I found my little Ikonta 35 in a Las Cruces pawn shop about nine years ago. Its small size along with many of its features make it well-suited to travel and street photography. A very large number of these cameras were sold in military post exchanges in Europe in the '50s. Most had the three-element Novar, but this one is fitted with a front-focus, four-element Tessar. The Synchro-Compur shutter has speeds from 1-second to 1/500; the f-2.8 Tessar will stop down to f-22. The camera's size makes it unobtrusive, and the strap lugs make it possible to hang it around your neck for hip shooting.
Las Cruces Street Fair, September 2003
Once you get used to the camera, the Ikonta 35 is a good-handling, quick shooter. Unlike the Kodak Retinas from the same period, the Ikonta does not require the lens to be set back to the infinity focus position before closing. So, you can preset focus, speed and aperture; if you also wind on after each shot, then getting to the shooting position means just flipping open the front and cocking the shutter. Like most of the compact cameras of the time the Ikonta has a very small viewfinder window compared to any modern camera, but that is something one gets accustomed to with use.
The following pictures were made recently on Albuquerque streets.
There is quite a lot of film and TV production going on in and around the city. There is a large studio complex south of town and these big trucks are often found supporting location shooting in Albuquerque neighborhoods.