Super Ikonta III 531 16 Review & Samples

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Super Ikonta III – Medium Format Rangefinder

Introduction – Super Ikonta III

Super Ikonta III 531/16 front view
Super Ikonta III 531/16 front view

I won’t go much into history, Super Ikonta III, or Super Ikonta 531/16 is a folding super compact 6×6 medium format rangefinder camera made by Zeiss Ikon. The key difference between Ikonta, and Super Ikonta is the coupled rangefider you’ll find only on the Super  models. This makes the camera faster, and easier to use.

Body

Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta II top view
Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta II top view

The body feels pretty solid, light and compact in size. It’s size is really ridiculous, I can stick it in my back pocket like a pack of cigarettes, something i can’t do with a regular 35mm Slr.

Because it’s a folding camera it may have bellows issues (cracks and holes), just as i had with mine. As you can see from the pictures, i have been using some blue nail lacquer to cover one crack i had in the bellows. Unlike older models, film advance is automatic,  so it stops when one full frame is advanced. Newer versions, also cocks the shutter when film is advanced, but i rather cock it manually, so i don’t fire it by mistake.

Cold shoe mount and external flash units

Zeiss ikon 531/16 front view
Zeiss ikon 531/16 front view

Using external flash units is possible, but there are some issues you have to keep in mind before you mount an external flash. First,  you have to make sure your V X M switch is set to X, otherwise your flash won’t sync with the shutter. The switch is located on the left side of the lens, as you can see it in the picture below

Modern flashes communicate with the camera via electrical pins  on the bottom of  the mounting foot so this might be tricky with this camera. You need to isolate the cold shoe on the camera and then connect the flash to the camera via Pc sync cable.

Metering 

There’s no meter on this camera, so you need to go for the next model if you really want it. I’m using sunny 16 rule, or my Sekonic L308s flash meter

Lenses

Super Ikonta Lens
Super Ikonta Lens

The lens is fixed, so you can’t change it. My camera has a Novar 75mm 3.5 which delivers pretty impressive results. They say Tessar version is even better.

Focusing

You can focus by rotating a wheel on the left of the lens, ( nor very handy) or just spin the front of the lens. The coupled rangefinder works like charm, I have never missed a shot.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder is not very large or bright, but is good enough so you can focus even in dim light.

Final thoughts

I got this baby from a flea market in Negreni, Cluj, and payed no more than 20 dollars for it. I never had one before, so I din’t know what to expect. This is a great compact medium format camera, so it has a cozy place in my collection. On Ebay you can find one in good shape for 200-300 dollars, which is a great price for such a camera.

Sample Images

Ilford Fp4 Samples

Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta III
Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta III –  Ilford Fp4 Plus 125
Zeiss Ikon Super ikonta 531/16
Zeiss Ikon 66 Ilford Fp4 Plus 125

More Ikonta 531/16 & FP4 samples on my Fp4 post

Ilford Delta 3200

Super Ikonta 531/16 - Ilford Delta 3200
Super Ikonta 531/16 – Ilford Delta 3200

 

More Super Ikonta and Delta 3200 samples on my Delta 3200 Post

Expired Portra 160

Portra 160
SuperIkonta - Expired Portra 160
Expired Portra 160

More Kodak Portra 160 samples on My Portra 160 Post

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