careful while cleaning as a load of scratches appeared under the muck. It's usable but really just gives you a vague idea of what you're pointing at - not quite as good as the WLF or prism finders on my Bronicas!

    I'll have to try the nail varnish, I wasn't really planning to tidy the paintwork up but if it's that simple...
     
  20. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    Thread resurrection time!

    I recently showed the Ikomat to a friend who commented that the leather bellows seemed a bit dry. Does anyone have any recommendations for a treatment to keep them healthy? I have some leather wipes (intended to be used on a sofa) and some saddle soap aerosol foam to hand which work on leather camera cases, but obviously this is a bit different.

    The original cable release has also expired, thanks to the cloth covering finally breaking where it was crimped into the metal end piece (it was hanging by a few threads, which snapped on about the third use). This means that if you try to use the cable it just stretches the spring around the wire core rather than pressing the shutter. I have a couple of standard cable releases which fit the socket, but would obviously like to repair the original. Has anyone managed this?
     
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  21. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    Interesting! Thanks, I'll see what I can dig up with beeswax in. The wipes I have for the sofa would probably be pretty effective as they'll get into all the odd corners without any risk of smearing polish everywhere.