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.