The Fixation | Zeiss Ikon


My struggle to keep the insatiable desire to be an early adopter in a perpetually advancing world of technology and a contrasting appreciation of the slower, more deliberate pace of analog products is nowhere more evident than in the realm of cameras. Sure, I love(d) my Nikon D90, but I also love my Canon AE-1 with equivalent (yet different) gusto.

The invigorated desire to shoot in an analog world has actually been perpetuated with the onset of the hot-to-trot Panasonic GF-1 (which we’ve got here at the Gear Patrol labs and will have a review of in the coming week). The GF-1 is a micro four thirds rangefinder camera that’s purposefully built, inspiring the photog using it to concentrate more on what he’s shooting that what he’s shooting with. This past week, I fell in love (again) with the Zeiss Ikon this past week at the PDN Photo Expo. Having had a chance to use one, it is officially this week’s fixation.


The Zeiss Ikon ZI is not for the faint of heart. First, it uses film, which probably eliminates the majority of those reading this post from considering it for purchase. Second, it utilizes Zeiss and Leica lenses, and if you’re wondering how much they cost then you probably shouldn’t even consider the Zeiss Ikon. Third, I’m smitten for it.

The Zeiss Ikon is a pure sensory delight to hold, it is weighted to meaty perfection and every tick and movement it makes from the shutter sound to the advancement lever feels like it was built by craftsmen and engineers who obsess, revise, and repeat. Think: Rolls Royce. Everything from the epic viewfinder to materials make your everyday digital camera seem positively toyish by comparison. It is a simple camera, this. The Zeiss Ikon is neither encumbered by a high resolution screen with 27 dozen control settings nor microprocessors that belong in a PS3. It is a simple camera that gets out of the way and captures the images you strive to shoot.

Editor’s Note: On my desk are two rolls of Kodak Ektar 100 black & white film. They sit here aching to be loaded into a camera like the Zeiss Ikon. In one of those moments where a tie purchase yields a new suit to match, one can only have a gutteral feeling as to how great, lustworthy, the Zeiss Ikon is. If you ever stop into a camera shop, make sure to pick one up. It will surely make you smile.

Cost: $1,407 (Body Only, Black) | $1,407 (Body Only, Silver)

Zeiss Ikon Flickr Gallery

The Fixation is a new series of posts focused on… well, fixations. Unlike our regular posting schedule, yet much like the fixations that have laid victim to many-a-coveting, lusting men, these posts will come without measured planning (though we’ll aim for a weekly basis). There is no true rhyme or reason behind the uncontrollable yearning of a man’s fixation; a moment that flirts with the dangerous line of ruined caution as he makes an innocent trip to get coffee and returns having acquired a three paycheck timepiece*, or “accidentally” having purchased a vehicle on eBay*, or in a moment of slightly drunken stupor, stumbled out of an Apple Store with bags full of kit*. No, the products you’ll see in this series are not traditional Gear Patrol fare per se, but rather, the documented evidence of an illogical, nonsensical want. We are men after all, and what are without the occasional flaw?

* – for the record, these incidents have actually happened to GP writers who choose to be unnamed.