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Category: medium format

Utah National Parks with a Zeiss Ikon 517 and Kodak Ektar

I’ll be writing a full trip report and also sharing some more photos soon. But for now some medium format images from the trusty 6×6 Zeiss Ikon folder.

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon (Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517 + Kodak Ektar + Scanned by Bayeux Imaging)

Bryce Canyon (Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517 + Kodak Ektar + Scanned by Bayeux Imaging)

Delicate Arch (Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517 + Kodak Ektar + Scanned by Bayeux Imaging)

Rock Formations at Arches National Park (Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517 + Kodak Ektar + Scanned by Bayeux Imaging)

Zion Canyon (Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517 + Kodak Ektar + Scanned by Bayeux Imaging)

Snow Canyon (Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517 + Kodak Ektar + Scanned by Bayeux Imaging)

White Rocks at Snow Canyon (Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517 + Kodak Ektar + Scanned by Bayeux Imaging)

Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 520/2 – First Impressions


So I’ve had it in my head that I wanted to try out a 6×9 camera for a while now, and given how much I’ve enjoyed the folding Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517, I set my sights on another folder. I almost pulled the trigger on one at the Vanves flea market when visiting Paris during my last visit, but upon inspecting it I couldn’t quite figure out if I was doing something wrong or the focus was jammed. Probably the latter so I left it where it was, and did something illogical a couple of weeks later by taking a risk by buying one on eBay that looked very old and tattered. It was only 11 quid though, so what the hell, buying an processing the film costs more than that.

The unboxing was an unceremonious affair and a quick inspection shows that the glass was clean, the shuttered fired nicely on all speeds and the bellows didn’t have any obvious holes. I will admit though prior to this it had taken me a good 5 minutes to figure out how to open the case, back and bellows. The bellows seemed to sag a bit and they didn’t fold neatly in one place, but I guessed that wouldn’t affect the image.

As far as I can tell the camera is a Ikonta 520/2 model which puts it at somewhere between 1929-1937, so over 80 years old. It has a Telma shutter with B,25,100 speeds and a 110mm Novar lens and can take 8 photos on normal 120 film. I missed the first frame because for some reason the backing on my Kodak Ektar was unclear where to start as it didn’t show a 1. The viewfinder if the little circular mirror arrangement on the top right of the front bellows. I must admit it took me the first 4 pictures with the camera to actually realise what this was. Then it dawned on me and I felt a bit stupid for not realising sooner. I felt even more stupid shortly thereafter when I realised the focus scale was in metres and not feet (like the Nettar 517). It was also apparent that the field of view for this lens was much wider than I’d anticipated. Ah well, thats why one does a test roll. 

I got the photos back from being developed today and scanned them in with my Epson v500. The pictures were snapped away at my parents farm in Shropshire the weekend before last as if the roll was successful I planned to pack it to take with my to Zion National Park this week. Alas it was not to be. On the back of the camera is the red film counter window. On the Nettar this has a built in metal cover that goes over it, but on this camera it has none. I almost put something over it and it seems I should have from the red light leak you can see from the below. The other small light leak in the corner doesn’t bother me too much, so if the red patch can be fixed with a simple bit of tape then that’ll do! However I’ll try that out at home instead of in the national parks.

Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 520/2 + Kodak Ektar + Epson v500 Scanner (Shropshire, 2017)

Zeiss Ikon Ikona 520/2 + Kodak Ektar + Epson v500 Scanner (Shropshire, 2017)

Glacial Waters

Bronica SQ + 50mm f3.5 + Fuji Velvia 100 (Glacier National Park, USA)

This above is a shot of Iceberg Lake in Glacier National park. Its nearly a 5 mile hike to this spot, but it these crystal clear waters were definitely worth it. I’d debated not bothering to take the Bronica with me and just sticking with my digital Nikon D7100. However stubbornly I took it and put up with the extra weight in my backpack. I find this constantly a tough decision when on hiking trips, as I do really enjoy capturing images like this on medium format, but traveling with a MF body and a couple of lenses along with a DSLR (+ lenses) does sometimes feel like overkill. For my next trip (which is to Zion National Park) I’m going to take one of my Zeiss Ikon folding cameras instead to save on weight. Maybe I should go the opposite way, and just take the Bronica instead!

This was the first roll of medium format slide film I’d used. To be honest I think I would’ve been better off using Ektar instead for its latitude, as I clearly didn’t nail the exposures as well as Velvia would like (an getting a bit of a purple tint that I’ve tried to edit out digitally). That being said I think the way it captures the crystal clear water in the photo above is great and to be honest the time of day these were all shot (mid afternoon) was not really good light to shoot with.

Here are some more shots with the Bronica from the trip (all with velvia 100).

Monument Valley

Bronica SQ + 80mm Zenzanon f2.8 + Kodak Ektar (Utah, 2013)

There was a forest fire nearby providing the mist on the evening I arrived. At first I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to get any good shots, but actually it produced my favourite shot from there. I think it makes the landscape mysterious.

Grand Canyon

Bronica SQA + Zenznon 80mm f2.8 + Kodak Ektar 100 (Arizona, 2013)

Fog in Frisco

Bronica SQA + Zenzanon 50mm PS + Kodak Tmax 100 (San Francisco, 2013)

Budapest Castle

Bronica SQA + Zenzanon 80mm f2.8 + Ilford HP5 Plus (Budapest, 2012)

Bullring

Bronica SQA + Zenzanon 80mm f2.8 + Fuji 400Pro (Birmingham, 2012)

Its not black and white… thats just the sky in the UK…

Lloyds Building

Bronica SQ-A + Zenzanon 80mm f2.8 + Ilford HP5 Plus (City of London, 2012)

Angled

Zeiss Ikon Nettar + Kodak Ektar 100 (London, 2011)

Walking on the side streets near King’s College in London looking up at the architecture around, this building caught my eye. I’ll be honest, this was a shot I thought nothing of at the time but once developed (by myself at my university darkroom) its been one of my favourite architecture photos since. The contrast of how the light is hitting the different sides of the building, and the consistency in the white border, really brings out the sharp angle of the corner.

Looking back at photos from this particular camera, I’m always intrigued by the images it produces. Whats better is the camera is very light and (relatively) small, so is a great choice to carry around the city.

Beware. Horses may kick or bite! Thank you

Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517 + Ilford Delta HP5 Plus + Scanned with Epson v700 (London, 2011)

So this picture is from the first roll of film I ever put in the 60+ year old folding camera I inherited from my great grandma. I was taken aback by just how much character this camera can give to photos. This was my first introduction to medium format, and quickly showed me the benefits of the shallower depth of field (for given aperture).

What I like most about this photo is how serious the guard and horse look with the deadpan sign to the side.

Lake District

Bronica SQ-A + Zenzanon 80mm f2.8 + Fuji Vevlia 100 + Epson v500 Scanner (Cumbria, 2016)

I’d not been to the lake district since a child, so I gathered some mates and drove up there with the aim of climbing Scarfell Pike (Englands highest mountain). The scenery driving into the park was magical, there was dense mist and fog hanging off the hills, with sheep sauntering nonchalantly by the side (and in) the road. As we drove further in, along the side of Wastwater lake, I was stunned by symmetry created by the reflection and the mist.

Whilst I enjoy this picture, it highlights to me again how Velvia is not a forgiving film to use. This image was maybe underexposed by a stop and a third, and thats what adds the purple bias in the colours. I think I made the mistake of metering this photo from my Nikon D7100 in matrix mode, when spot would have been much more appropriate. Will the increasing cost of processing E6 and my lackluster results with slide film to date, this may be the last roll of Velvia I shoot for a while.

Pompidou Piping

Yashicamat 124G + Fuji Reala 100 (Paris, 2017)

Here’s a photo of the day (POTD) to get kick started on this new site. After a bit of a break from film photography, the bug has hit again. I have always wanted a TLR, so recently purchased this camera from eBay for probably too much. This was a highlight from the second roll I put through it, I’ve not really ever liked the colours of the now discontinued Reala film, but I had a roll left in the freezer to use up, and I quite like how the colour came out. As for the TLR, maybe it’ll take time to get used to. After two rolls through it I was missing using my Bronica SQ-A. Time will tell.

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