Zeiss Ikon/Voigtlander/Contarex Hologon (10.0659) Superwide Camera w/ 8/15 (15mm f/8.0)
& other Hologon Ultra-wideangle lens variations - Part III

 

Basic Technical Specification:

Type:-Film based 35mm mechanical camera; Film format: 35 x 24mm; Material: largely Metal construction
Interchangeable lenses: No. Fixed lens type w/fixed aperture; Lens mount:- Not relevant;
Shutter Speeds Range: 1 sec ~ 1/500 sec., B (bulb) and T (time exposure); Shutter: Cloth type;
Viewfinder: Fixed, optical viewfinder type, above the lens, on axis with bubble level indication visible inside finder;
Synch: Provided, universal PC-type; Film Back: Removable, rangefinder camera type;
Lens: 3 elements HOLOGON design, Fixed, no diaphragm, fixed aperture of f/8.0; Picture angle coverage: approx. 110°
Film Advance: via Film advance lever; Rewinding via film rewind crank/knob
Dimension: approx. 44.4mm (D) x 150.24mm (W) x 8.89mm (H) (1.75" x 3.5" x 6"); Weight: approx., 750g (body & lens)
Bubble level: Provided on top of camera panel; Tripod Socket: Provided at the base section of the camera
Accessories: Hand Grip, cable release, lens cap (internal Thread); leather all-in-one compartment case, instruction manuals; boxes
Optional Accessories:- Center graduated optical filter; magazine backs etc.
 
A lovely front view of a Carl Zeiss Hologon 1:8 f=15mm lens with the over-sized optical viewfinder
Oh.. what a camera and a lens here...

Credit: Image courtesy of camera$@EBAY®. He also operates a popular EBAY STORE where he often lists many used RARE pieces of Nikon, Leica and other old classic photo equipment, Images are also well taken for visual confirmation for buyers - he is also one of my favorite bookmark Ebay dealer. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The ultra-wideangle lens itself on the HOLOGON ultrawide camera is not large in physical dimension and in fact, the optical viewfinder which was positioned just above the lens and occupied at the mid section of the prism area is more pronouncing than the lens itself. So, Zeiss has designed the lens with a larger diameter at the lens section to offset this area. Secondly, this has a lot to to with the protruding external lens element of the Hologon lens at the front, where the exposed optic can also be protected via design of a circular metal outer ring built around the Hologon lens. The entire camera is not as big as you thought it should be, as the depth of the camera only measures approx. 45mm deep, this is because the rear lens element is only 4.5mm away from the film plane and since there is no reflex housing as in the case of a SLR camera, so, much space has been saved to keep the dimension down. The HOLOGON ultrawide camera is ALL ABOUT the lens and you can quote it is a camera Zeiss has built for the lens rather than in conventional manner that manufacturers designed cameras to accommodate many types and varieties of lenses and probably for the ultimate collectors, this is one good reason why this camera is so special.
 
The shutter is entirely mechanical, offers a range of shutter speeds from 1/500sec down to 1 sec. As the aperture is fixed @ f/8.0 you can only adjust exposure setting via manipulating shutter speeds, something like a "mechanical way of shutter speed priority". There is no built-in meter reading, so use of handheld meter and/or guess exposure like the sunny 16 rules are applied. For practical reasons with a slow f/8.0 fixed aperture, Zeiss offered slower shutter speed control is important. The camera offers slowest camera set speed of 1 sec. and supplemented with two B & T settings. One requires shutter lock (handheld or lockable cable release) and the next doesn't. Even reasons given makes good rational and acceptable, I am not sure why it is not offered with a 1/1000sec top shutter speed.

The multi-function section near the shutter release and film advance lever of a Hologon 8/15mm ultraide camera, 1972
The shutter speed dial or the film advance level section is quite interesting. It is comprised in 4 levels. With shutter release button, threaded to accept cable release; and a film exposure counter just under, with the film advance lever next and located at the based is the shutter speed selection dial. The speed settings marked from T, B, 1 sec, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30 sec. in white on a black dial, 1/60 sec (maximum permissible sync speed) pained in yellow; top speeds 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500sec painted in orange. Despite all the controls are jammed into one section, it is not confusing all and very friendly to use. Just at the end of the film advance lever, Zeiss also provides an index for film plane.
   
However, as it is unlikely the camera is often used for close range, critical focusing (where it actually can't because Hologon lens used here on the camera is a fixed focus type); this is a less useful feature. Please bear in mind the lens has NO focusing helical within and cannot adjust focusing as conventional lenses. Due to optical nature as an ultra-wideangle lens which generates immense depth of field, the HOLOGON ultrawide camera is literally need not have to focus from 0.5m ~ infinity (OO). But it doesn't mean it has a focusing mechanism on the lens section for user to adjust focus. For critical close range focusing, the film plane index may come in handy but it is highly unlikely to be so demanding unless for scientific usage.
   
On the other side (left) of the camera top panel was well utilized. Under the rather flat film rewind knob, you will find a film speed reminder dial. As this is not an automatic camera, the film speed just serves as a reminder for user of the film type being used in the camera. There is a large index for film speed as well as another white arrow indicating directional rotation for film rewinding guide.
The bubble level sits on top of the optical finder of the HOLOGON ultrawide camera, 1972
The center section of the Zeiss Ikon HOLOGON ultrawide is not a pentaprism. It is actually an oversized optical viewfinder and made to be an integrated component of the camera. Personally, I would think the Optical Finder itself is also a stroke of genius from its creator. It is positioned just above the lens, on axis. The front portion looks so distinctive even if its purpose was just to provide visual guide for photographer with an estimate picture coverage.
   
Over the years, Zeiss has designed many optical viewfinders for the Contax rangefinder bodies and the widest picture angle was believed to be the dedicated 2.1cm finder for the Zeiss Opton BIOGON 4.5/2.1cm or the Turret Finder 440 universal finder which has the 2.1cm covered. Well, although the number variation can be small, but jumping from 92° to 110° is a different story. Although the viewable image exhibits very slight level of barrel distortion but overall, it does gives a good preview.

A very well captured photo of the Zeiss Ikon Hologon ultrawide camera with essential components setup well arranged in an angle shot. Hologon 1970 model by Leica shop auction, Austria
More interesting is the inclusion of a bubble level rests at the top of the finder. This is a very practical feature so as to assist photographer to determine the film plane has been keeping absolute vertical to minimize perspective distortion. Further, the bubble image was also visible inside the viewfinder and user doesn't have to revert back to the top to check if the camera/lens stays perpendicular. The bubble level design was still being used on the Contax revived G-spec Hologon 16mm f/8.0 for the original 1994 G1 and G2 in 1996.

<<<--- A very well captured photo of the Zeiss Ikon Hologon ultrawide camera with essential components setup well arranged in an angled arrangement shot.

Credit
: Image courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House as well as some of the primary Images courtesy of camera$@EBAY® who also operates an EBAY STORE. Both online trade centres can find many used RARE pieces of Nikon, Leica and other old classic photo equipment, ALL images appeared herein belongs to the respective contributors and are copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.