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Zeiss Ikon (Carl Zeiss AG)

Style, film format 35mm rangefinder system with interchangeable lenses

Lens, shutter Electronically controlled vertically traveling metal focal plane. Various lenses. Standard is f/2.0 50mm Planar.

Photo quality Excellent

Ergonomics Excellent

While technically, this doesn't fall under the category of a "Classic Camera," its operation and approach to photography is about 98% classic both in name and in operation and 2% modern day. The 2%? That's the autoexposure system and electronic shutter.

In many ways, this camera is a modern update of the old Zeiss Ikon Contax, although Zeiss opted to use the Leica M mount rather than trying to revive the Contax mount. A good business decision.

Ergonomics of the Zeiss Ikon are excellent. Carl Zeiss AG has done a great job with the camera. There are so many little things that make this camera much more than your run-of-the-mill rangefinder. The viewfinder is large and bright -- as large as you'll find in any camera. All controls operate smoothly, and it appears that much thought went into ergonomics.

The body is solidly constructed yet not overly heavy because of the use of magnesium for its top and bottom decks, rather than the traditional chromed brass.

A new lines of lenses, which Zeiss is branding ZM, is available, and Zeiss claims the new lenses are compatible with both film and digital cameras, even though it doesn't offer (yet?) a digital camera. But if/when it does, this lineup of lenses will be ready.

Lenses show the same high quality -- optically and mechanically -- that you would expect and demand from Zeiss. In all, a wonderful camera.

This is not a pedestrian bargain-bin camera, so if you make the jump, you'll pay for it. The reward is a very fine camera with a wonderful lineup of lenses.

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