Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 521 Vintage Camera
Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 521 Specifications
|Country of Origin:||Germany|
|Camera Type:||Folding, Viewfinder|
|Dimensions (cm):||12 x 9.3 x 4.5 (closed)|
|12 x 11.4 x 9.5 (open)|
Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 521 Review
The Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 521 is a medium format camera introduced in Nazi Germany shortly before the outbreak of World War II. During that time, Zeiss Ikon produced some of the most advanced cameras of the day until the Second World War all but ground things to a halt. The brutal carpet bombing of Dresden in the war’s final stages caused heavy damage to Zeiss Ikon’s factory and destroyed the schematics and prototypes of many of its models.
The Ikonta 521 has a 75mm f/6.3 Novar-Anastigmat lens mated to a Zeiss Ikon Klio shutter capable of speeds ranging from one to 1/200 seconds and bulb. Operation is simple and very straight forward. To release the lens and open up the camera, depress the tiny silver button next to the flip up viewfinder where the shutter button would be located on a conventional camera. Once the lens is unfolded, adjust the aperture at the 10:30 mark on the lens barrel and set the shutter speed by rotating the barrel’s outer ring. To focus, rotate the lens and use the distance scale printed on its side. Before the shutter can be fired, it must first be cocked via the lever at the 12 o’clock position on the lens barrel. When ready, the shutter button can be found on the left-hand side adjacent to the film advance knob.
I found this beautiful folding camera at a flea market in the St. Louis area and got it along with a Minolta-16 MG-S “spy camera” bundle for a very reasonable $30. Fortunately for me, the camera is in excellent condition with only some minor paint loss and a stiff focus ring. This Ikonta was my very first Zeiss Ikon camera but it certainly wasn’t the last.
Want one for yourself? Find your very own Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 521 on eBay.
McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 722.