CLA'd Super Ikonta - focus wheel a bit stiff

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by micahdavison, Feb 13, 2021.

  1. I have a question about the focus smoothness (or lack thereof) on my pre-war 6x9 Super Ikonta. I purchased it from Certo6 via eBay last month. Everything seems to be in great working order, except for the focus wheel. It does turn, and it is actually smooth at the near and far ends of the focusing range. However, the middle ~ 30% of the focusing range is somewhat stiff. If I had gotten this in as-is condition, I would probably not even be worrying about it (at least, not until/unless it got much worse). However, I paid a CLA price for this thing, not an as-is price. Is it asking too much for the focus wheel to be perfectly smooth? I'm interested to hear the thoughts of those on this forum with much more knowledge/experience with these old rangefinders than I have.

  2. Welcome to Well, you don't seem to be happy with it. Why not contact Certo6 and tell him? I believe his work has a pretty good reputation although I've no personal experience.
  3. Thanks, John. I'm only mildly unhappy with it, ha ha. I probably will contact him, but I wanted to reach out here first to hear others' opinions on whether I'm expecting too much with this 85-year-old camera, even if it has been serviced.
  4. Perhaps other members will come in with their opinions but it's difficult to make a judgement without actually trying it out. Uneven focusing does rather spoil the enjoyment of using a camera, even if it still works. I've had a smaller version Super Ikonta, also two USSR made Moskva folders which are partly copies of the 6X9 version. I don't recall any of them having noticeably stiff focusing, indeed the last Moskva I had was surprisingly loose.
  5. Well, old cameras do get stiff. Sometimes things like the wheel can "re-freeze" even after treatment. Try exercising it a bit, and it may come back temporarily. I would, however, contact the vendor. I wouldn't try anything "invasive" before doing that.
  6. Over the weekend, I contacted Jurgen from Certo6 about the focus wheel. He remembered having worked on my particular camera, and he said that he got it as smooth as he could. I suppose I could ask that he exchange it for a similar one once he gets one. He has a "reasonable request" sort of guarantee that I think would cover that. I don't think I will, though. It's just not a big enough deal to put either of us through that hassle.

    Thanks all for your input.
    John Seaman likes this.
  7. When new and untouched, these Super Ikontas have smooth focus action. The knurled wheel performs well getting focusing done quickly and effortlessly. Once the helicoid is damaged the knurled knob becomes a finger irritating sawblade. I certainly am not casting any doubt on what your seller/technician said. As he indicated, it probably came to him in that condition and he worked it as best he can. What causes this is when a bonehead damages some of the helicoid threads when they reinstall the lens in its holder. With patience and the right tools, you can reshape the threads and get it to work much more smoothly. Also, if the lens has not been installed in absolutely the correct set of threads, you will get stiff action as well as incorrect infinity focus. Use of Henry Scherer's special Zeiss lube is absolutely going to make it worse. You need a very thin synthetic lube once the helicoid starts showing symptoms such as what you are seeing.
  8. I have a Super Ikonta A, and although the focus wheel works fine from stop to stop, it is indeed a little on the stiff side. It doesn't really affect the camera's overall operation, so I've just learned to live with it as I don't feel it's so bad to make it worth the time and expense to get it fixed.

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