In 1938 Zeiss Ikon Dresden
launched a camera called Tenax, an advanced 24x24mm camera with
interchangeable lenses, like the Robot, which had even a rangefinder, a
feature that Robot only introduced with the Royal series. This camera
was soon renamed Tenax II, because in 1939 they introduced a simplified
version with fixed lens under the same name, the Tenax (I). During the
war only few cameras have been made, but after the war production was
relaunched in the Dresden factory, then part of Eastern Germany. In
1948 this factory was nationalized (or confiscated) and became VEB Zeiss Ikon.
As Zeiss was a stock company, the share holders moved the seat of their
company to the Stuttgart plant in Western Germany and transferred all
the name rights with it. They sued the Dresden company because of the
names.The Dresden company
finally lost all lawsuits and the name of their camera has been
changed to Taxona. You can see a Taxona here. The West German Zeiss Ikon Company re-used the Tenax name for a standard 24x36 camera in the 60s.
shown here has probably been made in 1940, a year after the launch. Its
number is in he 12.000s, it is said that they made about 10.000 a year
in the beginning. They stopped to make them in 1942 because of the war.
The camera's main features are:
Zeiss Novar 3.5/35mm lens, F 3.5 - F16, a version with Tessar lens exists, but probably these are after the war production Fast shutter cocking and film wind via big lever Shutter: Compur, B, 1s - 1/250, no flash contact Size: 65 x 109 x 45 mm, Weight : 340 g
Front, finder closed and advance lever folded.
Seen from above, finder closed and advance lever folded. on the lens you can see the hole for a cable release and the distance setting.
Big lever for shutter cocking and film advance. Speed indication
window. Shutter release lever. Speed setting lever below. Around the
lens aperture setting and (not visible) distance setting.
from above, finder unfolded and quick advance lever unfolded as well. Rewind knob, rewind release and
exposure number indication. Turn to 0 after film charging.
from below. Tripod mount. Film compartment opening, Z (Zu) = closed, A (Auf) = open. Z = closed position.
Turned to A = open position and shifted.
Film compartment open and spool. Be sure that the spool is included in your purchase.
open, film compartment and spool.
With a leather case.
Taxona was much cheaper than the Tenax I, although it's the same
camera. But now prices have dropped, so I purchased a Tenax as well.
If you just want a standard lens, it's a good alterative to the more
expensive and more complicated Robot. It's easy to use. Film loading
needs a bit of attention. The wind spool has no hook for the sprockets,
so you have to fold the tip of the film leader sharply. Do at least one
turn with the film leader to be sure that it's well engaged. Make sure
that the sprocket wheel meets the sprockets. Then close the back, set
the counter to 0 and
action film advance and shutter twice. Spacing is not
as tight as the Robots, nevertheless a 36 eposure film will give nearly
photos. The rewind knob doesn't give a very good grip and the rewind
release has to be held down all the time of rewinding. So rewinding may
seem a little long, but do not open the camera before all of your film
has been rewound. A 36 picture film is more than 1.50 m nevertheless.
The Taxonas and Tenaxes are fun
to use. Both lenses are very sharp. As it is small and rapid, you
don't attract any attention in street photography. Last, but not least, it's mechanical beauty....