Ziess Ikon 250/7 Ideal -- working at last!

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by silent1, Aug 22, 2004.

  1. Several months ago, I bought a Ziess-Ikon 250/7 Ideal. It was listed as "for parts only" condition, and I purchased it for the f/4.5 13.5 cm Tessar lens; for the $12.50 I paid, even if the rest of the camera was completely trashed, the lens would have been a bargain. Unfortunately, on receiving the camera, I was disappointed to discover that the dial-set Compur in which the lens was mounted had a significantly smaller thread than the rim-set Compur on my Kawee Camera, where I had hoped to mount the Tessar as a replacement for the Radionar I received with that camera. On examining the Ideal, however, I realized that it probably wasn't beyond repair. The leather was coming off the body in great swatches where the seller had used actual duct tape to attach a posterboard cover where there was no ground glass; the bellows was detached from the body at the back, and shutter only partially worked -- but there was still fluid in the spirit level, the sports finder was intact, the rise and shift worked, the latches on the bellows to prevent vignetting at short extensions were present and functional; in short, it wasn't nearly as bad as it looked. So, the quest for a lens became a search for parts and accessories. A few weeks later, I paid $50 for a "working" Ica Ideal 225, the same 9x12 cm format, which included a ground glass back and a few plate holders. This one was cosmetically much nicer than the Zeiss, but the sports finder wire frame was missing, and the shutter didn't work at all. Still, it had another Tessar, and it was complete enough I thought I could get it working with less effort than the Zeiss -- and besides, it was at least a year older, possibly several years. Well, with one thing and another, it was just a few weeks ago that I finally got far enough in working on the Ica Ideal to test it -- the Tessar was everything I'd hoped, but the frames were marred by ghostly fog, in stripes and curtains, as well as vignetted all around, as those from my Kawee Camera are if I forget to pull the bellows toward the lens on opening the camera. I bought some fabric paint and used it to patch the holes in the (cloth) bellows, but every time I patched one set, another would crop up; it quickly became obvious that the material grew a new set of cracks every time I closed and opened the camera. The bellows was completely shot. In addition, the shutter speeds were a little off; the 1/10 was shorter than the 1/25, which I eventually decided was because a previous owner had attempted to repair the shutter by filing the speed selection cam, with the result that the pallet engaged when it shouldn't. I managed to adjust things and get those speeds within a half stop of correct (though I'm still not sure the 1/25 was actually faster than the 1/10, they were at least both close enough to correct for negative film). The final straw was realizing that the vignetting was because someone (probably the same person who "repaired" the shutter with a coarse file) had ripped out the original bellows and replaced it with one from a smaller camera, probably a 3x4 format; not only was the bellows too small, it was glued to the attachment plate at the front standard, instead of screwed on through its own front stiffener as it should have been. With the combination of shutter and bellows problems, obviously, there was no way the Ica was going to be ready to use for portraits of my 99 year old grandmother when I pass through Idaho on my way to North Carolina (a trip, by that time, less than a month away). What to do? Sure, I could take pictures with the Kawee Camera, but between bellows vignetting, minor light leaks in the plate holders, and the inability to get it to sit steady on a tripod (because of the curve of the bed/door), it didn't look like the best choice for that shoot. Well, there was the Zeiss Ideal. I had all those film holders (by this time, I had a full dozen, ten usable, and more than enough film sheaths), two shutters, two lenses, and it shouldn't be impossible to glue the bellows back into the body. So I did. Clean up the shutter, and it runs like a champ, even the 1 second buzzes right along; closing in T setting makes a distinct "clack" as the mechanism releases. Rubber cement served to stick down the ragged edges of the leather where the duct tape had torn it. A few small patches of black leather covered the five pinholes I was able to find in the bellows (and this leather bellows seems less prone to develop more every time it's opened and closed). Today, it was time to test; pull out two plate holders, put the Ideal on my tripod, install cable release, grab my old Sixtomat, and out the door. A few hours later, the negatives are dry. No foggy ghosts, correct exposures at both 1/10 and 1/25 (f/22 and f/16, respectively, on Fomapan 100 at EI 160 in Diafine), the lens is incredibly sharp (in the original 2400 ppi scans, I can see details of the moss and tiny fungi growing on the stump in the attached frame). Seventy-seven years after it was made, it's ready to use again.
  2. Oh, hell. I don't know how I managed to duplicate this -- Lex, can you dump this thread and leave just the original?

Share This Page