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The Taxona is a re-baptized Tenax camera. 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.

In 1953 the fixed viewfinder was integrated into the housing and a film counter. Shortly after this the Dresden company finally lost all lawsuits and the name of the camera had been changed to Taxona. The West German Zeiss Ikon Company re-used the Tenax name for a standard 24x36 camera in the 60s.

The
camera shown here has been acquired in 1954, shortly after the name changing. It came, nearly unused, with all the papers, including the receipt. It has been very expensive in those days, the price was 249 Marks, about 2/3 of a month's salary in then. The camera's main features are:

Zeiss Tessar 3.5/37.5mm lens, F 3.5 - F16, a cheaper version with Novar lens exists
Fast shutter cocking and film wind via big lever
Shutter: B, 1s - 1/300, flash contact
Size:  70 x 109 x 50 mm, Weight : 388 g


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Front. 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..

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Back view. Finder.


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Seen from above.  Rewind knob, rewind release and exposure number indication.

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Seen from below. Tripod mount. Film compartment opening, Z (Zu) = closed, A (Auf) = open.

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Film compartment open and spool. Be sure that the spool is included in your purchase.

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Camera back open open, film compartment and spool.

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With original leather case.


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The case.

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The lens is quite short.

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The camera, its original box, a light meter and all the documentation.

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The Filux extinction light meter made by Platin-Werke.

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The reading of an extinction light meter.
There are numbers from 2 to 22. You take the highest number you can see, it's the 11 on the photo. You put the black part of the scale under the number you read. On the scale there are three scenes, indoor, cloudy and sunny/snow. You can now read the shutter/aperture combinations for your photo. It's an advanced guess, but it works.

The Taxona is much cheaper than the Tenax I, although it's the same camera. 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 and action film advance and shutter twice. Spacing is not as tight as the Robots, nevertheless a 36 eposure film will give nearly 50 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 are fun to use. The Tessar lens is 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....

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