I just bought a zeiss ikonta folder off ebay. wanted something capable of shooting 120 that was smaller than my bronica ertsi. A couple of quick questions. I never used a rangefinder before. Any advice? I don't think the camera has a rangefinder built in like the super ikonta does. Do I need a rangefinder in order to focus the camera?
The camera has a viewfinder built in but I am pretty sure that the viewfinder is not a rangefinder. So it won't give me the distance scale I need in order to focus. Right? I am little confused, what is the difference between an accessory rangefinder and a hot shoe viewfinder?
The rangefinder on the Ikontas - the models that came with one anyway - is uncoupled. That means that even though the rangefinder will tell you how far away the subject is you will still have to turn the focus dial on the lens until the numeral matches up to the same one you got from the rangefinder. Otherwise, you just 'guesstimate' the distance and set the focus that way, which is generally how I use my Ikonta Super B. I think I only used the rangefinder once just to check if it seemed to be in proper adjustment.
Guessing the focus distance takes a little practice, but as you get a feel for how far away things are that you might be photographing, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how many sharp negatives you are rewarded with - even with larger apertures. So I don't know if an accessory rangefinder will be useful to you. If you're willing to waste a couple of rolls of film exploring the mysteries of guesstimate focusing I think you just might discover you don't need one.
Have fun with your new folder, but watch out! They're addictive!
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You don't say what model Ikonta you have but you probably don't have a rangefinder on the camera at all of you have only the simple window at the top. I have three Ikontas with no rangefinders and I'm often quite pleased with the images I get from them anyway. The trick is to get your estimating skills developed. I try to envision how many steps I am from something and then translate that to feet (or meters, as the particular camera may have it.) It's not all that accurate, but it helps me get a guess-timate going. I have a couple of old, accessory rangefinders, the type that fit into a shoe. Problem is, most of the old folders don't seem to have accessory shoes. I tried carrying them around in my pocket but I found that the moment was gone by the time I got one out and went through the process of looking at it, then the camera. I tend to guess fairly accurately without one. Use small f/stops and trust to depth of field.
Originally Posted by Schunn99
Have fun. For shear "what the hell" photography, you can't beat a folder