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1936 Zeiss-Ikon Super Nettel (236/24) with rare coated lens and original case, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!

Zeiss-Ikon

1936 Zeiss-Ikon Super Nettel (236/24) with rare coated lens and original case, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!

$ 675.00 USD


Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!

 

 This is a Zeiss-Ikon Super Nettle which was produced in limited numbers between 1934 to 1937. It is a high quality, 35mm rangefinder camera. This camera was Zeiss-Ikon's first attempt to directly compete with the specifications of the Leitz Leica II. The handsome Super Nettel offered a coupled rangefinder which made focusing quick and easy, an advanced focal plane shutter with metal curtains which were impervious to developing leaks or holes, a wider range of shutter speed settings (B, 1/5th -1/1000th ) and very convenient controls. All of these advanced features were integrated into a very solid die cast alloy body, wrapped in top quality Moroccan leather and finished off in Art Deco inspired and black lacquer and nickel plated trim. It was quite expensive when it was new. Unlike other Art Deco cameras from this era (such as the Kodak Bantam special which used now obsolete 828 film), the Super Nettle uses normal 35mm film. This of course means that you can still enjoy using it today.

 

 The controls are especially sophisticated and it features one knob to advance the film, cock the shutter and it can also be used to select the shutter speeds. (This arrangement was later used in the Contax II.) The shutter of the Super Nettle is a work of art with lovely brass gears and utilized two metal shutter curtains, which means that there will never be a problem with torn, wrinkled or pin holed curtains.

It was a brilliant design but unfortunately the camera was offered for sale at the height of the 1930’s depression. Sales were down due to its high price, completion from other manufactures, as well as being upstaged by its larger sibling, the Zeiss Ikon Contax I. So in 1937, after only some 12,000 units were produced, the Super Nettel production was halted. Only limited numbers of these cameras have survived to the present day and as a result it’s quite difficult to find, and fully functioning examples are rare.

 

The Super Nettel in this listing has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted inside and out. Everything works as it should. The shutter fires smoothly and all shutter speeds are appropriate. The coupled rangefinder array has also been cleaned. The image clean and clear and makes focusing quick and easy. The viewfinder is clean. The leather bellows are in excellent condition and are completely light tight. An important detail is that the serial number of the camera body (Y60766) and the removable back match. This of course indicates that the camera is still complete with its original back.

 

The lens is a Carl Zeiss 3.5/50mm Zeiss Triotar. It’s a classic lens that features three elements in three groups. The lens is known for its lovely rendering and bokeh. It produced photos with a very attractive, rounded look and it was very popular in Europe. I should mention that the lens is rather exceptional in that  sometime during its existence a previous owner went to the time and expanse to have the lens carefully disassembled, coated and reassembled. Most likely this occurred sometime after WWII ended because at that time there were a number of specialist firms in Europe offering this relatively expensive service. I’ve seen lenses that were coated in this manner a number of times before on various high-end prewar cameras (we’ve been in business for some 25 years) but up until now I hadn’t seen a coated lens on Super Nettel before. The nice thing about the coating is that it doesn’t change the lovely rendering, but it does have the advantage having somewhat higher contrast and of course being easier to shoot in bright sunlight.

 

This lens looks virtually like new. It’s clean and clear, no scratches, no cleaning marks. There are no separated elements, crystallization or other problems and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern and black & white films. All in all, a significant and very enjoyable prewar camera. Perfect for photographers with a historical interest who want to experience what it’s like to work with this rare 35mm camera.


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