Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Zeiss Ikon Nettar II 517/16

Made: 1949 to 1958
Film: 120
Lens: Novar 1:6.3/75mm
Shutter: Vario leaf, 1/25 sec – 1/200 sec
Viewfinder: Optical direct vision

The best thing about the Nettar to me is that it is the only medium format camera that I have which can be carried in a pant pocket.  I've done this a few times without any trouble when I took the Nettar along for a bike ride.  The Nettar was an economy camera, however that doesn't mean that it lacked quality.  Even after 50 years my version looks good and performs well. The three element Novar lens does pretty well although it does have a tendency to vignette.  The Vario shutter wasn't top of the line back in its day, however it still seems accurate over its limited range of speeds.  The 517/16 version takes 12 6x6 images on 120 film.  The exposures are counted  by the red window method.  One nice feature is that there is a slide to hide the red window between winds.

There is no double exposure prevention so occasionally I get shots like this.

The Nettar is a scale focusing camera and has no exposure meter.  The way I use the Nettar most often is to set it at the aperture and distance suggested by red dots on the aperture and focusing rings.  That way the focus runs from around seven feet to infinity.  These settings work pretty well for general purpose daylight shooting.  And it would seem that with its widest aperture being f/6.3 that the Nettar is pretty much limited to daylight shooting without a flash.  The 517/16 does have a hot shoe, however not being much of a flash photographer I know nothing of the Nettar's flash abilities.

The folders that Zeiss Ikon made used leather for the bellows which seem to hold up better than the cloth ones.  My Nettar is one of the rare folders of its vintage that I have encountered that still has a bellows without any problems. I think because the bellows tend to hold up and the rest of the camera appears to be of good quality and durable, that you are more likely to find a Nettar in good working order than with many similar cameras of its age.

Zeiss Ikon Nettar II 517/16 Gallery