What an interesting start to 2018, with a new camera. And there is a story.
In 2010 I purchased a new Zeiss Ikon and ZM lenses to replace my ailing but much loved Contax G2 kit. The Ikon suited me well, with an outstanding viewfinder, manual focus and aperture priority. I used that camera happily for five years before it died. And by death I mean it had no display and wouldn’t work at all.
I sent the camera to Zeiss New York, but after inspecting it they decided to send it to Zeiss Germany, thinking something unusual was wrong. A few weeks later the bad news came from Germany: the camera was a complete loss, with damage to both the main board and mechanical system making it too expensive to repair. I was at a loss because the camera had never been wet, dropped or abused, and was used carefully.
Instead of incurring the expense of repairing the camera Zeiss suggested I purchase a replacement demo Ikon from Zeiss Germany at a discount. The discount price was not attractive to me though so I declined. We exchanged a few polite emails and I talked once again with the representative from Zeiss USA but it seemed nothing could be done so I asked them to send the damaged camera back to the USA so I could sell it for parts and move on.
When I received the defective Ikon a few weeks later there was no note in the box, but it was my camera alright. I put the box away and made a mental note to sell it on eBay. Laziness kept me from doing that, and so the Ikon body has sat in the box for the past three years. Since then I have been using its replacement, a Leica M3, which is a camera I honestly don’t like very much, especially after living with the Ikon.
I communicated with three employees by phone and email at Zeiss throughout this process by the way, and all of them were professional and courteous, and tried to rectify the situation. All this to say there were no hard feelings on my side, but of course disappointment that a camera of this quality and with the Zeiss name on it lasted only five years.
Fast forward to today and I happened to see a post about whether or not Zeiss should reintroduce the Ikon on RFF. I added to the thread and decided to find the camera body to remind myself how nice that viewfinder was. While fiddling with the camera I depressed the shutter release AND IT FIRED
. What the hell? So I half depressed the shutter release and the display turned on! I grabbed a frozen roll of Tri-X and walked around the house shooting, thinking nothing would come of it but ruined film, but here we are. The image below is from today.
So while the camera returned safely from Germany back in 2015 with no note in the box, perhaps there should have been one. Here’s what the note should have said:
We agree with you. This camera shouldn’t have failed so we decided to repair it for you, free of charge. Enjoy.
Also, we love you.
Your friends at Zeiss.
So here I am three years later with a camera that works perfectly, and feels like a new camera too after such a long absence. The Leica goes in the drawer today, not to be seen again until the Zeiss dies of natural causes, which is hopefully never.
And Zeiss, I love you too.