Camera: ca. 1946 Zeiss Super Ikonta 531 with 105mm/f3.5 Tessar Lens.
Film: Rollei Retro 80S
Locale: Central Maryland.
It's a camera that took a little while to impress me, before finally showing its capabilities when I took it as a late addition to a March trip to Portland. Despite this, the Super Ikonta had been sitting idly for months, as I lacked the time to shoot film in a way that rotated through my collection. Finally, after being smitten by Rollei Retro 80S, I deemed that I'd run my next roll of this film through the 531 and hope I could manage to adhere to it's particularities in carefully cocking the shutter so as to avoid accidentally exposing the frame prior to releasing the shutter.
1 - Baltimore, MD - f/11, 1/100 - A shot taken on a mild September day shows great sharpness, and some very pleasing tones. The Super Ikonta is gradually looking a bit more super as I feed more rolls through it.
2 - Frederick, MD - f/8, 1/100 - Carroll Creek looks resplendent on a sunny afternoon, and the Tessar lens pulls in some exceptional details.
3 - Frederick, MD - f/4, 1/400 - After leaving this camera unused for so long, I realized I'd never really tested the rangefinder again, so I made sure to give it try on this roll, by opening up the lens and trying to use the rangefinder to set focus on a near object. The Super Ikonta absolutely nailed it, while the nearly grainless smooth tones of the Retro 80S create an image stunning in its clarity, to the point of nearly being three dimensional.
4 - So, not sure what happened to this one. The Super Ikonta curse strikes again.
5 - Feagaville, MD - f/11, 1/100 - Back to scenics, the Super Ike provides a razor sharp rendering of this church. A sloped lot and some lost motorists distracted me enough to skew the alignment of the image, as the steeple looks like it is leaning.
6 - f/8, 1/100 - Harsh backlight did not get handled well by the camera. The flare makes this one unusable.
7 - f/4, 1/100 - Botched, see below.
8 - Burkittsville, MD - f/4, 1/100 - Even nearly wide open, the Tessar lens gives a very sharp rendering, even when focus is closer to infinity, though not quite. I'd hoped for a more creative rendering of this scene, but only mustered this. Maybe next time. It's not far from home.
Overall thoughts: The Zeiss Super Ikonta reminds me a lot of the Franka Solida, as both are cameras that will provide some stellar quality images if you are willing to jump through some tiresome hoops to get them. The thing that makes the 6x9 format Super Ikonta more aggravating than the 6x6 Franka is that if I botch 3 shots on the Ikonta, I've got only 5 good shots, unlike the Franka that will still yield 9 in such a case.
The rangefinder actually proved quite useful on shots 3 and 8 on the roll, and in the case of the former, gave a result that was far better than expected. I can totally see 6x9 shots with shallow depth of field being a very valuable use for future rolls of film using this camera.