Camera Porn: Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Medium Format Camera

A few years ago, I wanted desperately to get into medium-format film photography. A very expensive proposition, until I came across the Zeiss Ikon Nettar. (Production: 1951 to 1953, Stuttgart, Germany)

Just the look of the camera brought me to my knees. It folds up, it has bellows, made by Zeiss, it’s vintage and heavy. (All the good stuff!)

I ran a few rolls of film through it. This is from the first roll.

You have to pause and think about each shot. “Is it worth $3.00+?” I would ask myself. No firing off a dozen shots here. The price 120/220 film and developing and scanning will make 35mm film look cheap. (220 film is just twice the length of 120) I used Ilford HP5 400 for these shots. The tones that come from this film are so lush and the camera captures some beautiful, soft dream-like images.

One of the lovely things shooting medium format is slowing down, setting the aperture and manually focusing. Composition becomes more important as you don’t generally want to fire off a dozen shots- for a start you will have to load more film again. And the price. Ouch!

I ended up selling if to pay for another camera. Kinda kick myself now. Still, I did notice some great deals on eBay today!

Manual found here.

Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Medium Format Camera
Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Medium Format Camera
Old car in schoolyard, Stanmore, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Old car in schoolyard, Stanmore, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Old car in schoolyard, Stanmore, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Federation house and magnolia tree, Stanmore, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Federation house and magnolia tree, Stanmore, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Close to Sydney airport, Marrickville, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Close to Sydney airport, Marrickville, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Converted warehouse to apartments, Newtown, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Converted warehouse to apartments, Newtown, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Marrickville Water Reservoir.  Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Marrickville Water Reservoir. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Tree, Stanmore, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film
Tree, Stanmore, Sydney. Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Ilford 120 400 Black and White film

Until next time, best wishes.

Don

4 thoughts on “Camera Porn: Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/2 Medium Format Camera

    1. Thanks Marc! Two edged sword. The expense never ends, but like you say, yes, it perhaps makes you a better photographer. I have heard of photographers going out and only shooting 36 frames in a day on a digital camera. Curious, but not me!

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