1937 Ikonta A (520) in Yucatan

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by chauncey_walden, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. We were fortunate enough to wrangle a trip to Yucatan last year and visit the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. Inspired by Laura Gilpin's book Temples in Yucatan illustrated with her photos taken in the late 30's and early 40's, I took along my vintage Ikonta A 6x4.5 and dipped into my stash of Verichrome Pan. The Ikonta A 520 came out in 1933 and was replaced after the war by the 521. Mine has a 7cm f/3.5 Tessar (uncoated, of course) in a Compur Rapid shutter and has the 2 red windows with sliding cover for use with the 6x9 numbers on the backing paper. The number is first placed in one window and then the other to split the 6x9 spacing. Focusing is by guesstimation and the distances are in feet. A perfect pocket size and a joy to use. The later 521 is a little bulkier as it adds double exposure prevention, but it has coated lenses and a single red window for the 6x4.5 numbers.
    00Y4TO-323519584.jpg
     
  2. And here is one of the images taken at Chichen Itza in the Court of 1000 Columns.
    00Y4TP-323521584.jpg
     
  3. Fine looking camera. Great shot, Chauncey. Do you have more?
     
  4. That's a lovely little folder, Chauncey, and it appears to be in impeccable condition. How fortunate you are, having a few rolls of Verichrome; the full range of tones in your sample pic is how I remember that great emulsion. That's a very nicely-composed image, with the old Tessar performing well. Thanks for an interesting post.
     
  5. Thanks for sharing that shot and if I find your address I'm coming for the Verichrome! I have the same model only... my red windows are not covered and I have issues with the one window badly leaking light. Your example seems to be in great condition andI find despite its issues a great carry around MF camera!
     
  6. An old Ikonta and Verichrome, I am all overcome with nostalgia! Love the shot of the ruins, looks to be a fascinating place, hope to see some more.
     
  7. Definitely giving the vintage look. Are there any currently available films that have that look to them? I'm looking for one. I have a 1937 Bessa, 6x9 folder. I love it to death!
    Kent in SD
     
  8. I really enjoyed using this camera there even though I did get a few odd looks from folks while I was running around with it. One older German tourist, obviously a connoisseur, got a gleam in his eye and said "good camera". I'm glad I lucked on to it somewhat unexpectedly. We were on a quick trip to California and I was having withdrawal symptoms for not having taken a film camera along. I was in an antique shop in Oceanside and spied it. A purring 1 second exposure and a clear lens was all I needed to force the purchase. I think it was less than $45. I found a camera store in San Diego that actually had some 120 film - Tmax 100 - and I shot it all the way home through Anzo Borrego, Joshua Tree, and Zion. Chuck, it wouldn't be worth the trip for the film - I only have a few rolls of VP left. I sure wish I had stashed away more when it was still available. It was a special film. I never liked Plus-X. Anyway, although I like the above column shot the best, I will try to post a couple more shots if I can get the scanner to cooperate. By the way, the film was developed in PMK and I printed them at 9x12 inches on Kentmere Warmtone FB developed in Ansco 130. My scanner balks a little on the 9x12 but most of the image is there. Kent, I'm not sure there is another film just like it but I might be tempted to try Tri-X.
     
  9. Chauncey,
    Interesting post, picture, and camera. I found some info in one of my old camera catalogs that might be of interest.
    This is from a 1936 Central Camera Catalog. It shows a selection of Zeiss cameras available at the time. I like that they also show the dimensions of the cameras.
    00Y5I7-324345584.jpg
     
  10. This next one shows a selection of films available.
    00Y5IB-324347584.jpg
     
  11. After reading Chauncey's post I was inspired to order an Ikonta A from Jurgen Kreckel. Mine (which I expect to get ina few days) is a late '40s Ikonta 521, with an uncoated Zeiss-Opton Tessar. I needed a small back up camera to my Rolleiflex2.8E for an upcoming trip to the Balkans (mostly in Romania and Bulgaria, with a start in Budapest and finishing in Istanbul). I'm basically interested in B&W landscapes--my wife can take travel photos with her digital P&S. My Rollei was CLAed not too long ago (by Krikor Maralian) and PROBABLY will perform flawlessly, but you never know. I had intended to use my Iskra as a back-up, but I just don't trust it. Everything works as it should, but when Eddie Smolov CLAed it he told me that there was a lot of wear. In any case, the Iskra's double exposure prevention sometimes engages when I do something out of sequence on the Iskra (like try to release an un-cocked shutter) and causes me to loose a frame.
    I don't expect the smaller negative size of the Ikonta A to be a problem. I ALWAYS cropmy 6 X 6 negatives to horizontal or vertical, so, effectively, they too are 6 X 4.5.
    The main difference between Chauncey's pre-war 520 Ikonta and my early post-war 521 seems to be that the latter has double exposure prevention--I hope that doesn't give me any trouble. I also hope that I'll be able to see the light gray numbers on my preferred Ilford FP4 film through the Ikonta's red window.
    I'll update this list after I receive this elegant little camera
     
  12. Robert, I'm sure you will enjoy your 521. I will also be surprised if your Opton Tessar is not coated. I seem to remember there is one trick about the double exposure prevention. IIRC, if you press the shutter release on the body without having actually cocked the shutter, the release will lock. Then you just have to cock the shutter and use the release on the shutter;-) Don't ask me how I know. As for posting some more images, I spent some time in the darkroom yesterday playing with toning on the prints. I had thought that selenium toning the Warmtone paper might cool it off but the opposite happened. It probably won't show in the online image but they are definitely warmer. The first one is the Mercado toned in KRST 1:9.
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  13. The next one is the Temple of Jaguars and Eagles also toned in KRST 1:9.
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  14. And the last is the North Temple of the Great Ballcourt bleached and toned in thiocarbamide.
    00Y5j6-324741584.jpg
     
  15. I suppose a very early post-war Opton Tessar might be uncoated--I'll see when I get the camera. FWIW I did a search of completed auctions on eBay and Kreckel sold a similar Ikonta 521 a little earlier that had a coated Opton Tessar with a red "T" (which I thought was only on Zeiss Jena lenses of the same vintage).
    What warm tone paper did you use. The only one I've had extensive experience with is the late lamented Forte Polywarmtone which warmed up a good deal in KRST, even at a 1:20 dilution. Since the demise of Forte I've been using Foma neutral tone paper (in it's cheaper Freestyle Arista EDU re-labeled version). That paper also warms up nicely in 1:20 KRST and, as a bonus, dries flatter than any other FB paper I've used. I have a show hanging in a local coffee house now, with most prints made on Foma/Arista paper and a few older ones on Forte; I have a hard time telling the two apart when they're hanging next to each other in good light.
     
  16. I suppose a very early post-war Opton Tessar might be uncoated--I'll see when I get the camera. FWIW I did a search of completed auctions on eBay and Kreckel sold a similar Ikonta 521 a little earlier that had a coated Opton Tessar with a red "T" (which I thought was only on Zeiss Jena lenses of the same vintage).
    What warm tone paper did you use? The only one I've had extensive experience with is the late lamented Forte Polywarmtone which warmed up a good deal in KRST, even at a 1:20 dilution. Since the demise of Forte I've been using Foma neutral tone paper (in it's cheaper Freestyle Arista EDU re-labeled version). That paper also warms up nicely in 1:20 KRST and, as a bonus, dries flatter than any other FB paper I've used. I have a show hanging in a local coffee house now, with most prints made on Foma/Arista paper and a few older ones on Forte; I have a hard time telling the two apart when they're hanging next to each other in good light.
     
  17. Unfortunately it appears that Kentmere Fineprint Warmtone VC FB is no longer available. When my 2 rolls are used up, that will be it. My 521 has a red T on its Opton Tessar.
     
  18. I received my Ikonta 521 on Thursday. It does indeed have an uncoated Zeiss-Opton Tessar, so it must be very early post-war production. The camera is in beautiful condition. I've never handled a 6 X 4.5 folder and didn't expect it to be THAT small--just a bit more than half the size of my Iskra!
    I put a roll of film through it this morning, which is drying now, The negatives look good.
     

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