Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518/16

This camera was a present from a friend. I have only used one Zeiss camera before, the 520 from around 1930. For that one, I had to use a tripod and a cable release to get a sharp image. That was three years ago, do I have a steadier hand now??

This version of the Nettar was produced from 1949 so it is over a decade after the 520. There are many versions of this line of cameras, you can read more about them here. It has a top speed of 1/200th so this time I should be able to get a very steady shot without a tripod. Actually, the speed choices are a bit odd, with ranges of B, 1/25th, 1/75th, then 1/200th. It uses a guess the distance type focusing as there is no rangefinder. I decided to put a rangefinder on mine using the cold shoe. It made it a bit bulky and meant I couldn’t use the case, and that also meant I couldn’t use the strap. The body has no strap lugs and relies on the case for its strap. Once the camera is out of the case and the lens retracted the camera is small enough to fit in a coat pocket or men’s trouser pockets, of course not women’s pockets as they are ridiculously small.

The actual camera feels very sturdy and my example seemed to be in great condition, including the bellows. It has a double exposure protection mechanism, there is even a red flag that appears in the viewfinder to warn you the shutter has been released. The flag goes away once the film is wound on. Interestingly you can override this mechanism by attaching a cable release to the socket on the side of the lens. My example still has the small screw that protects the socket from dirt getting inside.

The one thing I did make a note of is that the film winder is on the left side of the camera instead of the right where I usually find them.

I loaded mine with an expired Orwo 100 which I got in a job lot of expired 120 films. I took it on walks in the Lake District and Norfolk. I found the camera easy and comfortable to use. Once the film had finished I immediately reloaded it with an expired Delta 100 from the same lot.

Here are some of the results from the Orwo 100 developed in Rodinal.

And here are some of the results from the Delta 100 which I developed in Pyro 531, shot around a local nature reserve.

This second roll shows evidence that my fix has become exhausted, I have since made a new batch. As far as the camera is concerned, I like it. I like how light it is compared to some of my other medium format cameras, I like that it was a present. I like how it looks.

I have a similar looking camera that is slightly faster and has a slightly wider aperture, the perkeo. I am not sure which one I prefer, but I love that I have a choice. I really like how portable this camera is, I can hike with it up a mountain/hill and it doesn’t break my back. I can see myself using this again.

Thank you for my present, and it wasn’t even Christmas.

8 thoughts on “Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518/16

  1. Toby says:

    A camera such as this deserves to be used, glad you like it. It appears quite sharp, think I prefer the Delta photos, but it might just be you had better light that day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy says:

      I think you mean the Orwo, in Norfolk. And in that case me too, the fix issue didn’t help the other film. I could refix it, but there wasn’t anything on there I couldn’t take again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Toby says:

    Yes you’re right I got the film brands back to front. I remember when I got it, the bellows seemed really dry. Not wanting them to split I “fed” it a daily dose of cream shoe leather restorer. Can’t recall where I read about trying that, but am glad it appears to have worked….no leaks! Or at least not done any damage.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. adventurepdx says:

    I just got rid of an Agfa Isolette that’s pretty similar to this Zeiss. It also had the 25/75/200 speeds, and I found that anything shot at 25 would be blurry, no matter what. I liked the look of the camera but I didn’t get along with it, so off it went.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy says:

      I found the same with the first one I tried. I ended up using a monopod and cable release. Now I am ok with it. I think using a few brownies helped my steady hand.

      Liked by 1 person

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