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  • Writer's pictureThe Obsolete Man

Ikonta's are cool

If you shoot with modern digital cameras, using an Ikonta for the first time could be challenging and exciting at the same.

With Ikonta's, you need to follow some steps before every shot. When using a small Ikonta which makes 4.5x6 frames, I suggest you to held your camera with your left hand grabbing the lens bed with your thumb, index and middle fingers, placing the thumb on the bottom. Place the palm of your right hand on the right side of the camera body (don’t held it by the bellows!), then bring it to your face, look through your viewfinder and frame the subject. Then, you need to focus looking through the small round sight of the range finder. You will see a yellow circle in the middle with two overlapping images, move the focusing wheel with your right middle finger until both images match. Now set the aperture and shutter speed according to the reading of your external light meter or to your accurate guess. Advance the film, cock the shutter, return the camera to your face, frame again and shoot.


It is your choice to advance the film before or after shooting. If you are using a 530 model series that doesn’t have double exposure prevention system you need to be sure that you are always shooting on an unexposed section of the film. I suggest you to wind just before shooting, this way you will keep the film tight and perfectly flat and you will avoid accidental double exposures. It may happen that you advance the film but finally you decide not to shoot. You may waste a frame if you wind the film again before firing, but you will avoid shooting on an already used frame. On the contrary, if you want to keep your camera ready for shooting at any moment you may prefer to advance the film just after every shot. Neither option is better than the other, but if you stick to one of them you will avoid unwanted double exposures.



Well-adjusted Super Ikonta’s rangefinders are incredibly accurate allowing you to focus at short distances with a shallow deep of field. These are the typical situations when the rangefinder is useful. If you normally take photos of landscapes the distance scale of your lens will be probably enough for you, particularly if you use high speed film.


I assume that your Ikonta works perfectly well but it may not. Virtually every camera which lied forgotten in a dusty nook for many

years needs to be overhauled. A sluggish and slow shutter can be fixed easily by a technician, but other faults require deep specialised knowledge and skills. In a perfect world every issue should be fixed but some faults don’t make the camera unusable. In some Super Ikontas the yellow spot of the rangefinder lacks contrast and you need to make an extra effort to focus. Some view finders are cloudy, particularly the albada finders from the 531 series. When you deal with a 90 years old device you can expect some issues, but you will get used to live with them. Perfection doesn’t exist but your Ikonta will outlast you!


Do you shoot with an old Ikonta? Please, tell us your experience!









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