1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

If all is fine...

Discussion in 'Film Forum' started by italy74, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. ...this afternoon I'll go to a city near Parma to "envision" and handle a Zeiss Ikon and some ZF lenses with a friend.. Nothing to buy...for now! :tongue:
  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Uh, yeah. Just be sure to take your credit card Dino!
  3. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    why Zeiss over Leica?
  4. Hi

    I find the Ikon a better camera compared to the M7 ..and costs way less.. Plus there's a combo really driving me crazy, with the 35 F/2...
    But it's also an opportunity to couple ZF lenses on my Nikon bodies.. let's see..

    I always have my credit card but I guess if I'd ever buy a such expensive gear someone would block immediately my card... I'm used to use it for small purchases on trusted photographic shops (rolls, mainly)

    p.s. Chris, among the ones I saw, this is definitely the most pleasant avatar you have ever used, although not the most original. You look like the ranger Kit Carson in our famous comics Tex Willer
  5. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Thanks D! But of course, the real Kit Carson was nowhere as good looking. :Wink:

    I dunno about the Ikon being a better camera than the M7 - compare it to the MP. Or even the M4-P, which I have. The mechanism just seems so much more solid in the Leica. I like the Zeiss, but it feels ... tenuous. And the sound. Oh, man! shhk vs klick-shaahh
  6. Hi Chris...
    wow, you're still up? What time is there? 2 am ?
    Ikon is better than M7 for viewfinder (larger) and sync flash (1/125 vs 1/50), mainly.. but also for the price (1/2 or so, here)
    But I have to say that on paper I like more also the lining / design than the Leica, "too" german
  7. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    It's 1:30, not quite bedtime for me. :Wink:

    I think it is mostly the sparseness - (The German thing) about the Leica that I like so much about it. I have used a few other rangefinders, an Olympus, and an older Argus and a Kodak (as well as a Mamiya six, but that wasn't mine.) The Leica is the first one that I liked as much as an slr.

    But of course, the best use of an slr is very different than that of a rangefinder. The Ikon is a very nice camera. If I had one, I am sure that I could make good use of it.
  8. Hey, everyone knows the best industrial design comes out of Italy - the red splash on Nikon bodies quickly comes to mind!:biggrin: The title of this thread implies to me that you really want to buy that Zeiss!
  9. Hi Ray,
    well you won the rush, I was just opening the reply..

    so, I'm here and this is what I could find out.

    Overall, the classic "coup de foudre", or "spark" there hasn't been, I mean that kind of feeling that makes you able to forget every cons you find, but I have also to explain what happened.

    Today was a wonderful day to go out and stroll, both for weather, lighting and sun. Modena was FULL of handsome girls strolling down the historical center. But this comes after, you know!

    When I arrived to the photo center, the man showed me the Ikon and the 35 mm and boy, I would have purchased it immediately ! What a beautifully crafted camera it is! And the 35 mm was really a joy to handle. silvered metal... Handling it, I discovered two important things:
    1) The viewfinder is effectively large and bright as you couldn't imagine and the lens I immediately saw on it was exactly the 35 mm. I looked also, by turning the front lever, the 28 and the 50 mm but with the 28 I lost all the space around the lines (keep in mind I wear glasses, so frame lines looked REALLY close to the side of the frame) while the 35mm fit my taste much better. So, if I'd ever take one, I know which lens I have to choose.

    2) Focusing patch. Well.. Aside the different way compared to my F6 where there are also microprisms, split lines etc, it was a bit cumbersome for me matching the two images, because the patch looked quite little (and this is only the beginning) and rather (see later) more transparent that I would have expected.
    The other "cons" I found (comparing it with my SLR way to shoot) was the fact that if I want to focus on a certain point which is not the center, I'm forced to focus in the middle and then recompose, which means losing time. This, again, will be discussed later.
    On the positive side, the Zeiss ZM 35 mm was really a joy to focus, nothing to complain, here.
    If you allow me such comparison, it looks like a metal brick, much sturdier and solid looking even than my F6, and heavier than expected.

    So here we comes, when I asked the man if i could borrow for the afternoon, he denied, but I expected this answer. Of course, serious collectors would have checked such Ikon thouroughsly if they want to get one, and much deeper than me that - I told him at once - I just wanted to see how rf cameras were and if rangefinder could fit my shooting style. However, he was kind and borrowed me a Hexar RF with (!) a Summicron 35 F/2, extremely compact, much more than the Zeiss counterpart. I thanked him more for the lens than for the camera which however was quite easy to use.
    Due to the beautiful weather, I "risked" and loaded a Velvia 50 roll to scrutinize it deeply under the lens, after.

    So with my friend Giorgio we started strolling along the historical center of Modena and now and then I stopped and shot.
    What I noticed again, from the beginning, were two things:
    1) the Leica lens, despite excellent optically and with a great build, was SO compact that turning the small focusing ring (encased between two larger rings) was not so good as Zeiss, and this despite the finger tool Leica put on it. I would have preferred to grab it more securely on two points on the dial than just using the fingertip.
    2) Again, the focus and recompose thing. If you're used to SLR which can focus on different points, it's really slowing down things, especially if you have also to mind about frame lines. Probably, with the Zeiss lens, I'd have gained half second for each shot, but it's just speculation.

    This is also important because if on one hand I felt to be for sure more "stealthy" at once, on the other and, I lost too much time before shooting and this is not good because you lose your camouflage just after a few seconds you're standing in front of people. Using the 28 mm (assumed he had one) would have put me in a SLR-like environment, but I was there to test the RF one (with space outside the framelines)

    I have to add that Hexar had a larger and more contrasty focusing patch, but it was probably misaligned since some lines didn't match at infinity.

    However, we visited the Dome, had an ice cream and strolled again... It was a long time I didn't see so many beautiful girls all together... Modena wasn't loved by Goethe for nothing, I'd say!

    When we came back to the shop, it was quite unfortunate I hadn't enough time to borrow also a ZF lens and "redo" the trip with my F6 which remained in the shop as "guarantee deposit" while the Hexar was out.

    Bottom line, kudos to Zeiss for the build quality of their lenses. Actually, I have to think quite a lot about getting one, but at least know I discovered which its (or mine) limits were.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2008
  10. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    Very interesting post, italy74! I've used a lot of rangefinders and like the Bessas, but never tried the Zeiss Ikon. It certainly looks interesting, and is lighter than the Leica, so if you think it's heavy then wait till you handle the Leica. The Hexar... it's not fully compatible with Leica lenses because there is like a 0.1mm difference in flange distance. For short focal lengths, like under 35mm, the rangefinders have better focus accuracy than SLRs, but you don't get to see what you're getting, so I still prefer the SLR viewfinder for fast lenses and narrow DoF.
  11. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005

    (Do it.)
  12. Dino, when you first get a rangefinder it just takes some getting used to. Actually with a 35mm lens, outdoors just use zone or hyperfocal focusing. Then you just compose and shoot. Here's a friend of mine taking a pic of me with his Titanium Leica. There weren't too many of these made!


    I took this with my OM 2 which is my camera of choice - small as a rangefinder.

    PS - how do you think the sunlit portion of his shirt would look shot with digital?
  13. Guys,
    it's morning here and you already made my day!
    Chris, I started laughing so loudly at your written whisper that my wife thought quite bad of me but she told me that I have to forget such camera !!! Ray, Yes, in fact, hyperfocal or zone focusing it was something I did yesterday but as explained, handling such little Leica lens took its time, especially when something (better: someONE interesting) came out from a closer corner... Really, that finger tool was quite awkward to use, I found the larger milled ring of the Zeiss lens much easier and accurate for focusing.
    Besides, I understand what you mean about digital (I guess the shirt would be completely white)
    Cotdt, well, Ikon was NOT "heavy" in itself, but "heavier than expected" and here I think it was because of the "solid metal brick" effect I wrote of above.

    (btw, Chris, don't worry.... sooner or later... I'll get one!) :biggrin:
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2008
  14. Dino,

    I can sympathise fully. I bought a Bessa R2 with 3 lenses about 2 years ago, thinking that a rangefinder was the 'perfect' camera. I ended up hating the Bessa, rangefinder alignment trouble, felt cheap and nasty in the hand compared to my Nikon F, disliked the focusing patch, etc and etc. You can read about it here and at RFF.

    So I put the Bessa kit on the shelf and attempted to sell it a few times, but never could bring myself to part with it.

    But something changed recently, not sure what. But suddenly the Bessa is my camera of choice, to the tune of 9 rolls in the last 5 days. Weird...

    Do not feel bad if a rangefinder does not work for you, sometimes your style of shooting or something has to change in your life to make you think and operate differently. Who knows? If a Nikon F6 is your preferred camera, used without guilt. As Ray, mentioned earlier, he prefers an OM1 and he owned a Bessa at one time.

    If you are thinking along the line of trying a rangefinder, I would recommend finding a Minolta Hi-Matic series. I own a Hi-Matic E and it is a wonderful little rangefinder. The optics are among the best out there, good rangefinder patch and cheap, like $25 to $50. This would let you 'play' with a rangefinder without getting you in trouble with your wife!
  15. Hi P(aul? Pierre? Peter?)
    you know, this is one of the nicest sides of internet, it's so nice having a worldwide community where everyone can share or join another story. Thank you all.
    About RF, the truth is that I STILL have to learn which is MY way of shooting. To learn, I have to try first. So, I'm trying to find out if the compactness, stealthiness and the optical excellence of a RF can help me as much as my F6 or more. No prejudices here.
    I just have to "arrange", to "fine tune" my way to see pictures through a VF and I won't stop for sure. Rather, but I think here is a bit of "fetishism", I'm more prone to save for an Ikon than for anything else (except a Nikon, of course, which looks ready to be revealed soon). However, fortunately there is no rush so I can wait and "feed" my little lust :) 
  16. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    One person can (and usually does) embody more than one way of shooting. Rangefinder cameras are the ultimate action camera. You can see what is going on immediately outside the frame, and seeing the scene exactly at the moment of exposure. The shutter is immedaite and whisper quiet. On the other hand, SLR framing is much more precise due to the elimination of parallax, especially up close. That is why most RF lenses do not focus much closer than a few feet. Telephoto lenses work better on an SLR because the viewfinder is magnified. A 135mm rangefinder lens is actually pushing it (the frame lines get pretty small!)

    By using each type of camera in the situation it is best at, you can maintain your 'way of shooting', while using different cameras for the best advantage. If you would like to read about the philosophy of rangefinder photography, check out Ralph Gibson's Refractions.
  17. To build on what Chris wrote, I read recently about building a portfolio of cameras. A collection of cameras built around each camera having a purpose instead of building a collection around a brand or type. And interestingly this is what has happened to me recently.

    For over 20 years, I was a committed Nikon user. I fumbled when any other camera was in my hands, so I steadfastly refused to 'really' consider using any camera except my Nikon F.

    But a few months back, the medium format bug bit again, and I bought a Norita 66. This camera completely changed my shooting habits, it focused the 'wrong way, the aperture ring was in front of the focusing ring, it had no meter, etc and etc, but the results were so outstanding that I used the Norita till it became instinctive. And this was the beginning of a 'sea-change' in my shooting style and habits.

    While I still use my Nikon's and Nikkors, I now also use a Pentax system, the Norita system, and now the Bessa. The big revelation is that I no longer think 'Nikon', but think which camera will do the best job, sometimes it is the Norita 66, sometimes the Nikon's, sometimes the Bessa. Whichever camera or lens is best suited for the situation at hand is what goes in my bag.

    That is my 'way of shooting'...
  18. Hi guys
    I already wanted to reply this morning but I really couldn't.
    I see your comments about "way of shooting" and I expressed myself badly earlier. Of course I think to know which kind of camera for what, but what I mean is that I have to see how, on the field, is another (different) way to conceive photography. One thing is debating of a rf on the paper, another one is just using it. Since I never had any experience with a rf camera, I needed to approach one to see how it works practically. So, once gone beyond my actual limits, I'll be able to appreciate it even more.
    Besides, since I'm really "fussy" about the Ikon (as someone else could be with a certain car or camcorder or stereo), I'll wait and see if something interesting comes out between Photokina and PMA, otherwise I'll get it.
    Thank you all for your constructive comments.
  19. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Oh I agree about the way of shooting being influenced by the camera, but just that style is more influenced by personality than gear. On the other hand, like Lynn, I have a plethora of cameras, all different, and each is best for one certain kind of photography. But, as my month with the rangefinder and one lens only just demonstrated to me, any camera can be pressed to do whatever you want. So it comes down to how does the photographer/camera interaction work that determines which camera is favorite.

    (ps, I am carrying 2 cameras today, each with only one lens. That has become my style lately - I do not carry extra lenses any more, just extra cameras! :eek: :eek:  )

    Like that newly rumored, retro Ikon folder? :biggrin: )
  20. Interesting discussion and great commentary Lynn. I agree whole heartedly. I am thinking much more purposefully every morning about what I want to shoot and what equipment I will take that day.
    But, I also really think Chris has made a fine statement with his July Challenge participation. The range of subject matter that was handled with skill with one camera/one lens over a month was quite inspiring. Seeing that helped me know that I don't HAVE to fill the closet with every camera/lens known to man (but I will....:biggrin:) .
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.