The Zeiss Ikon Nettar - the only camera I own that made me smile the first time I used it

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by kdghantous, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. What's cheaper than a Holga yet is probably better built and gives results that would not be shamed by professional equipment? Old folding cameras, that's what. And so I introduce to you the Zeiss Ikon Nettar.

    We are in love. Or, rather, I am in love with it. And I get the feeling that I'll have a few mistresses along the way. My neighbour wants me to sell her late husband's camera stuff and this was in that lot (along with a Rollei 110!). I didn't think too much of it initially, but I thought that as it was such a sunny day I'd put a roll in it and just take a few snaps out on the street.

    I had some 120 film that I had bought for my recently acquired Pentax 645 kit (which I haven't yet used). I put in a roll of Ektacolor 160 and took some photos on the street and then in my backyard. During this process something magical happened. I'm sure you all know the feeling. This thing made me smile. And so I put in a second roll and went out for a walk for about an hour. Below are just a few of the successful frames. Overall I found that I liked 9 out of a total of 24. They're now in my gallery.

    When I was young and very inexperienced I used to feel sorry for people who didn't have access to multiple options - a tonne of lenses, super-wide apertures, flashguns, filters etc. Well of course as your grow wiser you gradually realize what is useful and what is frippery. Of course this camera is limited with its slow operation and fixed lens, a 75/6.3. And I think that a better idea for a standard lens might be a 28mm equivalent, not a 50mm. However, you could argue that the choice is arbitrary. So I was happy to let the good people at Zeiss make the choice for me.

    I developed a standard way of using it so that I'd know exactly where I was: after the first photo, I wind the film to the next exposure. And I don't cock the shutter until I'm ready to take the next photo. Initially I made a few mistakes, like forgetting to wind the film between exposures. But, hey, that's what practice is for.

    My light meter was an iPhone app. If I didn't have that, I would have just used a look-up table and erred on the side of overexposure. I rated the film at 125 to be on the safe side. I would not be confident using slide film in this camera without an accurate light meter.

    Someone from the lab called to let me know when my film was ready and she said that they came out really well, as most of the 120 film they develop exhibits weird colours. I said that was probably Holga/Diana users with their expired film. But she asked me what filter I used! Eh, what? She asked me what filter I used. Well, that did put a smile on my face. Just the lens, nothing else. Not even a UV filter.

    The scans are actually not that good, and I'll have to take up that issue with them. But what is not their fault is the light leaks. I don't think it's the camera, but instead the way I loaded the film. Perhaps I did not wind it tightly enough around the take-up spool?

    It seems that Ektacolor 160 is a decent film as long as it's exposed correctly. I have not yet tried underexposing it. I'm keeping my Portra 400 for special occasions. I'll order more film anyway. One thing that I found: Fuji Pro 400H is as cheap as Ektacolor but is at least a third of a stop faster when rated at EI 200 (recommended by a PN user). I might do that. Of course I'll try b&w as well.

    Eventually I will use this camera - or one like it - on assignment. It is not good having good equipment as a mere toy. The Nettar, for me, combines two ideals: a sense of fun and professional results. I have to sort out the light leak issue first, though. Eventually I'll be buying a few more cameras like this, and I'm also keen on the Fuji GWs.

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  2. The lens is a Novar-Anastigmat 75/6.3. I don't think that it's coated. It gives nice images, though.
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  3. This is my favourite shot from the set. I love these junction boxes. The older, the better. There is something mysterious about them.
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  4. Contre-jour, s'il vous plait. Check out that flare!
    00aboS-481885584.jpeg
     
  5. Blue, blue sky and some trees. Beautiful winter's day.
    00aboT-481887584.jpeg
     
  6. I just loved this house number sign for some reason. Note the light leak.
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  7. My 'first' camera was also a Nettar. Albeit an older model. I was quite happy with the first results. If they had been cr@p I would never have continued with manual classic cameras at all.
    This picture to be exact:
    [​IMG]
    Nice shots Karim, I especially like your shot of the sign!
    Contre-jour I'm not such a fan of, but the flare definitely adds something interesting to to your photo.
     
  8. Does the iPhone light meter app also have an "autofocus rangefinder"? You did good on focus.
    I have a lot of 120 and 620 folders, and love them dearly -- at least the ones that focus correctly and are still square. Particularly beloved are the No. 1 Autographic Kodak Special Model B and the later No. 1 Pocket Kodak Special, which both have fine lenses and shutters, and are very compact. The most razor-sharp is the Kodak Monitor Six-20 with the Anastigmat Special lens, but it is big and heavy. The Monitor has the advantage of a folding Galilean finder, or course.
    Ektacolor 160 is just a different marketing name used in parts of Europe for Portra 160, it's darned fine film. (I suppose in many languages Portra doesn't have the same allusions as in English.)
     
  9. Nice work. Thanks.
     
  10. Just to say - I'm really enjoying this thread.
     
  11. Interesting results. I've got both 6x6 and 6x9 models, I'm ashamed to say I haven't got around to putting films through them yet. Thanks for posting.
     
  12. The Zeiss Nettar series of cameras are overlooked gems. Their Novar lenses are not was well regarded as the optics on the more expensive Zeiss lensed folders. However I have gotten excellent results. I liked my first Nettar so much I bought a second, and third one! I have the 6x9, but the 6x6 format remains my favorite. They are indeed bargains for camera enthusiasts. I wonder if the lab clerk was asking what PHOTOSHOP filter you used! Cool shots and keep posting.
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  13. Great post, Karim, showering some well-deserved praise on the Nettar. That Nova lens certainly doesn't lack sharpness. Interesting that you're into junction boxes; my thing is transformers, but we're obviously in the same field. Nice pic, Russ; the young lady's very direct gaze brings a sort of 3D quality to the image.
     
  14. Nice shots, especially liked the lens flare. I have and old Agfa Ventura 66 which is similar
    to yours and I know what you mean when you say it is pleasing to use. Great fun.
    Did you check the bellows for pin holes. Usually Zeiss Ikon bellows don't have that problem
    but you never know.
     
  15. Hey, that's a mega cool flare shot, Karim, regardless of the camera. Although I'm not a folder fan, I have to admire the simplicity and clean lines of yours.
     
  16. Nettars are great. And the triplet Novar is the most underrated lens in the world, followed closely by the Agfa Apotar.
     
  17. I bought a throwaway sort of Nettar for very little in early February 2011. It had a 6.3 lens, internal fungus and a dodgy shutter release. After a little bit of cleaning it was taken out loaded with Astia. I was astounded by the results. I soon acquired a Ikonta and have used it to heart's content since then! I have just ordered another Nettar 6x9 523/2. This has a Novar lens and hopefully, I shall get to play with it by the end of the week.
     
  18. Nice post, like the display of that super flare quite a bit. The camera looks quite clean as well.
     
  19. Thanks for all your comments!
    You did good on focus.​
    Thanks. But you just have to be careful. You can't just guess in a fraction of a second. Guessing distance is kind of fun as long as you aren't in a hurry!
    Ektacolor 160 is just a different marketing name used in parts of Europe for Portra 160​
    I'll be damned.
    I wonder if the lab clerk was asking what PHOTOSHOP filter you used​
    No, because that lab developed my negs as well as scanning them. Personally I find software filters to be obnoxious. People really do have a lot of time to waste, it seems. BTW your subject is rather cute. :)
    Did you check the bellows for pin holes​
    I'll check.
    And the triplet Novar is the most underrated lens in the world, followed closely by the Agfa Apotar.​
    They're probably worth adapting for 35mm/DSLR/mirrorless. ;-)
    I have just ordered another Nettar 6x9 523/2​
    Now that is what I call a big negative.
     
  20. The flare on that sun shot is wonderful. It looks almost like a double exposure with a fuzzy close-up of someone's eyeball.
     
  21. Hi Karim,
    "And I think that a better idea for a standard lens might be a 28mm equivalent, not a 50mm."
    You may be in luck!
    It may be possible to create a sort of wide-angle Nettar (or Ikonta) by substituting a 7,5cm anastigmat for the 10,5cm one normally found in the 6x9 Zeiss cameras.
    Using "fcalc", a normal 10.5cm lens on 6x9cm folder gives the following field of view:
    105.0mm on 6x9 =46.3972, 31.8908, 54.5041
    (Data reads 'vertical, horizontal, diagonal', in degrees)
    whereas 7,5cm on 6x9 gives:
    75.0mm on 6x9 =61.9275, 43.6028, 71.5915
    A diagonal of 71.5915 degrees is equivalent to a 30mm focal length on a 35mm camera:
    30.0mm on 135 =61.9275, 43.6028, 71.5915
    The only issue will be is there sufficient coverage in your chosen 7,5cm lens for the 6x9 format?
    I have thought about doing this on my Nettar 518/2 which has a 4.5/1.5 Novar currently.
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  22. Late post, but glad to see that you love your Nettar, a very underrated camera indeed. They are truly compact and a very sturdy design that seems to keep the lens parallel better than just about any folder. The Novar is far better than it should be, and at F8 or F11 these lenses are every bit as sharp as the late series Tessars. Incidentally, most Novars are actually made by Rodenstock not Zeiss. Keep up the good work...and keep smiling!
     
  23. Peter de Waal wrote:
    It may be possible to create a sort of wide-angle Nettar (or Ikonta) by substituting a 7,5cm anastigmat for the 10,5cm one normally found in the 6x9 Zeiss cameras.​
    ...
    The only issue will be is there sufficient coverage in your chosen 7,5cm lens for the 6x9 format?​
    ...

    That's a *very* interesting idea!
    Here's a similar project using the 65mm Schneider-Kreuznach Angulon . Not too different from a 7.5cm anastigmat in focal length; it would be interesting to see how much vignetting was found with the 7.5cm. Maybe that could be considered a 'feature' ;-) , and I would anyway expect to use it well stopped-down. Hmmm, food for thought ...
     
  24. Great Results and like many us.. a convert to both big negatives and old folders. As noted these later models are made by Rodenstock so the neat clean finish is a bit different to the Zeiss Ikon models. The frame counting windows may be the source of light leaks. If you do any "wide angle" experiments... be sure to post results.
     
  25. Taking up Peter de Waal's suggestion above for an experiment I decided to try it using a 75mm f4.5 Ensar (triplet) in the Ensign Carbine No.7 that I had previously used with a 65mm f6.8 Angulon.
    [​IMG]

    The vignetting shows the limits of coverage of the 'over-driven' Ensar triplet, on a negative that is actually 80mm wide.
    [The (1930s, uncoated) Ensar is soft anyway, but I have chosen a home scan for this, as the processors' scan, with better colour rendition, did not quite cover the full width of the negative.]
     
  26. The vignetting shows the limits of coverage of the 'over-driven' Ensar triplet, on a negative that is actually 80mm wide.​
    Supplementary thought: it would be interesting to try this with a Tessar-class '6x6' lens, but don't have one at the moment.
     

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