Wednesday 13 August 2014

Zeiss 516/2 and 887/1

It's some time since I showed something from my collection so here are a couple of Zeiss Ikons.

The 6cm x 9cm folding Zeiss Nettar 516/2 is a fairly rare camera which was made some time between 1938 and 1942. fitted with a 11cm Novar f4.5 lens in a Kilo shutter with speeds 1 sec to 1/150 and B. It was the first of the Nettars to have double exposure prevention and the last to have a folding viewfinder.

There is very little information, even in Zeiss records, about this model, it's certainly much rarer than the pre-war 515 and the post war 517 models.

The last and most sophisticated of the Ikoflex range the 887/16 Favorit was made between 1957 and 1960, it's sometimes referred to as the "IIc". The Ikoflex was Zeiss's answer to the Rollei but it never reached the same cult status that the Rollei did. While the 887/16 is beautifully made with typical Zeiss engineering and attention to finish and detail, in many ways better than the Rollei, I feel it's styling is not as eye catching as the Rollei.

It has cross coupled EV light-value setting for aperture and shutter speed set by wheels either side of the lens panel. The EV value is projected into the view finder. A simple system that works, alter either aperture or shutter and the other is reset automatically.

My example is in very good condition, a bit of brassing and very slight damage to the leatherette facings but in full working order. Fitted with a 75mm f3.5 Tessar taking lens and a Teronar viewing lens with a Synchro-Compur shutter.

It too is fairly rare due to its failure to compete with Rollei but it delivered excellent results and that rarity is reflected in its value, at least £500 for an example like mine and well over 1k for a mint one.

I occasionally use both of these cameras, especially the 887/16, and others in the collection that are in working order as it's good to feel real hand made precision engineering instead of the computer assembled modern camera.

Even after 55 years the focus knob on the 887 is smooth and positive as are the rest of the controls. I wonder if a modern Nikon or Canon will still be working in 50 years time? I'm not taking bets on that one!

Tony Middleton

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