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Posts Tagged ‘Ziess Super Ikonta

Mt. Baker

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So I ran the test rolls through the Zeiss just a few days before work took me out to the state of Washington. We were filming up on Mt. Baker, which supposedly has some great snowboarding.



The weather was terrible pretty much the entire time we weren’t filming, and most of the time we were filming it was pretty awful, so snow boarding didn’t happen. I kept the Zeiss folded up in my camera bag and if we had a few minutes, I’d just grab a shot from where we were.



Like I said, pretty rough weather. It would snow and sleet at the drop of a hat. Big thick clouds rolled in out of nowhere. And we’re trying to film, so there was a lot of starts and stops. For instance, the weather started coming in here, way off to the south…


And five minutes later…




Normally I’d wander off a little bit while we were on break, but not only did the weather keep us on our toes, but we were actually wearing snow shoes.


So even with snow shoes, wandering too far was pretty hazardous. Our first camera operator, above, fell through the snow up to his hip at one point. It wouldn’t have been so bad except he went through all the way to the lake we were standing on. He spent the next hour or so drying out his boot in the car.


We were honest to God standing above the tree tops at one point. (excuse the phone pics)


I’ve never seen snow that deep and never hope to again. It was just insane.


We knew the weather would be hit or miss while we were there, so my boss planned for a 3 day trip, just to be sure we could get something. We ended up filming the 2nd day and spent the 3rd hiking around where we stayed a bit before heading back to Seattle.




There was a waterfall, so of course I took photos of that.




It was a pretty fun trip, all in all. Except for about 10 minutes when we made it back to the cabin after shooting. I was prepping the cameras for travel and couldn’t find the media cards. I was dead certain all the footage we had was lost in the snow forever up on the mountain. Thankfully, they were indeed in the camera bag. I just gave myself a heart attack for no reason.

Written by ryanstufflebam

July 3, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Super Ikonta Test Run

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Well, on my quest for the perfect travel camera, I ran across an interesting idea while searching forums and eBay. I certainly cannot afford a new high end medium format camera, but I could definitely afford an old folder from the 50s. The only two things I really truly care about are portability and image quality. Medium format folders are probably more portable than a 35mm system. And the lens of the camera I’d been eyeing has a reputation of being legendary.



The Zeiss Super Ikonta 532/16. I was able to find one for cheap because the lens had a good amount of haze, but looking at the photos, I didn’t think it was fungus. But who can tell, so I took a chance and bought it thinking that I might be able to clean the lens myself. I ran a roll through it just to see how bad it was. Dreamy, but obviously problematic. On the plus side, I expected to see big streaks from light leaks in the bellows, but to my surprise and great delight, there are no leaks to speak of.


I took the lens mostly apart, which was an ordeal, and cleaned it as best I could with generic glasses lens cleaner. There’s only one surface with a little haze left, but getting to it would take quite a bit of know how. I’d have to take it all apart, degrease everything, re-oil everything, recalibrate the rangefinder, and I’m nowhere near competent enough yet to do that. But here’s the same photo after cleaning.


The Super Ikonta is kind of a weird camera with a great lens. The lens is really quite sharp, and the out of focus areas render a lot like my father-in-law’s speed graphic from the same era. On the other hand, the viewfinder is terrible. Gets the job done, but incredibly small. Also, it only takes 11 shots per roll instead of the ubiquitous 12 (which you can see on the counter below). It was one of the first automatic frame counters for the format, so I guess the mechanics for 12 just wasn’t there yet or something. For the lens alone, one missing frame is an excellent trade off (particularly for the price).







The camera arrived early enough that I could test it, clean it, test again, and still had a few days before leaving for another work trip. Took a couple rolls out at Mt. Baker in Washington. There’s still a roll of expired Fuji color in the camera with a couple frames left, but haven’t had an excuse to finish it. For next time…

Written by ryanstufflebam

May 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm

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