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Ikoflex (which one?)
Old 05-22-2018   #1
richardHaw
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Ikoflex (which one?)

Hello. I have searched the net but I still didn't get the answer that I wanted mainly due to the confusion over identifying models so I gave up and made a new thread here

the question is:

which ikoflex is the most reliable and easy to service? I have been itching to buy a TLR and Rolleiflex is just out of my paygrade.

I just want a decent 75mm Tessar and a reliable camera that I can hopefully repair back to working condition.
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Old 05-22-2018   #2
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Ivor Matanle had an entire article about the Ikoflexes here:
http://www.tlr-cameras.com/German/Ik...20Article.html


I once had an Ikoflex - can't remember the model. It felt rather frail, and had a dim screen. I had it overhauled, but it still didn't inspire confidence.


There are so many other choices out there.
I would try a Minolta Autocord, Rolleicord, or even a Mamiya C220 if you want inexpensive, high quality TLRs.
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Old 05-23-2018   #3
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I own two or three Ikoflex TLRs (the number varies based on which ones my grandson has borrowed). With the exception of the Favorit they are all pretty nice and supposedly are relatively easy to work on according to Mark Hansen. My Ikoflex IIa (late version) is undoubtedly the sharpest of my herd but they all produce pretty good results.


EDIT - Interestingly none of the ones I own, all picked up at various times on E-Bay, have required any service. None of them feel nearly as solid as my Rollieflex Automat but they are pretty tough little cameras none the less.
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Old 05-24-2018   #4
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I have an Ikoflex Ic that's a very nice camera to use. The coated Tessar lens is really quite good, as you would expect. Mechanically, it's pretty simple and robust, though I did have to service mine for gummy lubricants. The ergonomics are good, but not great, and the layout is quirky, especially when it comes to resetting the film counter. Screen is pretty bright and the meter fairly accurate. I like it a lot, though it's maybe not the obvious choice given more conventional and also very good options from other manufacturers. Certainly I would suggest a later camera, and wait until you find one at a reasonable price - they are not nearly as sought after as some others, so sometimes they can be had for little money.
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Old 05-24-2018   #5
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I've owned a number of those cameras, all w/ the lower end Novar lenses. I like the Novar, and it makes nice images if stopped down. The Ikoflex cameras are simple to service, as are most knob wind TLR's. TLR's are just basic box cameras w/ a separate focus lens. As mentioned, the focus screens are not the brightest, but if you have one w/ a good mirror it is easy enough to use.

The Ikoflex cameras are sorta heavy but generally inexpensive, except for the Tessar lens models that command higher prices. For a first TLR I would recommend a Rolleicord, and don't overlook the models w/ the 3 element Triotars. Those are wonderful lenses that are really sharp stopped down and make better portraits than the 4 element Tessars in my opinion. You can usually pick one up on eBay for $100-$125 in good shooting condition.
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Old 05-24-2018   #6
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an ikoflex iia or a mpp microcord are my favorite rolleiflex alternatives because they both have dials to control exposure and are pretty undervalued for how nice they are.
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Old 05-25-2018   #7
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I've the Ikoflex III from 1939. It has an uncoated tessar f2.8 80mm lens , which performs wonderfully. As I recall it was meant to compete with Rolleis of the time. Lever wind on, auto frame counting and a huge direct viewfinder which has parallax correction. It handles very sweetly and is much lighter than my 3.5f.

Build quality is good but not up to Rollei standards. I've yet to try mounting it on a tripod because the tripod fixing point is on the back door neither of which look too strong. The focussing screen is in my view quite bright. It's a tad behind the 3.5f but much better than my Yashica Mat 124.

I had to get light traps around the lens replaced because of a light leak but that aside it has worked flawlessly.
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Old 05-25-2018   #8
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We've had the following pass through the house: Flavorit (late 50's), III (1939), Ic (late 50's) and II/III (1937).

Forget why, but told to stay away from the Favorit and sold the same. Again second hand, but told the III was made fro soft metal, a war time production. After a test roll, ended up selling that one too.

My wife has put a lot of film through there Ic over several years. She really likes the camera and the coated Tessar taking lens. Easy to use, light, inboard meter that still works. After a couple years though, her negatives developed very fine vertical scratches. Almost like rain. I've would've never seen it, but you know these MF folks. They're always zooming in on their big negatives. Haven't figured out the issue yet.

The pre-war III/II takes fine pictues, but skips frames. Think the taking lens is the Triotar. Didn't have it fixed.

Build quality is excellent, with pre-war 'feeling' better made then the post-war. We have a Mamiya C220 and Rolliecord Vb in the house too, and the Ikoflex are as well made or better.

They're pretty inexpensive on the used market, but probably will need service. Fun cameras.
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Old 05-25-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveyork View Post

My wife has put a lot of film through there Ic over several years. She really likes the camera and the coated Tessar taking lens. Easy to use, light, inboard meter that still works. After a couple years though, her negatives developed very fine horizontal scratches. Almost like rain. I've would've never seen it, but you know these MF folks. There always zooming in on their big negatives. Haven't figured out the issue yet.
Mine did this quite severely when I got it. The problem was a roughness that developed - probably from oxidation - on something in the film chamber. I want to say it was one of the blackened edges of the film gate, but it's been a while and I don't have the camera with me at the moment. The solution was simply to polish with super fine 0000 steel wool until the roughness was eliminated. No problems since.

I am very interested in the Ikoflex III, though I suspect I'm more drawn by the aesthetics than anything else. As a camera seeing regular use, I think my Ic is probably better.
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Old 05-25-2018   #10
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The problem with the Favorit is that the shutter remains cocked when you finish a roll of film. The only way to release the shutter is to load another roll, fire the shutter, and do not advance the film until you are ready to shoot the next time. Of course, if you use it all the time the shutter is always getting exercised so it is not a problem. The obvious problem is that any Favorit you decide to buy will almost certainly have a cocked shutter and it could have been that way since great grandpa put it in the drawer in 1960. Additionally, the Favorit is somewhat rare so the prices usually reflect the collector value more than the user value.



All the Ikoflex camera I have owned have very bright focus screens, certainly brighter then any of my Rolleiflexes, and the cameras are lighter to carry around, again compared to Rolleiflex and Yashica Mat, which are the only other TLRs I have owned.


While the Ikoflex is not as heavy as a Rolleiflex it has the normal good Zeiss Ikon build quality so they usually work very well, especially if they have been recently serviced..



Most of the Tessar and Novar lenses I have used with these cameras are very good lenses, typical of all other Zeiss Ikon cameras that used these similar lenses.


If it works when you buy it then it will probably continue to work for quite some time. Remember, all of these TLR cameras have leaf shutters so they need exercise to keep working well. That is usually the number one problem with any TLR is that the camera has not been used in quite awhile so the shutters are usually very sticky and slow. Sometimes a bit of exercise will get them running again but sometimes a good cleaning is necessary.
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Old 05-25-2018   #11
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Originally Posted by 02Pilot View Post
Mine did this quite severely when I got it. The problem was a roughness that developed - probably from oxidation - on something in the film chamber. I want to say it was one of the blackened edges of the film gate, but it's been a while and I don't have the camera with me at the moment. The solution was simply to polish with super fine 0000 steel wool until the roughness was eliminated. No problems since.

I am very interested in the Ikoflex III, though I suspect I'm more drawn by the aesthetics than anything else. As a camera seeing regular use, I think my Ic is probably better.
Thanks. We'll give that repair a try.

Yes, the Ikoflex III must be one of the best looking TLRs of all time. And from out test roll, the uncoated Tessar had a pleasant vintage look. Recently saw a few on that big auction site. Maybe there is one there with your name on it.
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Old 10-26-2019   #12
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My Ikoflex III returned recently from another lengthy spell in the repair shop . As mentioned above it had internal light baffles around the SS and aperture levers. It worked fine for 12 months then suddenly jammed up. A combination of problems with the inter-lock mechanism , displaced aperture blade and more problems related to the inter-lock .

It’s now fixed although occasionally won’t allow the shutter to fire until advanced to the second frame. It’s been quite a bit of hassle but it’s hard to stop trying to fix things when you’re already quite far down the line.

The uncoated tessar 80mm f2.8 lens has a lovely vintage rendering that made all the above worth it. The camera cost £300 plus £190 to get it working properly. It’s such a pretty camera that can deliver some nice images. I’d not rely on it for something important just yet given it’s propensity to have mechanical issues. I’m pretty convinced those are now behind me so I’ll be taking it on an outing shortly.
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Old 10-26-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardHaw View Post
Hello. I have searched the net but I still didn't get the answer that I wanted mainly due to the confusion over identifying models so I gave up and made a new thread here

the question is:

which ikoflex is the most reliable and easy to service? I have been itching to buy a TLR and Rolleiflex is just out of my paygrade.

I just want a decent 75mm Tessar and a reliable camera that I can hopefully repair back to working condition.
instead buy one of the early postwar Rolleis, not so much money, and with the tessar lens.

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Ikoflex - not my choice
Old 10-26-2019   #14
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Ikoflex - not my choice

Years ago I was on a TLR kick, buying various models, testing the lenses and trying them out. An Ikoflex came onto my orbit (and left shortly thereafter). It's design was out of date when it was new, not ergonomic. The Tessar lens is nice, but not significantly better than many of its many copies. (Except the Yashinon on the Mats, which sucks.) Based on its ergonomics, ease of use, and its superior Tessar- copy lens, a late version Autocord is the outstanding choice here. They can be expensive, so a less costly choice would be a late Rolleicord. Its Xenar is about the same as a Tessar. Any of these cameras, used heavily or not, is so old that they deserve a CLA if you intend to use them, regardless of brand.
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Old 10-27-2019   #15
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I’ve owned an Ikoflex and an Autocord. I much prefer the Autocord ergonomics. And the Minolta lens is stunning.
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Old 10-27-2019   #16
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So many nice options.

Take your pick.

Any one of these TLRs that have been mentioned, when in good condition, will provide years of shooting pleasure.

And they all come with some very remarkable lenses that are more then capable of providing excellent images when you do your part.

Life is good for the TLR fans.
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Old 10-27-2019   #17
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I had a Favorit which is rather uncommon and pricey. Decided I had too many TLR (mostly Rolleiflexes) and sold it. Missed it and bought a IIa. The IIa is basically the Favorit without the built in meter. Same lens as a late Rolleicord but better built IMHO. You can pick up a mint IIa for around $100 on eBay which makes it a far better buy than a Rolleicord. I always preferred the German lenses to the Japanese TLR lenses. Zeiss had the weirdest numbering scheme for the Ikoflex's, here is a good page to decipher the different models. I also find (as someone else mentioned) that these late model Ikoflex's had far better viewing screens than comparable Rolleicords or Rolleiflexes/


http://www.tlr-cameras.com/German/Ikoflex.html
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Old 10-30-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACullen View Post
My Ikoflex III returned recently from another lengthy spell in the repair shop . As mentioned above it had internal light baffles around the SS and aperture levers. It worked fine for 12 months then suddenly jammed up. A combination of problems with the inter-lock mechanism , displaced aperture blade and more problems related to the inter-lock .
The velveteen light baffle ring around the sliding lens tube is a known issue with the Ikoflex III. It gives an interesting curved light leak once it degrades. I've replace the one on mine as well.

When I first got mine, it had all the same problems; aperture blade out of position. The interlock had apparently been a problem on previous repairs as someone had cut a slit in the side panel so the user could move the interlock bar with a pointy object.
The shutter charging bar running over the winding lever cam was also warped a millimeter or so, preventing the shutter from being cocked properly.
Also lots of aluminium oxidation problems, causing things like the frame counter to jam.
And finally a broken spring in the Compur shutter that I had to replace with a piece of guitar string.


So, my advice to RichardHaw; If you're looking for reliability don't get a III, but any of the other Ikoflex models.
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Old 10-30-2019   #19
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Oof you all are giving me GAS.
I wonder why the good people of Zeiss never gave the Ikoflex a Planar or some other higher quality lens. Any ideas?
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Old 11-18-2019   #20
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I succumbed to the GAS and today received a late model IIa, the one that has the wheels for aperture and shutter speed like the Favorit but no light meter. It's well used, worn film holder spring and pressure plate, I hope that means it's a good performer. First impressions otherwise: The badly aged finish one expects from old Zeiss stuff, no bumps here but the lacquer looks more dissolved by sweat than mechanically worn. Built quality seems sturdier than the Minolta Autocord, only other TLR I have. Especially the back door and VF hood, and no focusing lever to worry about. The screen is much brighter than on the Autocord, but smaller and a bit coarse, not sure if it allows very precise focusing. One has to wonder why they didn't give at least the shutter speeds click stops. This one seems to focus past infinity, will have to check how that translates to the taking lens. Damn it, I'm very much in love with the 35mm negative with all its limitations these days, what do I do with this beautiful machine?
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Old 01-05-2020   #21
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I tried to check the focus with a piece of ground glass and realized it's not that simple: There's at least 0.5mm between the film rails and the pressure plate! Where will the film be? More importantly, will it always be in the same place? Doubtful. Why, Zeiss Ikon, why?? I've read the same thing about the Ikontas.
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Old 01-05-2020   #22
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The focus should be on the front surface of the film where the emulsion is, right? Behind this is the thickness of the film base and the thickness of the backing paper, and then the surface of the pressure plate. I'd measure from the film rails.
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Old 01-05-2020   #23
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The focus should be on the front surface of the film where the emulsion is, right? Behind this is the thickness of the film base and the thickness of the backing paper, and then the surface of the pressure plate. I'd measure from the film rails.

Thanks Doug, I would normally measure from the film rails. But the problem is that the space between film rails and pressure plate is much more than the thickness of film and backing paper. Very odd engineering decision. I think that the film would sit back against the pressure plate when freshly would on (due to the curl it has acquired sitting wound on a spool), but it might move forward at least after some time...
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Old 01-05-2020   #24
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I also just realized that I now have what must be the holy trinity of IIas: Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex IIa and Contina IIa, and Kodak Retina IIa! All three made in Stuttgart, where one side of my family comes from, to boot. Ok, the Contax IIa is missing...
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