Zeiss Ikonta B 520/16 w. 75 mm Novar lens

Discussion in 'Medium and Large Format Cameras' started by Jim, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. Jim

    Jim FF Regular

    60
    Apr 2, 2017
    Newark, DE
    I have a chance to acquire one of these at about $100US. I've heard of the good quality of Zeiss Ikonta cameras. The seller assures me he's run several rolls of film (120?) through it and gotten good results.

    Would you go for this camera? I must note that I already have some medium format cameras, so this acquisition would be purely for the fun of it.
     
  2. ChristoR

    ChristoR New to FF

    4
    Dec 18, 2016
    While it's nice to have a medium format camera that folds up small enough to go in your pocket, I find I rarely use mine (which was inherited from my father). Several usability issues: the viewfinder is poor, with visible distortion and quite faded; the wind-on with red window view to work out when to stop is a pain with my eye-sight, and focusing is tricky, essentially you have to guess the distance and turn the lens appropriately (mine has an uncoupled rangefinder, which is better than guestimating the distance, but is a real PITA anyway). I've also had some problems with the double-exposure interlock preventing me from taking shots.

    But on the other hand, they are SO different, and the results can be quite good.
     
  3. MoonMind

    MoonMind FF Veteran Subscribing Member

    320
    Mar 24, 2015
    Switzerland
    Matt
    While I can sort of relate to the issues that @ChristoR@ChristoR mentioned, I find my Nettars (the "little" brothers of the Ikonta) really nice in use - yes, you have to do it all very thoroughly, slowly and deliberately, but the results with the lowly Novar are surprisingly good. The fold-out viewfinder is no problem whatsoever - I know it from my 515/2 and 516/2, it's "optically" (i.e. to frame with) better than the spy hole variety in my Nettar 518/16 ... The only real issue can be the need to guess the distance - but you can break your eye in (somewhat), and these are documentary tools anyway, not artistic powerhouses.

    What I find a bit on the high side is the price - but if the camera is in nice working and good cosmetical condition, it's probabyl worth it. What I'd check is the shutter, though; if it's the really very frugal Vario or has only three shutter speeds (25/75/200 or 50/100/125), I'd pass, it's really very limiting. The Pronto is usable - 25/50/100/200. My 516 has a Compur - that's a monster, but fiddly to restore if it has issues. The best "cheap" shutter is the Prontor (in any version).

    M.
     
  4. Jim

    Jim FF Regular

    60
    Apr 2, 2017
    Newark, DE
    Thanks very much for your responses. I'll investigate further.....
     
  5. Jim

    Jim FF Regular

    60
    Apr 2, 2017
    Newark, DE
    I found out it has a Compur shutter so that's encouraging. Photos show it is very good condition, cosmetically.