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Author Topic: Zeiss Ikon Tengoflex  (Read 1747 times)
melek
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« on: May 20, 2011, 03:26:26 PM »


I've owned this for about two years. It was a Christmas present to myself. I guess that's another topic in itself.

This is a somewhat obscure camera from Zeiss Ikon. The story is that it was produced during World War II for trade with Sweden of raw materials. I'm not sure what type of raw materials, but all Internet references always say "raw materials" without further explanation.

Back to the camera. It's a twin-lens box camera that uses the famous Goerz Frontar. The Frontar is the only lens from a predecessor company of Zeiss Ikon to continue into the postwar era. While it mostly appeared on the Box Tengors, the Frontar -- an achromat -- also was on the VP127 Ikonette in the 1920s and then later on a line of very inexpensive Ikomatics in the 1960s that took 126 Instamatic cartridge film.

This particular camera came from Sweden, which is where most of the Tengoflexes still exist. The Internet and eBay, of course, have made them available elsewhere. I can say that I've never seen anyone out in public shooting with one.


Like all box cameras, it's And like the Box Tengor, on which it's based, there are selectable settings for distance and aperture, although just two rather than the three you'll see on Box Tengors that offer this feature. There are two speeds: Instant (roughly 1/25) and T.

The shutter release is on the top of the camera. I find that much easier to use than the side-mounted ones.

There's not much to using the camera. Load the film, wind to No. 1, take your photo, wind to No. 2 and so on. As far as I know, this is the only 6x6 box camera that Zeiss Ikon made. The others were rectangular format: 6x4.5 or 6x9.

The Tengoflex has a so-called brilliant viewfinder -- that is, a mirror and a giant magnifier.


There's not much more to say about the camera. My Tengoflex is in so-so condition, as you can see. This one definitely was a user. Some of the body covering is missing, as is paint on the trim and elsewhere. The lens was in good condition, but it was very dusty, as I recall.

It's an interesting camera to use, although most people probably wouldn't take it out in public because of its collector value. But I don't care about that -- I buy cameras to use them.

Here are some photos. I shot these on Agfapan APX 400. I processed in Rodinal. I don't recall the specifics, but I probably went with a 1+50 dilution. I bought 40 or 50 rolls of APX 400 when Agfa announced it was getting out of the business. I'm still sitting pretty on a nice stash.

These definitely have this "old world" feel to them, probably owing to the fact that it's a simple lens and it's uncoated.


Just a garage in an alleyway, shot from the upper floor of a parking garage.


Testing the camera's 1-3 meter setting.


A pigeon walked into the picture. He wouldn't stay still. Damn pigeon.


Bad day to be a squirrel. I found him sort of stiff, just laying there.


I don't recall the specifics. Probably around sunset.


Again, testing the 1-3 meter setting. I love the Frontar "glow."
Heck, some people pay thousands of dollars for this effect.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 07:10:09 AM by melek » Logged

br1078lum
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 06:31:59 PM »

You got that pidgeon at just the right moment Mike.  With that stride, it looks like it's on a mission.

Neat camera, I've only seen book references to it.  Nice to see a comprehensive photo display.

PF
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CarlosE
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 06:44:49 PM »

Mike,

All of them are very good for me. I hadn't idea about this model and his swedish origin. Was it the Frontar lens made in Germany?
What does  those numbers 1-3 ...3-6...and T, E and other means?
A portrait with this it would be interesting...

Carlos
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LarryD
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 07:04:51 PM »

Yep it was a Brilliant with a smaller brilliant and a better taking lens.
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Nick Merritt
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 07:40:19 PM »

That's a new one on me -- really nice, and very impressive shots, I must say.  I don't expect to find one of these ever, but I'd love to get a postwar Box Tengor if the results could be as good as these.

Raw materials -- hmm, iron ore?  (You'd need to make a lotta Tengoflexes to pay for that.)
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rgeorge911
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 07:48:55 PM »

Very cool.  I agree about that glow being much more expensive to acquire by other means.

The squirrel looks like he stayed quite still for you.

Thanks for sharing your insight about the camera, and the nice images.

Regards,
Reed
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LarryD
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2011, 07:51:24 PM »

So we discovered the secret and hidden roots of the Leica glow?
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P C Headland
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2011, 03:50:09 AM »

Looks just like a grown up box tengor, doesn't it?

The lens looks like it does quite well - the one on my Box Tengor is quite reasonable for such a simple camera.
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Mike Kovacs
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2011, 04:39:48 AM »

Very nice.

"Raw Materials" were almost certainly iron ore.
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melek
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2011, 04:41:17 PM »


The controls, from left:

T = pull up on this tab, and you get a B shutter setting. Push down for instant (1/25).

1-3 / 3-8 = Push the lever to the left for shooting from 1 to 3 meters. To the right for 3 meters to infinity. That should really be an infinity symbol.

E = shutter release or "expose". The white window indicates whether the film needs to be wound to the next frame. With the Box Tengors, white means not ready, while red means ready. That's the opposite of other cameras that use red to indicate stop.

How about that reversed Gilligan's Island image? I wanted to use something to show the view. It's the cover of a DVD sample that we received at work.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2011, 04:42:51 PM by melek » Logged

shadowfox
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 11:36:52 AM »

Another fine "camera obscura" post, Mike.
Those controls are really... inventive.
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jtzordon
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2011, 07:09:42 PM »

Lovely shots from a sweet looking camera.
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Philip
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2011, 05:23:33 AM »

Solid-looking little box. And it takes good pictures.

You've got me drooling a bit now (and not at the squirrel or pigeon).
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