© 2018 by The Obsolete Camera

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Zeiss Super Ikonta 530/1

In 1935 Karl Zeiss introduced the Super Ikonta 530/1, a superb quality folding camera with a very accurate rangefinder and a Tessar lens, which produces very sharp images, particularly from f8 onward. When folded is very compact and fits well on your coat pocket, but the safest way to carry it is hanging from your neck in its original leather case. Folding cameras, after a long using period, often present body deformations that entail the loss of perpendicularity between the lens axis and the focus plane. In addition, the bellows usually presents light leaks that make the camera useless. In spite of being more than 80 years old Ikontas bellows usually are still in very good condition, their bodies are strong enough to hold everything in position and their rangefinders use to be very accurate. The 530/1 is also pioneering in making 16 half frame shots on a roll film instead of 8, like the 530/2. By then the roll film frames were numbered on the back paper only from 1 to 8 so the small Ikonta was built with two red windows on its back in order to see each number in two different positions.

Karl Zeiss did outstanding cameras, but this doesn't mean that the old Ikontas you can find nowadays are always well preserved enough to be usable. Any machine needs maintenance, periodic cleaning, oiling and a must be treated with care, when any of this elements fails the camera is in danger. My Ikonta haven't been used and looked after for many decades and when it arrived to my home it was really dirty, the shutter didn't work and the view finder was almost opaque. 

Obviously I needed to take apart everything for a deep cleaning, including the shutter blades, that were very sticky. After adjusting the shutter speeds the camera performs really well until now. I will publish a detailed blog post in the future about its restoration. 

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