View Full Version : Different lens for Ica Ideal 325

Jiri Vasina
5-Dec-2005, 13:39
I'm almost finishing the preparations to enter the LF realm with a historic Ica Ideal 325 with a CZJ Tessar 1:4.5/16,5cm lens. I've tested the timings of the shutter, which is not accurate but can be used (for BW anyway). I've also created an adapter to fit a rollfilmholder for 6x9cm into the 10x15cm back opening. At the moment first roll of film is inside. I will also try to fit a planfilmholder as a second step.

But back to my question. Can I use (mount) a different lens on this type of camera? Or more precisely, which lenses can I use? The diameter of the round opening in the fixed "lensboard" is around 55.2mm (this "lensboard" can not be removed without seriously modifying the camera, which would mean also destroying the historical value). The maximum bellows extension is around 300mm (I plan to shoot mostly landscapes, I don't insist on 1:1 focussing ability). Also matematically and geometrically calculated, the minimum extension where the appropriate lens could be focused on infinity without the rail being in the frame is around 120mm (+-10mm).

What lens in what shutter would fit in the hole in the "lensboard"?

(for your information, I don't know anyone here shooting large format, don't know anyone owning a LF lens and in the used-equipment shop where I bought this camera, they don't have a single LF lens less then 70yo. I'm located in Brno, Czech Republic [hallo, is there anyone here?]. And having a 3month old baby and a mortgage that combined suck almost all the money away, I can not afford an easier way to forgo. But barring those difficulties, I'm keen on entering your league :-)

Thanks a lot in advance

Donald Qualls
5-Dec-2005, 14:59
Well, to oversimplify just a tiny bit, any lens between about 120 mm and around 240 mm that, in its shutter, will physically fit the hole can be used. You can make an adapter for smaller shutters easily enough (the one you have is, I think, a #3, which is the most common large format size); only a larger rear thread size would be a serious problem. There are limitations on what lenses will cover the film, but if you're adapting to smaller films that's less of an issue -- counting only historical lenses roughly contemporary with that camera, Tessars will generally cover a diagonal equal to their focal length and leave some room for rise or shift, and the 135 mm size was commonly used on 9x12 cm (and actually covers 4x5, but with very little room for movements). Nearly any lens made for a 4x5 camera and longer than about 165 mm is likely to cover your format, and any with the same rear shutter diameter as yours will fit.

If you shop German eBay for a bit, you'll probably come up with some of the correct Ica or Zeiss-Ikon plate holders to fit that camera; you can fabricate or improvise film sheaths if needed, and 10x15 cm film isn't all that hard to find in Europe (at a minimum, I believe Efke cuts one or more of their films in that size). Given the "pop-off" back design of the Ideal, you might also be able to fabricate an adapter to fit the original back mount and take modern standard 4x5 inch or 9x12 cm ANSI holders (the modern double dark slides -- externally identical, but hold different film sizes) and either incorporate a correctly registered ground glass in the adapter or maintain the same film plane as the original holders. Both of those sizes are readily available throughout Europe -- check which is easier to get locally before buying holders, but the back to fit is the same for both as long as modern holders are used.

5-Dec-2005, 15:07
Jiri hi,

I think if you check on APUG.org, you may find other Czech analogue photographers there -and it's worth paying a visit: lots of people with the strangest bits of knowledge who might even know off the top of their heads which lens/shutter combo would fit your ICA (I sure don't). Donald hangs around there as well, so you won't miss him and his immense vault of answers too much ;)

Good luck, Norm

5-Dec-2005, 15:37
I have a Voigtlander ground-glass back that's odd-size, 10x15cm or so. I'll bet that's what you have. Good that you have a rollfilm adapter!

You may only need to clean the shutter to bring it back to some accuracy. I've had good luck with lighter fluid, but not with paper shutter blades.

If the lens is okay, but the shutter is simply shot, tell us the diameter of the lens thread mounts, front and back. Maybe someone has a spare shutter.

If you want the camera to fold properly with a different lens best make measurements of how much room, front and back of the mount, to allow for the lens.

Perhaps among the group here we can find something that will work.

When/if I get home tonight, I'll do some measurements of some similar hardware.

Best to you and the new family,


Ernest Purdum
5-Dec-2005, 19:13
The size of the hole in your camera front indicates that the shutter would be a #2, a size which isn't made anymore. To fit a newer lens you would need to find one in a #1 shutter which will need a spacer to fill in the larger hole. A #1 shutter has a 39mm thread size.

Since the #2 was discontinued and because the #3 is big, heavy and expensive, lens makers have been squeezing their products into the #1 size, so there is a big selection available. Probably many people would suggest a 210 or 240mm G-Claron, but there are very many others worth considering.

Jim Galli
5-Dec-2005, 19:26
If luck is with you, try to find an 18cm Voigtlander Heliar. Excellent lens with much more pesonality than the zeiss. IMHO of course. It would be correct in age and look for your camera. A 21cm heliar would also work well but a 15cm wouldn't cover 10X15 very well I think. Again if you have luck, the Zeiss Protarlinse serie VII double and triple convertibles are stellar. Most common is 29cm and 35cm singles combined to make about 18cm lens. 2-29cm's is also useful giving a 16cm combined. Good luck to you.

Jiri Vasina
6-Dec-2005, 01:24
Thanks for your answers.

Donald: at first I started with the idea of shooting only rolls and creating a panoramic holder for a size like 6x12 or wider, but in the course of time I decided it's almost easier to fit a modern ANSI holder with a spacer/adapter. So I need a lens that will cover at least 9x12cm, preferably also 4x5". [a pack of 5 of 9x12cm ANSI holders should be on it's way to me] I also have an old metal holder for a 10x15cm, but it's quality is dreadful, i'd have to manufacture an adapter for it as well, so I'd keep it for spare parts. (as I have read somewhere here, the bigger, the better and I have already been bitten by that bug :-). I would prefer a more modern lens (but no money to buy a new one), which should a more reliable shutter. Also I'd wait with cleaning my only lens/shutter (for fear of damaging it) till I have at least an idea of a different usable lens.

10x15cm film is not so difficult to come by here, Foma cuts it's Fomapan 100 to even more exotique sizes (12x16.5cm?). And the prices are not bad, a 50sheet pack of 9x12 is around 12euro, 10x15cm is less than 15euro, 13x18cm for 22euro and 18x24cm for 39euro

Norm: I'll have a look there, it seems to be even deeper well of information than LFphoto.info :-)

JJ: I have the original ground glass (rather dim, but I haven't seen never versions or even fresnels, so mine is still the best I've seen :-) and it's in the size of 10x15 with markings for 9x12 and 6.5x9. I had to manufacture the adapter for the rollfilmholder (from wood for aviatic models, cut to precision thickness and glued together). I'll wait with the shutter cleaning, according to my measures the timings of (indicated) 1/150 and 1/100 are almost the same (measured as) 1/95 +- 10%, then the times between 1/30 and 1/5 are way off and have an error of 40%-55%, 1/2s is something like 2/5s +- 15%, 1s is more of 0.8s +-15%. and B is me... I think, that at least for BW, this is pretty accurate...

If the camera could be folded with the lens mounted, it would be a definite bonus.

Ernest: so any shutter equal or smaller to #2 (discont.ed) or #1 would be OK, as long as the rear element is not overgrown? OK, that is a good news.

Jim: thanks for the tip.


Ole Tjugen
6-Dec-2005, 02:17
The "#2" shutter is often used to refer to any of the "pre-standardisation" sizes, so you will find a lot of conflicting measures for it. The only size which should be called "#2" is the last one, which is the one that Schneider used for the 240 Symmar and 165 Angulon. It has a 48mm mounting thread.

The 10x15cm "Postkartengrösse" format is one of the "intermediate" ones which seem to have lost out to the 9x12cm and 4x5" sizes. It is enough larger than those that it won't fit in modern holders with the same external measurement, yet so much smaller than 5x7" / 13x18cm that it seems a waste to make holders in that size. Somewhere in my collection of "useless bits and pieces" I have a few 10x15 metal plate holders and an adapter to use them in a modern 5x7" back...

Mike Kovacs
6-Dec-2005, 06:45
If its a dial set Compur shutter, I have an article hosted on a "cleaning light" here:


That shutter was in my Voigtlander AVUS 9x12cm. Also, there is a complete step-by-step breakdown of a Compur Rapid which should be pretty close if its a rimset Compur. Do not flood clean the shutter and aperture blades of such an old shutter unless you are absolutely sure that the blades are metal. On this dial set Compur, they were not.