Home Camera Repair: Nettar

Posted 2009.10.20 10.04 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

After all my recent successes, I decided to do some work on one of my new favorites – the Zeiss Ikon Nettar. This camera is 60 years old, made in 1949 it is a medium format 6×6 folding camera. With bellows and everything, it’s a real beauty, and in almost perfect condition! The only problem was the viewfinder was totally fogged up. Not surprising if it’s got 60 years of gunk in it.

Unscrewing the top plate.

Unscrewing the top plate.

Fortunately, cleaning a viewfinder on one of these cameras is a fairly easy task. Just remove the screw that holds down the winding knob, then remove the screw that’s underneath the winding knob. On the other side, there’s one more screw, and then the top plate just lifts right off. The only caveat is to be careful not to lose the two buttons – the shutter release and the opening latch, are ‘loose’ and held in place only by the top plate.

With the top plate off, the front and rear viewfinder lenses are easily accessable. The glass is only held in place by ‘friction’, being pressed into a lightweight metal frame. This means it’s easy to dislodge them if you aren’t careful.

Once I had access to the lenses, I just used a couple q-tips and a drop of windex, to wipe away the grime. Once it was done, the viewfinder was clear as crystal. It was a snap then to just put back the buttons and top plate, then tighten the screws down. Only about 10 minutes for the entire procedure, and now my Zeiss Ikon Nettar is as good as new!

The Nettar without its top plate.

The Nettar without its top plate.

One Comment

  1. Terry Collins says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    My thanks to you for your clear guide on cleaning the viewfinder on the Zeiss Nettar. I have just done this on my newly acquired Zeiss Nettar 517/16. It took me about 20 minutes as I had to fiddle about getting both viewfinder lenses to stay in place as I put the top plate back. The dirty viewfinder was the only thing that needed attention as the camera looks and functions like new. Now I can see through the viewfinder I am amazed how bright it is. Off out tomorrow to take some 50s style snaps.

    Terry Collins

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