Tuesday, November 19, 2013

October's Skeletons From The Closet Results - Zeiss Ikonta 521/2 6X9 Medium Format Folder

In October, my chosen camera for the SFTC series was a newly-refurbished Zeiss 521/2 folder, which shoots 6x9 images on 120 medium format film.
 
(Click Here) to read a little about the camera.
 
Even though it was autumn, perfect time to get out and shoot some landscapes with the nice big 6x9 format, I was pretty busy during October, and only really got out once with this camera. Here are five selected shots out of a total of sixteen (two rolls of Kodak Porta color negative film) I shot.
Early Reds, by Reed A. George
Zeiss Ikonta 521/2 Medium Format Folding Camera
 
Korean Bell Garden, by Reed A. George
Zeiss Ikonta 521/2 Medium Format Folding Camera

The Korean Bell Garden is at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. It's a lovely place to walk, photograph, and picnic. The two shots below are of cypress trees in the native Virginia swamp area.
Cypress, by Reed A. George
Zeiss Ikonta 521/2 Medium Format Folding Camera

Cypress, by Reed A. George
Zeiss Ikonta 521/2 Medium Format Folding Camera
 
Golds Against a Blue Sky, by Reed A. George
Zeiss Ikonta 521/2 Medium Format Folding Camera

This camera does a decent job, but it's not nearly as nice as my other 6x9 folder, the Agfa Record III. This is for several reasons. First, the lens is not of the same quality. The Zeiss has a Novar, which was the entry level lens, well below the venerable Tessar that was also available on this camera, whereas the Agfa has a gorgeous Solinar; both are 105mm f4.5 lenses but the Solinar is much sharper. Next, the Agfa has a real viewfinder, where the Zeiss has a simple metal frame that you look through. The Agfa has a rangefinder, and while it's uncoupled, meaning that you have to transfer the measured distance from the rangefinder to the lens focus ring, the Zeiss has no such rangefinder at all. Worse yet, you can't even mount an accessory finder on the Zeiss Ikonta, as there's no accessory shoe. Same goes for an accessory exposure meter, like my CV Meter II, an excellent companion to vintage manual cameras.

So, while I'm not unhappy with the Ikonta, I can clearly say that I prefer the Agfa Record III as a 6x9 folding shooter's camera. That said, it was fun to shoot the Ikonta, and if you have all the time in the world to set it up on a tripod, take a rangefinder and exposure meter out of your bag or pocket, and carefully set up the camera, it's capable of making some very nice images.

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