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Zeiss Ikon Ikonta

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Zeiss-Ikon's top product line of folding medium format cameras were badged Ikonta and were generally of superior quality when compared with corresponding folding camera models of Zeiss-Ikon's Nettar product line.

History & Models Edit

Launched in 1929, they were offered in four models: A, B, C, & D. The A, B, & C size took 120 film. The A, B, & C produced negatives in 6x4.5 format, 6x6 format, and 6x9 format, respectively. The Ikonta D produced larger negatives on either 116 or 616 format film, respectively. There was also a Baby Ikonta, which used 127 film. The first series of Ikonta were also labeled '520'. The Ikonta A, B, & C, were also 520, 520/16, and the 520/2,

Around 1938, the 520 series gave way to the 521 series which added a shutter release on the body and a double exposure prevention. Only the A, B, & C models continued. In the early 1950s, the 523 was launched for the B & C models. A chrome top plate with an integral finder and an accessory shoe was added. The 524 series added an uncoupled rangefinder and was also called the "Mess" Ikonta. Hubert Nerwin designed the Ikonta 35 for 35mm film. It was a viewfinder camera. Nerwin created versions with with rangefinder, the Contina with separate optical viewfinder, and the Contessa with a big optical viewfinder plus superimposed Super-Ikonta-like coupled rangefinder. The Ikonta 35 and the Contina were soon renamed to Contina and Contina II.

Super Ikonta Edit

Variants which included a coupled rangefinder which were named Super Ikonta. Especially the early Super Ikonta rangefinder cameras were copied by competitors, since they had an ingenious way to couple the rangefinder by means of one optical element of the rangefinder mounted at the lens standard. An example of such a copy is the Moskva-2.

The model numbers began with a 530 series and followed by the 531, 532, 533, & 534 series.

The final Super Ikonta folders were the Super Ikonta III and Super Ikonta IV. Both were in 6x6 format and had the advantage of a film winding mechanism which allowed the film to be advanced without having to watch numbers in red windows. The only difference between the III and IV, was that the latter had a selenium meter. Their catalogue numbers were 533/16 and 534/16, respectively. It is of interest to note that the Superikonta line of cameras was made virtually unchanged from the mid 1930s to the mid fifties, while the III, and IV model were only made for 4 years (1956-1960), being something of a dead end to development.

After the second World War the Ikonta cameras were produced in West Germany's Zeiss-Ikon plant in Stuttgart. The East German Zeiss-Ikon in Dresden continued the production of a traditional Ikonta model, naming it "Ercona".

The West German plant launched a 35mm Ikonta viewfinder model which was continued as Contina.

Lenses & Shutters Edit

Ikontas were fitted with a wide range of lenses and shutters and the cameras were originally priced accordingly. The primary difference between Ikontas and Nettar models was often the lens and shutter combination.

The lenses were f/6.3 Novar f/4.5 Novar, f/3.5 Novar and f/3.5 Tessar. The focal length was 75mm for 6x6 format cameras and 105mm for 6x9 format. Novar lenses were a triplet designed outsourced to another German optical company, typically Rodenstock or Steinheil. The f/6.3 was dropped after the 520 series. Tessar lenses were of a 4-element design made by Zeiss. They were uncommon on Ikonta or Mess Ikonta models and more often found on Super Ikontas.

Ikontas were also provided with a range of shutters, the simplest being a three-speed Klio on early models. Other shutters may include the Vario (3-speed, B), Pronto (4-speed, T&B), Prontor-S, SV, SVS (8-speed, ), Compur (8 speeds, T&B), Compur Rapid (9-speed, T&B), and Synchro-Compur 1-MX (9 speeds, B), and Synchro Compur (10-speed, B). Super Ikonta cameras were always equipped with the best shutter available for the given period of manufacture. Therefore, early cameras had the Compur Rapid, while later cameras had the Synchro-Compur 1-MX (green lever to set flash from M to X), or Synchro-Compur shutters. In contrast to this, the end customer could order a Super Ikonta with either a Tessar lens (4 elements) or a Novar (3 elements), but it was still mounted in the expensive shutter.

Post-war Ikontas tended to have better shutters and lenses as the cheaper combinations were relegated to the Ikonta, Mess-Ikonta, and Nettar line. Please note though that there are expensive cameras with the cheap lens and regular Ikonta cameras with the expensive lens. The end buyer could determine which lens was ordered.

Lenses after the war were coated, which reduce the light reflections between the elements. Uncoated lenses may flare more severly and can lead to distorted colors if used with modern color film. Post-war shutters usually had flash synchronization. Early cameras having the Compur Rapid-X, and later models having the M-X, or Synchro-Compur Shutters. Immediately after the war, some models were fitted with Schneider Xenar lenses.


Camera Models Edit

Baby Ikonta 520/18Edit

Ikonta A 520 Edit

Ikonta A 521 Edit

Ikonta A 521 Edit

Ikonta B 520/16 Edit

Ikonta B 522/24 Edit

or Ikonta 35, see Continahelp how do take a picture

Ikonta B 521/16 Edit

Ikonta B 523/16 Edit

Ikonta C 520/2Edit


  • Type: viewfinder folding camera
  • Film/framesize: type No. 120 6×9cm
  • Lens: Novar Anastigmat 1:6.3/105
  • Shutter: Derval with speeds 1/25 - 1/100 sec., B, T
  • Finder: two-frame finder and reflecting type finder


Ikonta C 521/2Edit

  • Year of release: 1947
  • Type: viewfinder folding camera
  • Film/framesize: 120 / 6×9cm
  • Lens: Tessar 1:4.5/105mm or alternative Novar (f3.5 or f4.5)
  • Shutter: Compur shutter 1 - 1/250
  • Finder: two-frame finder


Ikonta C 523/2Edit

  • Year of release: 1951
  • Type: viewfinder folding camera
  • Film/framesize: 120 / 6×9cm
  • Lens: Novar 1:3.5/105mm, Novar 1:4.5/105mm or Tessar 1:3.5/105mm
  • Shutter: Prontor-S shutter 1 - 1/250
  • Finder: integrated finder


Ikonta D 520/15Edit

Super Ikonta A 530Edit

Super Ikonta A 530Edit

Super Ikonta A 531Edit

Super Ikonta B 530/16Edit

Super Ikonta B 530/16Edit

  • Year of release: 1935
  • Type: rangefinder folding camera
  • Film/framesize: 120 / 6×6 cm
  • Lens: Tessar 1:3.5/80 mm or Tessar 1:2.8/80 mm
  • Shutter: Compur-Rapid 1-400 shutter
  • Finder: integrated finder, separated with rangefinder.

Super Ikonta A 531Edit

  • Year of release: 1934
  • Type: rangefinder folding camera
  • Film/framesize: 120 / 6×4,5cm
  • Lens: Novar 1:3.5/75 mm, Xenar 1:3.5/75mm or Tessar 1:3.5/75mm
  • Shutter: Compur 1 - 1/300, Compur-Rapid 1-500 or Synchro Compur 1-500 shutters in #00 size.
  • Finder: folding alabada finder.

Super Ikonta B 532/16Edit

  • Film/framesize: 120 / 6×6cm
  • Lens: Tessar 1:2.8/80mm
  • Shutter: Synchro Compur 1-500

Super Ikonta Ill 533/16Edit

  • Film/framesize: 120 / 6×6cm
  • Lens: Tessar 1:3.5/75mm
  • Shutter: Synchro Compur 1-500

Super Ikonta IV 534/16Edit

  • Film/framesize: 120 / 6×6cm
  • Lens: Tessar 1:3.5/75mm
  • Shutter: Synchro Compur 1-500

Super Ikonta C 530/2Edit

Super Ikonta C 531/2Edit

Super Ikonta D 531/2Edit

Ikonta viewfinder camerasEdit

Super Ikonta rangefinder camerasEdit

Links Edit

General links Edit

In English:

In French:

Manuals and brochures Edit

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