I'm pondering perhaps getting more into medium format, but I want to do it relatively cheaply. Zeiss Ikon Ikonta cameras seem to be a good way to do this. I've looked at various models, but the Super Ikontas are the ones that stand out as the best bang for your buck (as long as you aren't looking for mint cosmetics - that can cost you a pretty penny). Does anyone use these? Can you post shots from them? I posted a WTB link on rangefinderforum.com for the non-rangefinder 521/16 model, just as one to test really. Any experience would be appreciated.
Check out this site http://www.certo6.com/ for Ikontas and similar cameras.
I have a Super Ikonta B (6x6) and really enjoy it as a 'walking around' medium format camera. Even with the rangefinder, it's still more of a guestimate the focus camera since the rangefinder is uncoupled. What are you planning on using it for (ie: landscapes, buildings, people...")? If people are the photographic game you stalk, you might be happier with a twin lens reflex. Many brands that aren't Rolleiflex (Yashica for example) will give quite pleasing results for not too large an investment, with the added bonus of more precise focusing (what you see on the ground glass is pretty much what you're gonna get). Just something to consider in the equation.
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"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Howard Thurman
Relatively speaking Zeiss Ikonta cameras are quite expensive, especially if in good working condition. If you want something cheap, but potentially very good quality, consider the Russian copies such as the Moscow 4 and Moscow 5.
Ir you are looking for a excellent walking around camera have a look at the Fuji 6X4.5 folding rangefinders. These cameras are very compact and are capable of outstanding results, better than the older Zeiss Ikontas.
Originally Posted by Stephanie Brim
hi stephanie -
i was inches away from buying a super ikonta from the certo6 website. he refurbishes the cameras and he has a wonderful reputation. much less of a crap-shoot than buying off of FEEbay.
i ended up finding an olde mamiya 6 and have been using that since the beginning of december. if i didn't get a good deal on the it, i'd be using certo6 camera ...
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Had a Super Ikonta B, 6x6 and sold it off a couple of years back. Took good pictures but was a little too weighty for me even tho it folded. It's not a pocket camera. A bad bellows would cost as much as another camera or more and the rangefinders can range from ok to totally useless so you really have to watch for that. It's not a fast shooting camera and as a walk about I much prefer a 35mm. For a first mf camera I'd say skip it and buy something else. I don't see it as a good investment unless your a folder fanatic, in which case desire can overlook it's limitations.
The Super Ikonta B is a somewhat massive camera.
There were four versions of the original model and two of later vintage.
The original Super Ikonta B was the 530/16, which used separate windows for focusing and composing. The successor model was the 532/16, which unified the rangefinder and composing windows into a single viewfinder. It otherwise is mechanically similar/identical to the 530/16. Both cameras gave 11 exposures, as you lost one shot to the autoframing mechanism.
After World War II, the Super Ikonta B 532/16 returned, first with an uncoated lens and then later with the coated Zeiss-Opton Tessar.
The 533/16 is a truly massive camera, adding a noncoupled selenium meter and providing 12 exposures.
The 530, 532 and 533 all used an f/2.8 80mm Tessar.
Two final models followed: The Super Ikonta III and IV -- using a smaller body (similar to the Nettar and Mess Ikonta) but offering a nonmetered and metered body.
These were the only Super Ikonta B's that were offered with either the Novar or Tessar lens. The Novar is a good lens. The f/3.5 75mm Tessar is awesome.
For the price, the Mess Ikonta 524/16 with an uncoupled rangefinder is an amazing camera.
I dropped you a note on RFF.com regarding a 521/16.
Of these cameras, the coated f/3.5 Tessar would be my first choice. The coated f/2.8 Tessar is a very nice lens, performing better at f/4.0 and smaller. The uncoated lenses are fine, although a coated lens should provide better flare protection. That said, I've gotten excellent results from uncoated Tessars.
My last choice would be the Novar. Not that it's a bad lens, but if you're going to go to the trouble of getting a Super Ikonta, you might as well get one with a Tessar.
My Rolleicord IV has a Schneider lens, cost me $175(about market) and weighs nothing.Stopped down it's super sharp and wide open it has beautiful bokeh. Add a yellow filter and a hood and you'll never want for anything. It fell off the roof of my car and I didn't lose a frame. And TLR's are really great for portraits and candids..no one knows what or when youre shooting.
Originally Posted by Stephanie Brim
I know a chap who does excellent portraits. The chap is a camera.
(Tristan Tzara, 1922)
For what it is worth, I recently got a super Ikonta 532/16. I have only shot a couple rolls through it, but here is my impression. This is a very well built, tank of a camera. It is not big, but is no light weight. Everything about is top notch.When it opens the lens board is dead on parallel with the film plane- a common weakness with folders. The film advance is smooth and positive. The ergonomics are great. The way to focus and hold the camera leads to good form, meaning it is stable. I find it very easy to cock the shutter with it up to my eye. The lens on mine, 2.8 tessar, while uncoated, seems to be very sharp and contrasty, and not near as flair prone as one might expect. I intentionally took shots in harsh, glary light, shooting into the sun, and was really expecting much worse.A shade is in order, but I use a shade on all my lenses.
My only quibble, and it is a small one, is that you only get 11 frames. I suppose that is worth the trade off for having a reliable mechanism.
These are not cheap cameras, but you get what you pay for.