Focus accuracy home check on a ZM?

piero2020

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I had just bought a Zeiss Ikon ZM in mint condition, and after a few rolls, the winding lever got stuck. Instead of asking on the forum, I went into a photo shop to buy a new roll (I had decided to open the back and sacrifice the roll inside) and the owner complimented me on the camera. I thanked him and mentioned the stuck lever. He grabbed the camera from my hands and while saying “I know how to fix it” started banging it hard on the counter.
The lever became unstuck, he put scratches on a mint camera and I learnt a precious lesson - never hand a $2500 camera to anybody.

I am quite convinced the rangefinder mechanism must have lost precision, is there a way to check at home?
 
I thanked him and mentioned the stuck lever. He grabbed the camera from my hands and while saying “I know how to fix it” started banging it hard on the counter.
The lever became unstuck, he put scratches on a mint camera and I learnt a precious lesson - never hand a $2500 camera to anybody.

Sorry, that is not acceptable behavior. Outrageous actually. I would tell him you are taking it to a repair shop for re-calibration/repair (if needed) and to expect a bill. If he is not the owner, I would have a talk with the owner about this incident as well. Geeesh!
 
I would have gone over the counter and decked the idiot. Beyond that, should the lever become stuck again, try pushing in the rewind button, then advancing. If the problem continues, you may have a film chip or something in the mechanism.
Checking the rangefinder should be pretty simple. Find a distant vertical (ideally a telephone pole), at least a half mile away, and rack the lens out to infinity. The two images of the vertical in the finder should coincide perfectly. My ZI was bought new 13 years ago and has never needed the rangefinder adjusted: however, no one has ever pounded on a counter with it :( . Rangefinder adjustment on a ZI is unfortunately a more involved process than on a M Leica. I do hope yours is OK!
 
I would have gone over the counter and decked the idiot. Beyond that, should the lever become stuck again, try pushing in the rewind button, then advancing. If the problem continues, you may have a film chip or something in the mechanism.
Checking the rangefinder should be pretty simple. Find a distant vertical (ideally a telephone pole), at least a half mile away, and rack the lens out to infinity. The two images of the vertical in the finder should coincide perfectly. My ZI was bought new 13 years ago and has never needed the rangefinder adjusted: however, no one has ever pounded on a counter with it :( . Rangefinder adjustment on a ZI is unfortunately a more involved process than on a M Leica. I do hope yours is OK!

Thanks, I’ll try that.
 
piero2020,

Where in the world are you? Some logistics please. I'm still amazed that you found a mint Zeiss Ikon ZM let alone a shop where people are familiar with it.

Before I get onboard with the "punch him in the face" crowd I'd like to know a little bit more about where you are and the shop attendant that felt free to slam your camera around.

All the best,
Mike
 
piero2020,

Where in the world are you? Some logistics please. I'm still amazed that you found a mint Zeiss Ikon ZM let alone a shop where people are familiar with it.

Before I get onboard with the "punch him in the face" crowd I'd like to know a little bit more about where you are and the shop attendant that felt free to slam your camera around.

All the best,
Mike

I hope never to encounter a shop where the attendant is familiar with my camera, or any other, in that way! Not to excuse his behavior, but I've encountered pros who don't hesitate to treat their equipment that way. Their equipment reflects its treatment, but I suppose you can write it all off on your income tax at the end of the year. We here at RFF mostly go to the opposite extreme, and I confess there have been some occasions where I've taken a fall with a camera in my hands and thought only of protecting "my precious", rather than my own skin.
 
It appears he is in Italy according to his profile.

We might have to form PETOC: People for Ethical Treatment of Cameras and peacefully demonstrate outside the store :)
 
About a 15 years ago I used the Zeiss Ikon ZM for a few years. I bought the camera new from Zeiss. I carried it everyday - mostly back and forth to work riding on a light rail system. I used ZM, Cosina LTMs and an ancient Nippon Kogaku 85/2 LTM lenses. All focused properly. About a year later the body suddenly lost focus accuracy. I don't remember dropping it or any other hard impacts.

I sent the camera to the Zeiss' US repair facility. It came back with with an invoice stating the RF mechanism was calibrated. It maintained RF calibration for at least another year. I sold it, so I don't know how long the re-calibration held. I would contact Zeiss and send the camera in for a CLA.

PS The camera never jammed or had any sort of mechanical or metering problem. It was a joy to use.
 
I bought my Ikon ZM, used, in 2006 in Japan. It had been my daily driver for the last 16 years. In that time, I had never experienced any serious issues. From daily use there was wear-and-tear - dust in the viewfinder, grease/oil/dirt on the beam splitter and the rubber covering was definitely starting to get a little gummy in spots. But, basically it was rock solid for that whole time. At any rate, I lent it to a friend to use for a couple of weeks. He returned it with the rangefinder clearly out of alignment and the rubber covering severely degraded. Ug. The good news: Zeiss still services them in Oberkochen. Other people can service them as well, but, from my understanding, they can be very fiddly/challenging to take apart (relative to an M). If you just need a rangefinder calibration, that might not be too involved, but I don’t know that for sure.
 
piero2020,

Where in the world are you? Some logistics please. I'm still amazed that you found a mint Zeiss Ikon ZM let alone a shop where people are familiar with it.

Before I get onboard with the "punch him in the face" crowd I'd like to know a little bit more about where you are and the shop attendant that felt free to slam your camera around.

All the best,
Mike

Pretty much all mint Ikon ZMs seem to live in Japan now, where I got one from, plus I had to pay custom duties on it

And, since you ask...

I was on vacation in Tarifa, Spain. Let's say that if you are in Tarifa, and need film, you might want to leave your camera at home...let me leave it at that.

And perhaps more importantly...if you are in Dusseldorf, Germany, and go to a photo store with a really long name, and ask them to send your camera to Zeiss for service, they'll tell you that Zeiss doesn't service the ZMs anymore, and then you get bummed out and think that you should sell your camera, only to call Zeiss directly and be told to send your camera in, no problems...
 
When the Zeiss ZM appeared, I wanted one. On two separate occasions I went into a camera shop intending to buy, but each time on brand new bodies the rangefinder was clearly out of alignment. I bought a Voigtlander which has been fine.
 
And perhaps more importantly...if you are in Dusseldorf, Germany, and go to a photo store with a really long name, and ask them to send your camera to Zeiss for service, they'll tell you that Zeiss doesn't service the ZMs anymore, and then you get bummed out and think that you should sell your camera, only to call Zeiss directly and be told to send your camera in, no problems...

As The Miracles sang in 1961, "My mama told me, you better shop around!"
Still good advice in so many situations...
 
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