I think the Super Ikontas were aimed at the travelling professional. At the time, the lens and build were really quite stunning. They weren't really cheap either when you compare them to other folders at the time (see: Kodak).
I'm interested in seeing your test rolls. It sounds like there's enough of us folder enthusiast here to get this riddle solved. Film tight, lens parallel to film, shot the same shot at f/8 and f/22 and see if that helps.
Enjoy! I dearly miss mine =/
Just looking at the distance scale on the lens ring, I see that it goes from 4 feet to 48 feet, then to infinity.
So I imagine that these distances are the range that the camera was designed to shoot. From about twice arm's length to the other side of the street. While the camera is probably capable of shooting photos somewhat closer than 4 feet (but not by much) and you can certainly shoot a landscape with it, pictures like this just seem to be outside its "sweet spot."
Before the boom of japanese mass market rangefinder cameras with luminous lenses (the early seventies) most european mass market cameras (even the famous Zeiss and al. german P&S) had front lens focusing, and I believe that with rather compact - not very open - few elements - lenses, this kind of focusing should be "rather acceptable" within the range of focusing they allowed.
My Moskva, like the SuperIkonta it copied, uses front lens focusing and yields to my opinion fairly sharp pictures. Idem, my Rodenstock 645 Citonette folder.
Here is one of the shots I recently made with this camera:
Or the full size image:
(Large image. Over 20 MB.)
Not too terrible. Not razor sharp but decent, given the vintage of the camera and lens.
Tri-X Pan 400 - ƒ22@125
Focus point was near the letter "L" in the word "Looking."
I'm a bit confused by the model you've got - there is talk in the thread about 6 X 9, but isn't the Super Ikonta IV a 6 X 6 with a 75mm Tessar lens???
I have several Zeiss Ikon folders, but not that particular model. My Ikonta is a 'B', which is simpler.
I am also sceptical about the 'bellows suction' idea. I have read it too - but I've never been able to demonstrate it in practice. As I type I have a Zeiss Nettax on the desk in front of me. It is similar to the Ikonta IV, I think, with a meter but a simpler Novar lens and no range finder. The film frame has rails top and bottom to support the edges of the film - and rollers at the sides. The vertical edges of the frame are recessed by a good millimetre and there is also at least a millimetre gap between these and the rollers. Consequently, there is plenty of room for air to pass - no way could the film form an air seal. So, I don't believe it - maybe on a cheaper badly designed camera - not on a Zeiss Ikon folder.
I am usually very happy with the sharpness of the pictures from these cameras. Even the simple Novar lens can turn in a reasonably sharp picture provided you aren't expecting a 30" blow up from a hand held grab shot.
My own experience is that people often dismantle the front element to clean it and don't check the infinity focus when they refit it.
Rangefinders often need adjustment (I don't have any folder with a coupled rangefinder, but several uncoupled and 'accessory' types).
If I were you, the very first thing I would do is get (or make) a piece of ground glass that fits across the film gate, resting on the film supports at the top and bottom. I made a small glass square for this purpose and ground the surface, it is a very useful tool. Took me about 15 minutes to make.
Place the camera on a tripod and in the bright sunlight focus on an object at a measured 10 feet away at full aperture, holding the ground glass in place under a dark-cloth. A loup of magnifying lens helps. Does the lens scale show exactly 10 feet? Secondly, does the rangefinder agree with the lens scale and with your visual check on the ground glass? You then need to repeat this for infinity.
Many of the cameras of this type that have come into my possession (I have about twenty 6 X 6 folders) have failed this test - but fixing them is usually very simple, often 5 minutes with a jewellers screwdriver is all you need to reset the focus. A coupled rangefinder would be more difficult, but first step would be to determine if this is the problem.
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I think Steves' advice is spot on. There is a lot of variables in this setup, making it difficult to source what's wrong.
Try do a few shots on a tripod at least, as you've said that you often move the camera when you press the trigger (I know I do too). Use bigger apertures than f22, because at that point you are going to be close to the diffraction limits. At a shallower depth of field you'll see more clearly if it is out of focus, too.
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu
Certainly doesn't look 'too terrible' to me!
Originally Posted by Worker 11811
It is difficult to tell more without knowing how far away the writing on the fallen tree is. F22 should give quite a depth of field with a 75mm lens (if that is what it is?). The hyperfocal distance is 11 ft 5 inches, according to my trusty tables. In this case - the picture should be sharp to infinity, but it appears it isn't. This might be because the focus is a bit off, but might also be because the sea is moving too much for the shutter speed, though? It's hard to tell. Is the log a bit shaper as you move to the right of the writing (nearer to the camera)? Or am I kidding myself?
Best test shot for this sort of thing is to put the camera on a good solid tripod and shoot down the length of a road with trees or lamp posts or parked cars stretching into the distance. This way you eliminate movement of both the camera and the scenery as a source of unsharpness. A fine grain film and a bigger aperture helps, too.
Yes, the Super Ikonta IV is 6x6.
I forgot the distance that the camera "thought" it was shooting from but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15 feet. Yes, that's the thing that puzzles me, too. I thought the background should be more in focus with the aperture at ƒ-22. I should expect things in the 4-foot range to be out of focus. Right? However, the area that I noticed that wasn't in sharp focus before was nearer the left and right edges. That's why I composed it the way you see. The logs that run off the left and right edges are the focus of this test shot. Given that it was shot at ƒ-22, I would expect there to be some fuzziness due to diffraction around the aperture. It was a bright, sunny day and I was shooting Tri-X 400.
That is the best exposure I could get under the conditions. The Synchro-Compur lens only gives you a couple-three choices to work with at this exposure. You're literally bumping up against the limits of the mechanism. I suppose I could manually choose aperture/shutter combinations but I'm not sure that will give me any more headroom. I'll need to get some lower speed film.
Right now, 400 is all I have on hand. The local store has a limited stock of 120 film. I'll have to order it. I'll have to wait until my next paycheck comes.
I'm not completely convinced that advancing the film after opening the bellows has any benefit, either, but there is essentially no cost to doing it that way. I'll try to keep it in mind but, if I forget, I'll won't be worried about it. Furthermore, opening the bellows and advancing the film in random order on the same roll of film would be the ultimate acid test for the theory. Wouldn't it? I'm sure that some cameras like 6x7s would be more susceptible to the problem and, if there is any effect in my camera, it would be minimal. I'm basically going to just file this idea in the back of my brain and see what happens.
I've got one more roll of film, still in the camera. I think I'm going to use the rest of it to do set-up still life shots or something, using a tripod and cable release.
The jury is still out on whether to send the camera for CLA. I'm sure the rangefinder could use some calibration but I've got so many cameras that need it and my funds are so limited. It's hard to decide which ones to get repaired. However, this one is near the top of the list, right now.
Another reason to advance film just prior to shooting... Dust from the bellows as you travel and open and close. (Solve/troubleshoot this by taking two shots).
If I was D.B Cooper, I'd call you just to get a look at your camera. That pic is great.
This may sound stupid, but my Zeiss Ikonta B (zone focuser, earlier model than yours) measures in meters, not feet. Did they change for later models?