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I bought this really old German Zeiss Camera on Ebay for only 25 Euros. It was built about 70 or 80 years ago in Stuttgart/Germany, and it still works perfectly! Read more about it and see some sample photos after the jump.

When I received this camera I had no idea whether the camera still works or not. So, I decided to put in a 120 black and white film to find out more about this old treasure. The camera back can be opened after pulling out the locking bolt. Loading the camera is the same as with any other medium format camera, so it should not be a problem for anyone.
There is a knob on top of the camera. You have to press it for opening the camera’s “front”. The Nettar will snap into taking position! And there’s the lens!

How to focus: Distances are engraved on the lens mount. The Nettar is focused by turning the front-lens mount. It starts with 1.2 m and goes in small and then bigger steps until infinity.

Setting the Diaphragm: For setting the diaphragm on the desired lens aperture, turn the diaphragm setting lever until the diaphragm setting mark points at the desired lens aperture figure.

Setting the exposure time: Turn the milled setting ring until the exposure time setting mark is opposite the desired exposure time. Possible exposure times are B, 1/25sec, 1/50sec, 1/100 sec, and 1/200sec. Prior to every exposure, the shutter must be wound with the shutter winding lever. It took me so long to find out about this! Many many thanks to the World Wide Web!

So I took the camera for a walk through the city and do some test shots. It is a rather heavy camera compared to a Holga or a Diana. But I really enjoyed taking this one out for a stroll and it even was a nice day, not as dark as all the other winter days.

When the film was exposed I couldn’t wait to develop it (with Tetenal chemicals) and was really surprised by the results. The photos are sharp and everything seems to work just great in this old camera! It’s not an everyday camera, but I sure will take it with me every now and then. What a nice old camera!

written by kleeblatt


  1. jeffr


    great photos!

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. has


    My grandpa gave me his. It's 60 years old I think. A really good quality camera. :)

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. superlighter


    great camera, great pictures!

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. has


    great pics too!

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. simonh82


    Great lenses on the old folding cameras. Lovely photos!

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. neanderthalis


    Fantastic find!

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. a1con


    great photos..

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. megalithicmatt


    Very nice photos! FYI, your Nettar is the rarer version with the f4.5 Novar and double exposure prevention. The more common variant has the f6.3 lens and no shutter interlock system. Both cameras are excellent though.

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  9. carsten-schmitt


    You sure about the age? This looks very much like a post-war Nettar to me.

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. megalithicmatt


    517 series Nettar production started around 1949, so about 60 years old max.

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  11. andreas_antonius


    Sublime !
    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. eyende


    I got two of them and they are great to use. Recently enjoy this old fashion slow kinda photography...keep yours going!
    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. Mari-Xouana H Flou

    Great photos! Tack-sharp results and great tonality that exemplify the magic and superiority of medium format! Not sure if a lomography camera, because it can apparently outresolve any 35mm Leica! The Ikons where the top of the line cameras of the era, even upper class than Leica (Leicas were the poor man's Ikons!). It's amazing that one can find such great photographic tools at those incredibly low prices. And no worries about the age of the camera, these beasts will probably outlive us!
    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  14. duncandeephotography


    Great story and pics 😃

    over 1 year ago · report as spam