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canonetc
02-18-2005, 01:02
HI,

For those Rf enthusists who want a wonderful camera for artsy works, go for the Zeiss Super Ikonta IV. It's all manual, small, easy to carry and will force you to become a faster shooter. It's a folding camera with a coupled rangefinder, usually has a flash synch port on the lens, and takes 120 film.

drawbacks can be: very narrow depth of field when shooting close, aperture should not be used beyond f/9-f/11 due to bellows length, and beware of sun flare. Also, hard to find one where there bellows are not torn or have pinholes. OH well. But if you find one, you may fall in love with it. Plus, it's a great conversation piece. People today see you pop the thing open, and they always ask, "is THAT a camera?!?"

Cheers,

Chris
Canonetc

Solinar
02-18-2005, 03:16
Actually, the Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta series have the best made belllows in the business. It's a fine camera and its size when folded means there is always room to bring along a medium format camera.

I previously owned a Super Ikonta B and then a Super Ikonta IV. For it to do close ups the range finder has to be adjusted spot on to the focus marks on the front cell.

The front cell focusing on a Tessar isn't as crisp wide open as a unit focusing lens close up.

I've since switched to the North American version of the Agfa Super Isolette, where is was called the Ansco Super Speedex. It has a unit focus design and its range finder patch is a bit brighter than the Super Ikonta IV. It does close ups really well, even with the aperture wide open. In fact, I've focused down to 4 feet and made an 11 x 11 print.

Here is a tip. When shooting from 6 feet, don't use the range finder to set the focus. Instead open your arms to as far as they go. Call it 6 feet and stand that distance. Then set the focus ring manually. You should get a a good enough shot to print a 8 by 8. You'll also need to aim the camera a bit higher when framing to compensate for parallax.

Pherdinand
02-18-2005, 04:06
"aperture should not be used beyond f/9-f/11 due to bellows length"
-what do you mean by that? Beyond = like f/16 or =like f/5.6? What does it have to do with the bellows' length?

I can agree with solinar. The bellows of the (not-super) 6x9 Ikonta I have is like new. The construction is very good. Only the focusing helicoid is completely shot. :(
I'm in the process of selling it for euro 32,50 (as-is), have the buyer already. It either goes for a costy repair or into a collection.

furcafe
02-18-2005, 04:52
I think canontec may be referring to the fact that the Super Ikonta is a front-cell focusing design, which is not as good as the unit-focusing system that the Agfa Super Isolette/Ansco Super Speedex uses. I have a Super Ikonta IV w/working meter & it's a great compact shooter, although you can get overlapping frames w/certain brands of 120 film (I believe because the camera was designed to handle 1950s-1960s film that had thicker spools & paper backing). Personally, I think the Super Ikonta IV (& its Super Ikonta B predecessors) do quite well up to f/5.6 & adequately "wide open" up to f/3.5 (not clinically sharp but adequate); IME, all Tessars, unit or front cell focusing, starts to shine around f/8 or so, anyway.

I agree w/Solinar that the Agfa Super Isolette/Ansco Super Speedex are great, too. They're more technically sophisticated than the Super Ikonta (unit focusing & auto-loading like a Rolleiflex), but are bigger & heavier as a result. Agfa/Ansco bellows tend to be more fragile than those on Zeiss Ikon folders, too.

"aperture should not be used beyond f/9-f/11 due to bellows length"
-what do you mean by that? Beyond = like f/16 or =like f/5.6? What does it have to do with the bellows' length?

I can agree with solinar. The bellows of the (not-super) 6x9 Ikonta I have is like new. The construction is very good. Only the focusing helicoid is completely shot. :(
I'm in the process of selling it for euro 32,50 (as-is), have the buyer already. It either goes for a costy repair or into a collection.

wlewisiii
02-18-2005, 05:24
I'll still vote for the Iskra as being my favorite folder. Being a Agfa Super Isolette clone it has the unit focusing and auto-loading. Plus the Russian bellows seem to be much better and they extended the rangefinder baselength so it's more accurate. Finally there's the Tessar lens made with the last of the WWII Zeiss glass... :D Yummy little camera. I really have to shoot more with it again.

If anyone wants a nice Ansco Speedex Special R, I've got one available.

William

Roman
02-18-2005, 05:52
Yep, almost nothing beats the Iskra when it comes to folding MF cameras - now that I have got my second one, we can drive prices up by praising it... ;)
BTW, the best thing about it is the very bright, clear coupled rangefinder!

Roman

Solinar
02-18-2005, 06:25
[QUOTE= - now that I have got my second one, we can drive prices up by praising it... ;)

Roman[/QUOTE]

Yep, that sounds like a plan. The Super Speedex / Super Isolette is definitely larger than the Super Ikonta IV and I would imagine so is the Iskra. This is why I mentioned that there is always room in your camera bag for a mediium format camera, if the camera is a Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta III or IV.

Eric Ladner
03-12-2005, 22:52
Hi all,
Any thoughts on whether the Chinese Super Ikonta copy, the Seagull 203 from the '70s, would be worth the cost of cleaning and lubricating? The shutter functions, but verrrry slowly. I bought it not quite new in the mid-'70s for $25, with box and instructions; somewhere online the other day I saw one for $169.

Modern Photography compared it favorably to the Super Ikonta back then. It's certainly more plebian than the Zeiss-Ikons and Agfas, but then, I have it, and I don't have them!

Thanks,

--Eric

Solinar
03-13-2005, 04:27
Modern Photography compared it favorably to the Super Ikonta back then.

--Eric

Welcome to the forum. I was given one a few years back and while it was interesting when used for 4x6, it certain didn't compare favorably with the Super Ikonta that I replaced it with. So, my advice is if you can do the CLA yourself or get it serviced for under $60, then go for it.

My experience shooting with the 203 is that the lens wasn't as sharp as the Super Ikonta, but that's comparing it to a Tessar and it didn't quite have enough contrast. I never had any trouble with the shutter, but I always set the shutter speed before arming the shutter.

The closest feature that the 203 has that makes it comparable to the Super Ikontas is the coupled range finder. I guess Modern Photography forgot about the automatic film winding stop and the jewel-like frame counter on the Super Ikonta B, III and IV. Plus, when holding a Zeiss-Ikon Super Ikonta, the first thing you notice is the density of the camera. They're heavy.

Eric Ladner
03-14-2005, 10:35
Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the welcome, and for the information and suggestions.

The Modern Photography review did say that combining a wind lever with numbers in the red window was a fairly silly thing to do. That was about as close to "criticism" as most camera magazine reviews came in those days.

Your comment about possibly cleaning the shutter myself leads into something I've been thinking about: do you happen to have an opinion on whether this would be an appropriate project for a first attempt at camera repair? It looks good to me since I have so little money invested in the camera, but if it's going to be hopelessly complex or require expensive or specialized tools, it might not be worth it.

Thanks again,
Eric