Week Forty Three, Zeiss Ikon, Ikonta 520/2

September 1, 2017

Week 43 Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 520/2

I have done a couple of Zeiss Ikons, even the super Ikonta. But this was picked from a handful of offerings for a reason. I was looking to test and push some of my weaker points as the 52 weeks reach the end and with a 6x9cm format I needed some practice composing the frames.

Jason Avery had set a new camera challenge to capture movement, something in the picture had to be moving, this meant a chance to practice my weakness of working quickly. I wanted to do it with something a little more challenging than some super-fast auto focus SLR. So why the Ikonta? This is a later model 520/2, post 1935 as that is when the option of the Compur-Rapid shutter was available with its top end of 1/400th, it also dropped to 1 second giving an inviting array of options. It also had the legendary Tessar lens on which opened to f4.5 giving me some speed. Lastly the normal sports viewer that opened as two metal frames on top had been replaced with a coated glass contraption with frames lined out on it, this would be invaluable for panning etc. The tiny bright waist viewer with its reversed image would just be too difficult. I will add at this point that this model had the option of 6x6 & 6x9 but the 6x6 mask was missing.

Roll 1 I decided was going to be panning and freezing the subject to use the upper end of the settings, I picked Ilford HP5+, I considered pushing the iso but came to my senses and went with box speed. I jumped on the car ferry to Torpoint Cornwall in the hope of some interesting options. First shot of the ferry’s chain drive was a simple start so I felt good. After that well it was awful! I had picked a day when the world seemed to stand still, I managed a pan shot of a motorbike, the ferries going to and fro and some distant gulls squabbling. Nothing outstanding though, I also managed a couple of riverscapes in which I forgot to adjust focus completely. Next day I took the last 2 frames with more success, the one of the BMX bike is the one that I think I got spot on.

Roll 2 had meant to be the other way around with attention on long exposures showing movement blur on water and such but family priority, read I do as I am told! Resulted in a family day out to the Cornish fishing village of Polruan on the river Fowey, it was sunny and bright so I loaded a roll of FP4+. It is a quiet village with just a café, pub and shop and not as commercial as the usual places around. I left the tribe for an hour on the little beach and explored the cottages on the steep hill side rising from the harbour, they are tightly packed with just a maze of paths winding between the haphazard rows of vastly different heights. At first I struggled to get shots of the views without something encroaching on the shot until I realised that was the character of the place and I should leave them in. I had a wonderful time resting the little Zeiss on wall, steps and rocks so I could use the slower speeds and shut down the aperture. Again for some inexplicable reason I forgot focus a couple of times, something I am usually good at which has annoyed me greatly.

I am both happy with some and disappointed with other, too many mistakes with a lower keeper rate than I would expect. The camera worked well aside from about half a stop of lag on the shutter, nothing I wouldn’t expect from a 70 year old camera. I got some good shots on both rolls but there were too many mistakes so I need to work on my setup when trying to work quickly. I am glad I did it, too often I read or hear peers say they are struggling for inspiration or they are in a rut, Jason’s little challenges and Sunday online chats are an opportunity to try something fresh.

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