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A happy Zeiss Ikon story
Old 01-10-2018   #1
jawarden
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A happy Zeiss Ikon story

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:

Dear Jeff,

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.
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Old 01-10-2018   #2
f16sunshine
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Lucky you! Congrats on the new camera
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Old 01-10-2018   #3
Axel100
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What a great story or - more kind of a fairytale!
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Old 01-10-2018   #4
jsrockit
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That's awesome... such a lovely camera that I never had the pleasure of using. I'm sorry it took you 3 years though!
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Old 01-10-2018   #5
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That's awesome... such a lovely camera that I never had the pleasure of using. I'm sorry it took you 3 years though!
Yes, three years and a Leica that I purchased unnecessarily!
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Old 01-10-2018   #6
Colin G.
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What luck! It must feel so good to be reunited with a dream of a camera! It's the only one I regret selling. I think of it often. Cheers to luck and Zeiss Ikons!
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Old 01-10-2018   #7
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Great news. Enjoy your fortune and keep on shooting!

It does make you wonder how effective their "testing" is if a camera that they decided was electronically and mechanically too difficult to fix suddenly returns to life a few years later.
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Old 01-10-2018   #8
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I read your post in the other thread about how you were going to sell The ZI for parts and felt sad....

Very happy to have read this thread. Congrats and enjoy!

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Old 01-10-2018   #9
t.s.k.
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Who doesn't like happy endings?
Do you think I can convince Zeiss to "look" at my broken Nikon scanner?
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Old 01-10-2018   #10
jawarden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
Great news. Enjoy your fortune and keep on shooting!

It does make you wonder how effective their "testing" is if a camera that they decided was electronically and mechanically too difficult to fix suddenly returns to life a few years later.
Hey thanks.

And just to be clear, they never said it was too difficult to fix. They only recommended forgoing repairs because the combination of repairs would exceed the value of the camera, so it made no sense to them to proceed. But they felt bad about the situation which is why they offered me the deal on a demo camera. Obviously they had a change of heart at some point and decided to rehab the camera for free before shipping it back to the states.
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Old 01-10-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawarden View Post
Yes, three years and a Leica that I purchased unnecessarily!
Oh no!
Three years to discover that nothing is like it seems

Rock´n Roll
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Old 01-10-2018   #12
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Oh no!
Three years to discover that nothing is like it seems

Rock´n Roll
Yes. Sometimes the legend turns out to be just another old camera and not your cup of tea.
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Old 01-10-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawarden View Post
.. and so the Ikon body has sat in the box for the past three years. ..
Fast forward to today and I happened to see a post about whether or not Zeiss should reintroduce the Ikon on RFF.
As the creator of that thread, you are welcome.

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Old 01-10-2018   #14
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As the creator of that thread, you are welcome.

I owe you a beer!
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Old 01-10-2018   #15
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That's a happy story. So modest, those Germans.

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Old 01-30-2018   #16
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Holy codweasle. I'm going to check mine tonight because it has suffered the same 'dead as a doornail' symptoms. Mine was bought brand new and only had about 10-15 rolls through it over the years.

Congrats on your newly revived Ikon! Long may it live!
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Old 01-30-2018   #17
Peter Wijninga
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Hollywood should do a movie about it...
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Old 01-30-2018   #18
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Hollywood should do a movie about it...
I'm already pitching the script to Dreamworks. I've suggested Tom Hanks should play Jeff as the crestfallen 'older' guy and Michael Fassbender to be the sympathetic Zeiss tech over in Germany. They've said they're interested but they want me to rewrite the Zeiss part for Charlize Theron and have the two leads meet up and get married at the end.
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Old 01-30-2018   #19
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Well that brightens my day, thanks for sharing.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 01-30-2018   #20
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I have been thinking about getting back into film with a Zeiss Ikon ZM. This is mainly because I bought 3 ZM lenses for my Sony a7 when it first came out.

They are fairly pricy on eBay and I don't want to buy one if they are prone to failure. Is this an unusual occurrence or should I look into another body. The Minolta CLE looks interesting too.
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Old 01-30-2018   #21
Peter Wijninga
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Just remember...the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'. I've had my Zeiss Ikon for many years and it works fine.
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Old 01-30-2018   #22
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They are fairly pricy on eBay and I don't want to buy one if they are prone to failure. Is this an unusual occurrence or should I look into another body. The Minolta CLE looks interesting too.
Zeiss told me they've never seen the particular failure mine experienced before, if that helps. From what I've read here and elsewhere the cameras are well made. I used mine over the weekend and was reminded of why I bought it in the first place. They really are wonderful cameras.
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Old 01-30-2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian_watts View Post
I'm already pitching the script to Dreamworks. I've suggested Tom Hanks should play Jeff as the crestfallen 'older' guy and Michael Fassbender to be the sympathetic Zeiss tech over in Germany. They've said they're interested but they want me to rewrite the Zeiss part for Charlize Theron and have the two leads meet up and get married at the end.
I happen to possess the late career Hanks gravitas, so perhaps I can play myself. You'll have my support recruiting Charlize.
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Old 01-30-2018   #24
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Electronics can be funny things. They can quit for no discernible reason, and start up again for no discernible reason. I hope yours stays working.
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Old 01-30-2018   #25
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"Electronics can be funny things. They can quit for no discernible reason, and start up again for no discernible reason. I hope yours stays working".

That is it in a nutshell. How many of us have seen our computers crap out, only to do nothing more than reboot them and all of a sudden everything works fine. I suspect that all the shipping to and fro jiggled something in the camera, and now it works. For now anyway :]

Sometimes you just have to give these electronic gadgets the good 'ol Fonzerelli chop.
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Old 01-30-2018   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dp13 View Post
I have been thinking about getting back into film with a Zeiss Ikon ZM. This is mainly because I bought 3 ZM lenses for my Sony a7 when it first came out.

They are fairly pricy on eBay and I don't want to buy one if they are prone to failure. Is this an unusual occurrence or should I look into another body. The Minolta CLE looks interesting too.
The ZI is one of the most reliable electronic M mount body you can buy right now - simple (trivial problems could easily be fixed by your local technician), no common known issue, and still repairable by Cosina for another 6 or 7 years.

Still, the same applies to the Bessas. They are not so far off the ZI and even easier to service. So if budget is an issue, go for one and be happy.
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Old 01-30-2018   #27
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duplicated post
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Old 01-30-2018   #28
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Could be that the electronics had got an electromagnetic hazard which put them off. Three years in a wood drawer with no battery in the camera and that unproper electromagnetic field all inside the camera, making a global short-circuitry disabling everything, is gone.
An idea like another.
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Old 02-03-2018   #29
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It just needed a European vacation and a long rest.
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Old 02-03-2018   #30
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Arrrgh - 3 years with the shutter spring wound up!!!
(Queasy and nauseous feelings).

Clearly, the shutter didn't mind it.
When my electronics act up, the first thing I do is attack the battery compartment with De-Oxit. That usually cures the problem for good.

Congratulations on your ZM "Lazarus Edition".
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Old 02-03-2018   #31
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Great story. My ZI has been a reliable travel companion and the VF is just spectacular.
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Old 02-03-2018   #32
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Clearly, your camera missd you...
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Old 02-03-2018   #33
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That is just a wonderful story. I hope you have fired off a nice letter to the folks at Zeiss.

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