A friend at work has learned of my interest in old cameras, and today brought in two to show me. These were both owned by his father, and his earliest memory of them was having his picture taken on his 10th birthday.
The first looks to be a Super Ikonta C like the one on this page.
He does not have the 6x4.5 mask for it, and the front element of the lens has considerable haze and/or fungus, but I suggested to him that it could be cleaned up. I'm impressed with the size of that 6 x 9 negative - who needs an enlarger?
The second is a Super Ikonta III, like the one shown at the bottom of this page
. Now this feels like a finely-made camera. I was watching one of these on ebay earlier this week, and the price rose way above my expectation - now I can see why. I was impressed with the compact size and weight of this, and the quality feel about it. The lens on this one is in much better condition, with only the merest traces of fungus starting to appear. I explained that this needs to be arrested now, if he wants it to still be working in another 50 years time. This one also came with its leather ever-ready case, also in excellent condition.
The best thing about my friend is that he has a real sense of the true value of these cameras, not in terms of dollars but in their value as part of his heritage. He has the photos his father took, and the cameras his father carried all around the country with his work. I hope I can leave my kids something that endures like that.
Now, excuse me while I jump back onto ebay and have another look at medium format cameras. Just looking, mind you...