RIP Zeiss Ikon film rangefinder camera

After the silver Zeiss Ikon film rangefinder camera ($1,600) was discontinued earlier this year, today Zeiss entirely stopped the manufacturing of all versions the Ikon. It seems that Zeiss has no plans to introduce a digital rangefinder like the Leica M in the near future. In addition to the Leica M7 and MP, Voigtländer also still produces several different classic film rangefinder camera models.

This entry was posted in Zeiss and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • zoetmb

    Is that sentence written badly or does Voigtländer manufacture the Leica M7 and Mp?

  • Ronan

    Where everyone see opportunity… Zeiss see’s ‘nothing’.

    Guess business school was a waste of $…

    • waterengineer

      “Opprotunity” would be to create a fantastic camera bringing it in for a price point, any price point lower that the stratospheric Leica prices. Fujifilm tried and missed on focus speed, IQ and lenses. Sony is now trying and is missing because of feature set, IE a fixed lens camera. This is really easy, expensive to start-up but easy. Cosina could rework a coupled rangefinder viewer with digital capture. It has already proven as Leica has done it. I agree with you that biz school was lost on you if you don’t see the price competition being a significant player.

      • So you’re saying it should be Leica-competitive but Fuji “missed” because their AF (!) was slow when Leica only has MF, their fantastic sensors (which is what I think you mean when you say “IQ”) are better than the junk Leica has been putting in their cameras so far, and because Fuji’s lenses are inferior to Leica’s? Have you seen the crap images produced by Leica lenses or is that something that you don’t need to check because they’re expensive?

        And Sony is “missing” the target because a RX1 is different to a Leica M? Must everything that doesn’t have a mirror be compared to a Leica? There are other cameras out there you know… most of which produce better images than any Leica too.

        • waterengineer


          You are thinking way too hard. My points are – to be clear: Fuji missed because of slow auto focus (for those that want need it) IQ is not superb (don’t believe me, go over to DxO and read for yourself.) Yes, Fuji’s lenses are inferior to Leica.

          Yes, Sony missed the target because of the fixed lens and no eye-viewer. You cannot convince me, or the world, that Sony, with the RX1 and Fuji with the X100 and X-Pro1 are not chasing Leica. You can try that argument, but you would be wrong. Does every mirrorless camera need to be compared to Leica? No, but it seems that way largely because many of the internet reviewed and pundits make said comparison.

          Now, to be fair to Sony, I am convinced that the RX1 is a “proof of concept” camera, the way Fuji’s X100 was. If the RX1 sells, which it seems to be doing, then I predict there will be a second camera. Unfortunately for Sony, and ultimately the consumer, that means Sony would need to develop a third line of lens (if the second camera is indeed an interchangeable lens camera.)

          What are these “other cameras” that “produce better images” you write about? If you are writing about the D800 you would be correct.

          • Keeping in mind Fuji is working its first generation products at moment, and we do see improvements with each FW update. While, I may be wrong on this point, but didn’t FujiFilm just submit a patten for a new PDAF system for X-series?

          • Fuji did have a patent on on-sensor PDAF when they first came out with their P&S with PDAF:

            The recent sensor-related patent was for a different colour filter array pattern. They also started talking about a different type of focus motor that would suit contrast detect focusing better.

          • I see where you’re coming from and I agree that a lot of manufacturers are going for a retro-look… starting from the original digital Pen. But people mistakenly think they’re going after Leica because they’re only familiar with Leicas. If you look at other cameras from several decades ago, they also looked very similar. It’s a whole different discussion if manufacturers back in the day wanted to go for a Leica-look.

            While good arguments can had on whether the X100 and X-Pro1 are going for a Leica look, especially because the X-Pro1 is overly chunky than it should be, the Sony RX1 is not going for any Leica look at all. Again, not everything that has no mirror is going for the Leica look. You might as well say they’re going for the Kodak brownie look as well. Sony has been innovative with their camera designs far more than Leica has been since its birth. For example:

            Also, what do looks have anything to do with the intended functionality and market? It’s no different to saying a Chrysler 300 is aimed at the Rolls Royce buyer.

            As for what other cameras/lenses produce better images than a Leica… there’s too many to list.

      • Sahaja

        Cosina used to make the body of the Epson RD1 digital rangefinder – I don’t know whether or not they assembled the whole camera.

        If someone would supply them all the electronics, including a sensor with suitable microlenses for M-mount lenses, they could probably make one. Whether or not it would sell enough to make it worthwhile is another question.

        A lot of people say they want a digital rangefinder costing much less than what Leica charge – but talk is cheap. If somebody actually made one many of those people would probably find they preferred a Sony NEX, a Fuji, or an Olympus camera instead.

  • stepper

    I have sorta out grown my desire for a digital rangefinder but oh what a marriage it would’ve been if Zeiss and Fuji started a family.

  • 800mm f/2.8 DX VR

    $1600?? I’m suprised it lasted this long!

    • ProtoWhalePig

      Right? For a few bucks more, you could get a new Fuji 6×9 rangefinder.

      • Good one. Sadly I don’t think many people get the joke.

  • Sad


  • ozbaz

    zeiss Ikon, when they made cameras from the 1950s to the early 1970s, only made a profit in one of those years. Otherwise they were subsidised by the rest of the zeiss group. Zeiss is a profitable company but they have chosen to focus on their strength i.e. optics. It is very hard to make money out of making cameras.

    • Daryl

      Good call Orbaz, Zeiss has been primarily known for their lenses, they made several good cameras but lenses are their strength. They are unique, premium lenses without a body of their own. For those that are sad, there are many used Zeiss and Leica bodies available at prices much lower than digital. Put a Zeiss lens on these bodies and you’ll see what Zeiss is all about.

  • Shooting 35mm film doesn’t make much sense anymore. Medium format film, on the other hand, still can hold its own even against the latest and greatest of what digital has to offer. If anyone’s interested in shooting film to see what it’s all about, they shouldn’t try anything less than medium format. Larger the better basically.

    • juno

      You sir, need to see/learn/think more before making a statement as bold, absurd and pointless as that. There are a lot of good and shit cameras(digital or film in any format) out there , and unless you’ve used them all you cannot claim you you’ve just said as a definite fact. While it is generally true that bigger format= better IQ, DR etc etc, the quality of lenses and films need to be taken into account too. A Pentax Auto 110 will produce technically better images than say, a Holga and that is fact.

      • Is it so hard to follow a link to see what the other person shoots before you embarrass yourself by talking outside your range?

        What’s funny is you have a few brain cells to realise that every format has both “good and shit cameras” but in the next line you compare “good” against “shit” as if nothing happened LOL

        It looks worse when you have all the facts at hand and yet your logic is ill-formed. You should’ve just kept quiet.

        • juno

          ahh, I forgot this is a rumor site on the internet. Please forgive my ignorance. I shall follow your advice and keep quite now but before I go I would like to say keep up with the good and sensible works/words sir, I’m a huge fan!:)

          • Feel free to haul me over the coals when it’s appropriate too 😀

        • Gene0Hackman

          he’s speaking real world fact and giving examples while you just dismiss a whole format all together because of ur own preference. I love shooting medium format too but to say it’s always better and there’s no point shooting 135 just shows your lack of knowledge….on top of what the other guy said I would add that you need to learn how to read too, what he said made a lot more sense than yours …..and no need being a sour baby just because you’ve been told that you’re wrong, personal attack and telling ppl to shut up is childish….but from ur reply i can tell i’m just feeding a troll so i kindda doing the same really lol

          • stepper

            35mm film is dead.
            There are very few (if any at all) practical reasons left to shoot 35mm film except for nostalgia. If you shoot 35mm for fun, then more power to you. But I can’t see any scenario where my work could benefit from 35mm.

          • Gene0Hackman

            quicker, smaller, cheaper, more film/camera/lens types+choices are just a few reasons….unless your definition of “practical” is completely different from mine. But that is not the point being argued here, please take some time to read over the comments again, this discussion is not about which format is better but rather if medium format is always better and there’s no point shooting 135, in which you’re wrong….and making statement like “35mm film is dead” is not a reason. I’m starting to think you and genotypewriter is just the same person trolling this space, c’mon now, you could do better than that.

          • lol… face it, although it’s the minority, there are other people with brains too, Gene.

            Have another good read of my original post before you make a fool out of yourself over and over. Also read this article… it’s never too late to learn:

            It’s not rocket science that every format has their strengths and weeknesses. So don’t take credit for stating the obvious that other people already knew. Fyi, I also shoot 35mm film.

          • stepper

            nope, i’m not Genotypewriter – I just agree with him here.

            Between 120, 135 and digital, 135 has no apparent advantages.

          • stepper

            ” this discussion is not about which format is better but rather if medium format is always better and there’s no point shooting 135″

            No, the discussion here is whether 135 is still a viable format among medium/large format and digital.

            “quicker, smaller, cheaper, more film/camera/lens types+choices are just a few reasons…”

            yes, these are all advantages of 135 over medium format but all of these disappear with digital in the picture.

            Face it, the only facors keeping 35mm afloat have to do with fun, nostalgia and coolness.

          • Gene0Hackman

            “If you shoot 35mm for fun, then more power to you.”.

            WTH is that s’ppose to mean?

            “But I can’t see any scenario where my work could benefit from 35mm.”

            yeah that’s your own preferences, no one’s forcing you to shoot 135 and telling you not to shoot medium format…so stop proclaiming that 135 is dead! It’s not btw, especially compared to sales of 120film. There’s a reason why most people starts doing analog photography with 135, and for the record if you want to talk nostalgia medium format is older, but i’m going off topic here. But here at least you’ll learn something today!

          • One practical reason to shoot 35mm film over digital:

          • You need to learn to read before anyone else, Gene… “shooting 35mm film doesn’t make much sense anymore” is not the same as “it’s always better and there’s no point shooting 135”.

            Embarrassed? You should be.

    • bidou

      If photography was only anout gigapixel pixel peeping, this comment would make sens.

      • The comment was on the technical strengths and weaknesses of different tools. Wasn’t trying to tell you what to do in your spare time.

  • fjfjjj

    I hope that Cosina will now finally produce a Bessa with the same baselength as their “Zeiss” Ikon.

  • barber6th

    It seems like such a waste– all the r&d that went into making the Zeiss rangefinder, which would and has proven to be an alternative to Leica, not merely based on cost, but ergonomics. The Zeiss is everything many people wanted the Bessas to be but weren’t, and couldn’t be because of the price.

    I’ve used the same Zeiss lens I have on my rangefinder on a full-frame digital SLR, and the respective looks produced are simply not the same. The look of film comes through loud and clear in many, many shots, perhaps a majority of them. And I’ve seen the side-by-side tests and comparisons, showing the superiority of a full-frame digital SLR. What I see in the latter are overly articulated lines and unconvincing planar recession back into space. Once the software overcomes this, I’ll be the first one to use a computer to do photography, which I occasionally do anyway. Of course the self-described pundits who do these test do not care about the look produced by film, and even darkroom printing (which even I can’t justify doing anymore)– they are simply counting units of data, which is like saying watermelons are better than apples because of their size.

    • I agree with everything you say but the “overly articulated lines and unconvincing planar recession back into space” part is hilarious… sorry. While people spreading misinformation is wrong, Zeiss fans deserve a “license to bull” because of how creative they get.

      Also, how exactly did you put your Zeiss ZM lenses on your DSLR? Was it using a Leica M “macro adapter” or by just holding the lens in front of the mount? Either way, I wouldn’t expect to see “normal” behaviour at such high magnifications from lenses that are mostly short with an intended closest focusing distance limit of 0.7m as well.

    • “It seems like such a waste– all the r&d that went into making the
      Zeiss rangefinder, which would and has proven to be an alternative to

      7 year production run isn’t too bad.

      • It’s not, but one would expect replacement, not an end of the line (which had many highlights). Others might even hoped for digital Ikon, but sadly Ziess stubbornly keeps saying that they aren’t interested in making digital cameras (pity, cause FF digital Zeiss would kill either Fuji or Leica or: both, depending on the prices)

        • Yup… Zeiss glass kills Leica, Fuji, Canon, Nikon, Oly, etc. except Samyang 🙂

  • `/1nc3nt

    Forget 135 film, just go for 120 film. Film on MF is still worth to play.

    In short term I am curious with all Leica cameras. Majority is film camera and without 135 film on the market will they retain their price?

    • What do you mean “without 135 film on the market”? 135 isn’t going anywhere. And if it’ll disappear – 120 will be gone for years already, as there’s less and less 120mm manufacturers on the market.

  • anon

    I’m pretty sure the prices are going to go up on ebay for no reason.

    “No longer made ! Collectible ! Get yours now while they last !”

  • onthedot

    I hope Voigtlander will use some of that commando engineering talent to build a Leica M compatible rangefinder. Maybe a R4D or R3D.

  • I own two one in silver, one black paint. They are my favourite cameras, bar none.

  • Back to top