Silver Zeiss Ikon rangefinder discontinued

Cosina Japan announced that the Silver Zeiss Ikon rangefinder has been discontinued. This comes a year after Zeiss discontinued their Ikon SW (Super Wide) version. The black Zeiss Ikon ($1,618.00) is still available for sale.


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  • Banksie

    People often mistake this camera as being the same as a Bessa. It’s not. It was designed by Zeiss in conjunction with Cosina since Cosina was to be the builder. It’s actually as good as a Leica but costing less since production is in Japan and not Germany. It’s based on the original prewar Contax from Zeiss Ikon AG which a lot of people will agree was a better camera than the Leica. The Contax had a longer baseline than the Leica. The baseline of this current Zeiss designed (but Cosina built) rangefinder is 75mm x 0.74 magnification with an effective length of 55.5mm. The Leica M is only 69.25mm x 0.72 magnification with an effective length of 49.9mm.

  • Thyl Engelhardt

    It is unfortunate that both partners do not appear to have the know how for mass producing a digital version of this camera (even though Zeiss apparently has digital cameras for scientific purposes). The black one will follow suit, I reckon, and evidently without a successor.

    Banksie: Wages in Japan are now on par with those in Germany, if I am correctly informed. So, producing a LEica equivalent in Japan would cost the same. The Ikon is therefore certainly not on the same level as a Leica; but still a great camera.

    • Banksie

      That may very well be true (about wages.) I would guess it’s more likely an economy of scale issue, then. e.g., production is low at Solms compared to Sendai (imagine Leica building 30,000 cameras a month!), which makes the price difference between Nikon and Leica more apparent. The same no doubt with Cosina which can produce more efficiently than Zeiss could ever imagine and at lower costs, and not just wages but with assembly production.

      I remember in the late 1990s when Porsche hired Toyota to show them how to produce cars more efficiently and be more profitable per unit. And if Porsche were still building cars like they did when they were building the 964 and 993, the price of a current Porsche would be astronomical today.

  • Stephen B

    I heard that Porsche is effectively a hedgefund and make more money from investing than from their cars. Some would say that Leica make more money from their brand than from the cameras they sell. A lot of supermarkets make their money by getting cash up front from consumers and then taking three months to pay suppliers (thereby having a cash float of millions for 3 months of investing). Real estate agents do this too (get the commission in from the sale and pay their agents a month later and invest the amount for 30 – 45 days before handing it over). Leica enjoys a premium due to various reasons but a big reason is over demand and under supply. By increasing supply they lose the exclusiveness and it actually cuts into their premium. Remember there are enough diamonds in the vaults of the big diamond companies that if they put them all on the market, a 2 carat D colour VS1 would cost you $50. They keep the supply at a level that keeps the price up. Leica has little incentive to increase supply, just like Debeers has little incentive to over supply the market with their diamonds. Just saying, there are many business models out there that work and which focus on not giving the customer exactly what they want. Seems counterintuitive but luxury has always been different, and it works.

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