Zeiss Ikon Tenax I


Are you longing for square images but only have access to regular 35mm film? Zeiss Ikon Tenax is the answer to all your worries!

One of the only square 35mm camera’s out there and a true gem!

The Tenax makes square (24×24mm) photos on regular 35mm film and since the manufacturer is the famous Zeiss Ikon, you can bet it houses good optics and shutter. The Tenax has a 35mm f/3.5 (going from 3.5 to 22) Novar Anastigmat lens (some other models came with a 37,5 mm f/3.5 or 35mm f/2.8 Tessar lens) and a Compur-shutter which goes from B to 1/300.

Since it makes square photos you can take about 36 photos on a roll of 24 and about 50 on a roll of 36 exposures, so it’s also budget friendly. The Tenax is fully manual (speed, diaphragm and distance) which means you need a lightmeter or you need to use for example the sunny f/16 rule. You can be up for this or not, but I think it’s part of it’s charm. There is no flash sync or hotshoe. The big lever is the “rapid advance cocking lever” and used for cocking the shutter and transporting the film at the same time. This makes it very easy and fast for taking pictures.

It’s small, since everything that could make it bigger can be folded: the viewfinder and the cocking lever. It’s practically the same size as the LC-A, but it weighs a lot more, especially for a camera this size. That’s because it’s made entirely out of metal, which means it’s a very sturdy, well built camera. Because it’s heavy it fits well in your hand and you tend to shake less than with a lighter camera.

This camera dates back to the 1930s. After the Second World War the camera was redesigned and renamed Taxona. Some people might also know the Tenax II, which was a square 35mm rangefinder with interchangeable lenses and other more expensive features. The Tenax II is very rare and expensive. The Tenax I, though, is less rare and affordable (I paid 25 euro for mine).

I found the Tenax fun to use, although it’s a bit slow since you have to do everything manually. But this makes you think more before you take the picture. So this camera isn’t really a snapshot-maker like the LC-A. In case you’ld wonder: the line you see in the pictures was made by a little metal thingy inside the camera. The thing that keeps the film flat wasn’t in the right place.

To sum it all up: the Tenax I makes square photos, has a great lens, is well built, fully manual and a piece of history. A must-buy!

written by cubilas on 2009-08-10 #gear #review #square #24x24mm #tenax


  1. stouf
    stouf ·

    Awesome portraits ! And N° 15 is super ! Square format rocks !

  2. cubilas
    cubilas ·

    Yay, my first review on lomography!
    But I have a remark: the picture of the camera is wrong, it's not the Zeiss Ikon Tenax I, the one in the picture is the Tenax and isn't square format. I thought I had uploaded a picture of the camera together with the other ones. Could you guys fix this please?

  3. clickiemcpete
    clickiemcpete ·

    Nice review and great pictures! I like this camera a lot.

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