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Zeiss Ikon Box-Tengor

Travel back to the earliest days of point and shoot photography--long before Lomography was born. Box cameras were introduced by Kodak in 1900 and became a favorite of amateur photographers for their simplicity and their unique images and are the clear precursor to Diana and Holga cameras we use today.

image from pbase

The Zeiss Ikon Box-Tengor was manufactured from 1926 until 1956. Early on there were several different models taking different film sizes and formats until around 1939 when the model 55/2 was introduced for 6×9cm images on 120 film. My camera is the model 56/2 which was manufactured from 1948 until 1956. It uses 120 film and takes 6×9cm images. It is a beautiful camera, perhaps the best looking box camera ever made (with some argument from the Kodak Beau Brownie people) and reminds me of Rollei in its fit and finish. The lens is faster than the earlier models with apertures of 9, 11, and 16 that are set by sliding a lever located under the lens. Above the lens is another lever for focusing. This camera was obviously made for the US market as the focus setting are marked in feet rather than meters: 3 to 6 feet, 6 to 20 feet, and 20 feet to infinity. The shutter speed is reported to be about 1/30 of a second and there is a time exposure setting. There are 2 viewfinders for portrait or horizontal photos. Other enhancements include a tripod socket (and, again mine was obviously made for the US market with its ¼” thread), cable release socket, and double exposure prevention.

The camera is unwieldy to use, the viewfinders are dim, but I think the images it produces are quite good with good color, good contrast, and just a touch of vignetting. So if you want to travel back to the early days of point and shoot photography and experience Lomography before there was Lomography, I suggest getting a box camera and trying it out. Box-Tengors are commonly found on ebay. I got mine for about $50 in great shape with a leather ever-ready case.

written by kdstevens

6 comments

  1. cinzinc

    cinzinc

    i like shots 4 and 9 =) i wonder how it feels carrying that around

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  2. copefan

    copefan

    cool box.....

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  3. stouf

    stouf

    Rhaaa I almost bought one similar once... Now I regret I didn't !!! Super shots are coming out of this pretty little brick !

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  4. breakphreak

    breakphreak

    the dreamest dream

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  5. jaypolkest

    jaypolkest

    Thrilling, informative and life enhancing

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  6. fed

    fed

    Beautiful shots! I just finished cleaning one I got from my dads collection. I also borrowed a tiny "Baby Box" that shoots 127 rolls. I think i´m going to use it for 35mm, taking 35x30mm negatives. These box cameras are really fun to play with, easy to use and dirt cheap. Most of them were built during the great depression and they´re still working! Thanks for the info kdstevens.

    over 4 years ago · report as spam