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  1. #1

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    Advice on 6x9 Folders

    After some wrangling, I've decided I want a MF folder in 6x9 format. Due to elevated prices of MF folders with coupled rangefinders, I'd probably get either a scale focus or uncoupled rangefinder.

    I would prefer a post-war model becasue they tend to have an accessory shoe so I can add a accessory rangefinder if necessary. Note: I have done significant internet research to date, including visiting Herr Certo6's wunderbar website.

    1. Bessa, Ikonta, and Record seem to be my best bets. Are the any opinions between the models in term of ease of use or reliability?
    2. The lens choices drive a portion of the price with the four element lenses (Skopar, Tessar, & Solinar) being almost twice the price of the three element lens (Vaskar, Novar, Apotar) versions. Regarding performance, is the only difference between the 3&4 element models corner sharpness at aperatures f/3.5-f/8? Center sharpness would be equal at f/3.5? (I'd also get a model with a lens that is f/3.5 or f/4.5)

  2. #2
    Chazzy's Avatar
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    Don't forget the Ercona II. They're typically very reasonable and the Tessar is very good.
    Charles Hohenstein

  3. #3

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    I have a Bessa with a Vaskar in a Compur Rapid shutter. It is quite a nice camera and can also shoot 645. The scale focusing isn't all that difficult to deal with.
    Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014

    Canon A-1, Canon AE-1, Canon Canonet GIII 17, Argus 21, Rolleicord Va, Mamiya RB67, Voigtländer Bessa

    http://darkroom317.deviantart.com/

  4. #4
    JPD
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    Yes, the east german Zeiss Ercona II with it's excellently sharp 3,5/105 Tessar is a very good camera, on par with the west german Ikonta but can be had for at least half the price. The Ercona may in fact have a little sharper lens, since the Jena Tessar was reformulated around 1947. The Ercona I has the same lens, but a flip-up finder.

    A Zeiss Ikonta/Nettar with coated Novar isn't bad. The ones with a four speed shutters are cheap.

    Voigtländer Bessa I with 3,5/105 Color-Skopar is another nice camera. Haven't tried one with Vaskar.

    Agfa Record with 4,5/105 Solinar is good, but the bellows are almost always leaky. Some Record II-cameras don't have threads for cable release, but instead a dumb T-lever on the side under the lens you flip down after pressing the shutter release on "B".

    J. Patric Dahlén

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the recommendation on the Ercona II. I assumed the build quality of the East German Ercona II would not be on par with their West German counterparts.

  6. #6

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    Have a look at the Moskva (Moscow) 5, which is rangefinder coupled. I bought one as my entry to MF and it was built solidly and to finer tolerances than I usually associate with ex-Soviet equipment.

  7. #7
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    I too have an Ercona II acquired from certo6 late last year and it's impressively solid. As I understand it, the Ercona was built in one of the original Zeiss factories orphaned to East Germany and many of the parts are interchangeable. Perhaps thankfully, the confused ancestry appears to hold down the price.

  8. #8

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    I'm also a fan of Nettars, though in 6x9 they seem often to have more vignetting some other folders. If you can live with that, they're built like tanks and readily available cheap.

    By contrast, I think Bessae tend to be overpriced; they're good cameras but not, I think, orders of magnitude better than the competition. The earlier ones also sometimes have poor resistance to light leaks; mine is a very early model with a Voigtar, and it's just about unusable between the limitations of the lens (lots of flare) and the light leak at the end that opens.

    There are also a few random sleepers out there. My best 6x9 folder is a Wirgin Auta with a perfectly ordinary Rodenstock triplet lens; in theory this is a very low-spec folder, with an uncoated triplet, three speeds plus B/T, and no bells or whistles of any kind, but in actual use it just has that je ne sais quoi. I think it's worth buying a few assorted low-end cameras, because they're *so* cheap and they occasionally turn up a winner like this one.

    -NT
    Last edited by ntenny; 04-13-2010 at 11:52 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Wrong lens name: Vaskar -> Voigtar
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

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    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  9. #9
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    I went a little different route. I started out with a few Kodak Tourist and other very inexpensive 'zone focus' folders. When I wanted to go to a rangefinder, I found the prices were pretty high. So I moved right on up to a Horseman 6x9 folder. It is heavier, but you get interchangable lenses and backs. It also has movements and ground glass focus option (in addition, of course, to a coupled rangefinder and the same 6x9cm format). It does not fit in your pocket, though.

    Last edited by ic-racer; 04-13-2010 at 10:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post

    By contrast, I think Bessa tend to be overpriced; they're good cameras but not, I think, orders of magnitude better than the competition. The earlier ones also sometimes have poor resistance to light leaks; mine is a very early model with a Vaskar, and it's just about unusable between the limitations of the lens (lots of flare) and the light leak at the end that opens.

    -NT
    I forgot to mention that mine was made in 1947. I haven't noticed any of these issues.
    Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014

    Canon A-1, Canon AE-1, Canon Canonet GIII 17, Argus 21, Rolleicord Va, Mamiya RB67, Voigtländer Bessa

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