Cutest Camera in the World!


Here's the Zeiss Ikon Tenax I, possibly the cutest camera in the world!! If you're a cutie of whatever species or gender out there, you're going to love this camera!! It will match you!!

The Zeiss Ikon Tenax I is a tiny, mechanical, scale focus camera with a reverse Galilean collapsable viewfinder, and square format 24×24 on 35mm. Commercial automated scanners are confused by this and won’t scan these negatives correctly. For these negatives, it’s best if you have your own scanner. Custom scanning is too evpensive. It cost me US$53 + tax to get the roll for the gallery scanned. This was after the photo children at the CVS Photo Kiosk tried to scan them, then crashed their Noritsu twice, screamed naughty things in Armenian, and one of them kicked the machine several times (riot grrrrls every one and the managing gnome was away at lunch). I would not go to a sporting event with any of them, and I’m buying my own scanner, soon.

Anyway, the data:

Size: tiny, fits in your coat pocket.
Weight: much heavier than it looks.
Material: metal, glass, and leather.
Viewfinder: folding, reverse Galilean.
Shutter: Compur, 1 – 1/500 + B (very accurate), no flash sync.
Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar F = 3 3/4cm (intensely sharp, excellent contrast).
Aperture: f/3.5 to f/22, no click stops.
Focus: by scale, 0.9m to infinity.
Format: 24×24 square negative, 48-50 exposures on a roll of 135-36.
Vintage: East Germany, possibly 1952-1953 (I’m guessing).
Service life: probably forever.

I bought this camera with a clean leather case at an estate sale in South Pasadena, California for US$30, very clean looking, but with a sticky shutter. I got it CLA’ed at Camera Max for US$45. It now works perfectly. Harry at Camera Max says that Tenax I’s were made for a long time and are fairly common at estate sales, especially in Europe. Watch for one to buy. A Tenax I is the way to go for economical square photos.

written by herbert-4 on 2010-06-29 in #reviews #old-camera #square #cute #square-format #tessar #antique-camera


  1. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    Some good shots in here but it looks to me like they turned up the sharpness filter way too high while scanning these in...which is a shame considering how much you paid them to do it.

    The camera sale looks fun. Not a bad price either, I would have had a field day :P

  2. lawypop
    lawypop ·

    sweet review herb! and wow! camera sale!!! :D

  3. dogma
    dogma ·

    Nice camera indeed! and interesting experience with scanning :))

  4. simonjamesonweston
    simonjamesonweston ·

    Great story and very amusing to read about your scanning experience.

  5. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    53 US dollars??? I'm agreed with @falsedigital and there's also some moire effect like in picts n°38 (top right)! You really need a scanner and you can do a better scan for sure! however..great review my friend! maybe it's more easy to find the later version of this camera, it's called Taxona.

  6. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Noted!! Newton ring top right corner pic #38, exacerbated by too much sharp filter. I think the scanner I'll buy will be a Canon 8800f.

  7. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    Beautiful fotos and marvellous camera...

  8. cubilas
    cubilas ·

    have one too and this is definitely a great camera!
    but I agree on the scans...

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