I went to Tokyo recently and had to wait around for a friend. I was early and just happened to be near a camera shop, might as well take a look. They had a basket of folding cameras of various conditions, makes, and formats. I bought two. This one was in better condition and had the famed Zeiss Ikonta name. I had always wanted to try one…even if it was a cheap junk bin one.
They were originally produced between 1929-1938 after which it changed to 521. It is tricky to pinpoint the actual model as there seem to be many variations, but I am sure this is a 520 A, it does say 520 on the body 🙂
The black tape on the back covers the red film number windows. I think this is to stop light leaks on colour film which was not readily available when the camera was in production. Here is a blog with a great review and some technical details that you might not be able to garner from the photos above.
I tried two rolls of film in this camera before writing the blog. The main reason for this is that I mistook the size of the negative. This could be because the last folding camera I tried was the Certix which had massive negatives. So instead of moving the film numbers from one red window to the other, I just focused on one window…and a half of each film was wasted. That did mean I got through the films quicker.
Here is the first film.
Well, a bit fuzzy, but it is a 90-year-old camera. It can take multiple exposures as the shutter is not linked to the winder. I didn’t do that and just tried to get the thing in focus and straight. The one shot of the bollards seems to be where I managed it. You have to guess the distance and set the dial on the lens. The camera was made before lenses were coated to reduce haze, so in a bright light, haze is apparent.
As 120mm film takes 10 days to get back I got bored and shot another roll. This time black and white so I could develop it. Here you can see the negative issue.
And here are the photos from that film.
As you can see I had a bit of trouble holding the camera steady. The 1/100th speed coupled with the position of the shutter release was not easy for me especially when I tried to use the framing mask.
I enjoyed using the camera, but I don’t think I will use it very often due to the trouble I had keeping it steady.
Keep or Sell: I am reluctant to sell it as it is really, really old and works. But I doubt I will use it much. Sell…eventually.
UPDATE: I tried the camera on a monopod with a cable release and the results were much better.