This Cool Zeiss Jena Aerial Survey System Uses Film

This Zeiss Jena LMK-2000 aerial survey camera is up for grabs for anyone with a serious passion for everything aerial photography.

Today’s vintage find is quite an unusual package, but we’re sure it’s something aerial photographers will appreciate. Drones have now replaced dedicated aerial camera systems that use analog imaging. But for those who still want to give analog a try, this Zeiss Jena LMK-2000 Aerial Survey Mapping Camera system up for grabs is an available option, provided they have the budget for it as it’s not exactly cheap even if it’s old technology!

The Zeiss Jena LMK-2000, listed by Virginia Beach eBay seller happypurple, is listed as working, tested using a 24V DC power supply included in the package. The lens, shutter, film magazine, and crab controls on the gyro mount are working. However, the gyro mount needs to be purged of air, because the pump isn’t raising the mount as it should. While the seller said this should be an easy fix, prospective buyers who have no idea how to do it should get more details. The system has also been powered up and tested and shows no errors.

The system includes everything needed to start shooting:

  • All manuals and paperwork for installation and operation
  • All storage cases
  • All lens filters
  • Vacuum drive
  • Film drive
  • 2x film magazines
  • Mounts for attaching to the aircraft
  • 2015 lens
  • Tool and spare parts kit
  • All cabling
  • Ground/bench 24v power supply

While the system has been upgraded with a Locke-on Video Viewfinder, the original viewfinder is still included. The video viewfinder also includes the monitor and its mount, as well as the controls for the camera, video overlay, and intervalometer.

However, the listing indicates some work needs to be done by the new owner. All of it is easy according to the seller, but best ask how these are done:

  • Installing the new camera for the video viewfinder
  • Hydraulic lines need to be bled as they are airlocked
  • Installing a new IMU cable for the Applanix POS/AV unit and GPS antenna

Perhaps, the most important question is why should you part with $49,000 to get this system? Well, the seller said this could be great for starting or expanding your aerial photography or survey business, as a new digital system will “cost you as much as a new four bedroom house with heated floors and granite countertops.”

For those of us who have no idea how this system works, the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program has an in-depth resource explaining aerial photography and image processing using the Zeiss LMK-2000, which was the industry standard until around 2009. They mentioned that as analog equipment began aging and needing repairs, digital aerial cameras also began appearing in the early 2000s. When Kodak announced in October 2009 that they would be ceasing production of color infrared film, moving to a digital system became inevitable.

Curious? Interested? Confused? Go ahead and check out the eBay listing to find out more, and buy it now or make your best offer.


Photos from the ebay listing by happypurple