Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta C
Zeiss Opton Tessar T
105mm f3.5
As I love the 6x9 format, I was really excited to get a Super
Ikonta C. It hasn't been quite as nice a user as I'd hoped,
but maybe this is because I have some really fine 6x9
folders to compare it with. It is, of course, a fairly legendary
camera so my expectations might also have been too high.
The lens is sharp and it takes a decent photo, but the
focusing ring and viewfinder are, in my opinion, not well
designed and the camera is not very enjoyable to use. I
think this stems from the fact that over the decades it was
produced the camera's design was not really improved from
the original Super Ikonta. My version seems to be a late
one, as it has the f3.5 Opton Tessar (with the red "T"
designation), but in use the camera is much more
cumbersome than my old Welta Weltur, which dates from
the 1930's. The viewfinder on my Super Ikonta hasn't
yellowed, as they often do, but the view is still far from
confidence inducing. And having the rangefinder window
separate from the viewfinder is not user friendly. I also
really dislike the focusing ring: it's too small and not at all
easy to grip. If the Tessar lens was really fantastic I'd
probably forgive the camera's cumbersome handling, but
the lens just doesn't seem quite as sharp and contrasty as
the Color-Skopar on my Bessa I or II, not too mention the
amazing Ross Xpres on the Ensign Autorange 820. Still, I
have printed very sharp 11x14's from this camera, and I'm
sure you could get nice 16x20 prints, so, given its small size
and "pocketability" I'd have to say it is another camera that
fulfills the medium format folding camera's promise of great
image quality in a small package. If you're going to save
your pennies and buy one high quality folder, however, I
wouldn't spend the money on this one.
Okay, I'm not quite ready to throw this camera
in the recycling bin...
But when I look through that viewfinder...
and reach for that focusing ring... I do feel like
drinking!
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