Zeiss Ikon "M" camera system
Announced on September 29th 2004, the Zeiss Ikon is a "new" rangefinder-based camera system by Zeiss. At first only one body (silver chrome 0.74) and seven (mostly wide angle) lenses were offered. What raised a few eyebrows was that the body was for 35mm film, and that the lenses and body were fully compatible with the Leica M lens line.
The official Zeiss Ikon website can be found at:
While Mike Elek's Zeiss Ikon website (er, make that "shrine"!) is at:
- Available as of May 2005 (lenses) Oct 2005 (camera body)
- Priced mid-way between the (cheap) Bessa and (expensive) Leica MP
- 35mm film (deliberately not digital according to PDF brochure)
- Silver-chrome magnesium-based body, made by Cosina Japan
- Swing open SLR-style camera back
- Film rewind is on the bottom of the camera, so no support for motordrive or rapidwinder
- Claimed to work with Leica M bayonet lenses (what, no back-focus controversy?…)
- 0.74x magnification finder with built-in diopter correction & large "high-eyepoint" eye-piece
- A long(ish) ERB of 55.9mm (working off a physical base-length of 75mm)
- AE aperture priority, electronically controlled, vertical-travel metal-blade shutter
- 1/125th X flash sync, 1/2000th top speed
- Manual film advance only
- Seven "ZM" lenses (15mm, 21mm, 25mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm & 85mm), each with 10-blade aperture blades & 1/3rd click stops
- Five of the initial seven lenses are manufactured by Cosina
- Bayonet-mount, metal vented lenshoods
- Distributed by
Hasselblad dealers worldwideZeiss directly
- New accessory bright-line finders (15mm, 21mm, 25/28mm)
See the Zeiss FAQ at <zeissikon.com/faq.htm>
FWIW the ZI body and all lenses should be available as of Q1 2006!
Dec 2004 pricelist
|Zeiss Ikon Camera body||$US 1617|
|Distagon 15mm/2,8||$3796 / € 3541 Euro|
|Biogon 21mm/2,8||$1307 / € 1219 Euro|
|Biogon 25mm/2.8||€ 1075 Euro|
|Biogon 28mm/2.8||€ 972 Euro|
|Biogon 35mm/2.0||$1042 / € 972 Euro|
|Planar 50mm/2.0||$824 / € 768 Euro|
|Biogon 28mm/2.8||€ 972 Euro|
|Zeiss Finder 25/28 mm||€ 386 Euro|
|All lens hoods||€ 77 Euro|
All (list) prices were compiled from information from <classicconnection.com>, <leicabeimeister.com> & <monochrom.de>. VAT may or may not have been added to the Euro prices - contact dealers yourself to check this.
N.B. dealers are free to undercut these prices if they wish. For instance, Hong Kong Leica Dealer Dr Joseph Yao contacted me in April 2005 to note he sells the following Zeiss items at subtantially lower prices than the (current) list:
Just a quick note to inform you that four of the Zeiss M lenses are now available [as of 25 April 2005]:
Zeiss Biogon T* 2.8/28mm ZM lens US$895
Zeiss Biogon T* 2.0/35mm ZM lens US$895
Zeiss Planar T* 2.0/50mm ZM lens US$695
Choice of chrome or black, worldwide shipping included.
Zeiss hood for Biogon 35 and Planar 50 US$79
The ZI body
Looks like a cheaper Leica, but better quality than the much cheaper Voigtländer Bessa alternatives. Time will tell. Initial reviews, despite carping about the "lower quality build than a Leica", all tend to agree that the oversized "high eye-point" viewfinder is pretty good (see links at bottom of page).
According p.4 of the Zeiss Camera Lens News Newsletter (No.20, September 2004):
With the ZM lens range for 35 mm still photography, ZEISS introduces at Photokina 2004 a set of newly designed lenses that brings to still photography the enormous optical performance, the resolving power, stray-light suppression, mechanical precision and durability of ZEISS cine lenses.
So it appears the Zeiss Ikon resurgence is mainly a platform to allow stills photographers to use Zeiss cine lenses. Cool! Remains to be seen how good they are when compared to old Leica favourites though…
Links to reviews, samples etc.
- Herbert Keppler interview with Zeiss' Dr Winfried Scherle (Sep 2006)
- Zeiss takes over distribution from Hasselblad (April 2006)
- Tom "Rapidwinder" Abrahamsson review (Jan 2006)
- Leica Forum - ZI body first user impressions (Jan 2006)
- Erwin Puts Zeiss ZM lens reviews (July 2005)
- Sample Japanese B&W images - Zeiss Planar 50mm ZM (June 2005)