It’s difficult to discern its exact age, but there’s a fellow on the internet who is seemingly very knowledgable about these cameras and has one almost identical to mine, with a serial number almost the same. He used to think his camera dated from about 1915, but he’s changed that estimate to around 1918. My camera is just slightly fancier with an improved shutter. I just found two sources (one an old Ica catalog) that indicate my camera could have been made between 1920 and 1925, the early serial number leads to me to think it’s probably nearer the former in age.
So what led me to buy a new (old) camera when I live in a tiny little house that is pretty much full to the gills with art work, musical instruments, books, records, etc.?
If you’ve been following this blog, you might have read that I recently bought a beautiful old 1924 Kodak Folding Hawkeye, except for the bellows which I fixed (thanks for the tip Jim Grey!), it’s in almost perfect condition and didn’t cost much at all. I love the Hawkeye, I love shooting it and I love the pictures it takes.
Strangely, I think the thing I love most about the Hawkeye is framing shots through the minuscule bright line viewfinder. I know, I’m easily amused, but there is just something magical about seeing my framing in that tiny little viewfinder.
The Hawkeye does have a fairly serious limitation in my book, it only has one shutter speed and it’s 1/25th of a second, which started me thinking about acquiring another folder, maybe one with more than one shutter speed.
I decided that I wanted another folder that was even smaller than the 6×9 Hawkeye, that meant going to a 6×6, I briefly considered a 6×4.5, but thought better of it eventually. One requirement was that it had to have a bright line viewfinder. I also wanted to see what something of a little higher quality with a lens a little snazzier than the meniscus lens in the Hawkeye would be like.
Problem is, there are very few 6×6 folders with bright line viewfinders. The pickins are pretty darn thin in that area. What I wound up with was beautiful little Ica Icarette with a Compur 1/300th shutter and an f/6.8 Hekla lens, it seems like a horizontal Icarette with these accoutrements is a little rare, not that I care much about that. Even though I was looking for a 120 format camera, the Icarette actually fits 117 film, which is the same film size as 120 but uses a different spool.
For this first roll, I really screwed up the winding of my 120 Fomapan 200 onto the Icarette’s wooden spool, but I did get a few fogged but decent shots from that roll.
When I ordered this camera, even though it looked good, I at least expected the bellows to leak and the shutter speeds to be off, it seems like I was mistaken. The bellows (and camera covering) are real leather and are still leak free. I only tested the fastest two shutter speeds today (1/100th and 1/300th) and they both seem good.
All In all, I think this is going to be a great little camera, below are the results of the first roll. As you can see there are many flaws, light leaks and fogging from my inept re-rolling of the film. I didn’t fill the tank with enough developer (it was the second roll of the day and I forgot to top it off). Still, a few of these are not too bad. Everything today was developed in Cinestill monobath.
Because I proved to be such an idiot at re-rolling film, I decided to forgo that process entirely. I just cut down the flanges of a roll of Agfa Copex and popped it in. It seemed to work. I’m looking forward to shooting the Icarette again in a couple days!
One last thing, I pretty much forgot to focus on this roll, the Icarette is a scale focus camera with 4 different settings. I don’t think it mattered much here as I was using the Icarette’s smaller stops 12.5 and 18 mostly.
With the slower Copex, I’ll need to open up a bit. Hopefully I’ll remember to focus!
If you got this far, thanks for reading!