Taxona front

The Taxona

As I started to read more and more about photography, I realized the beauty of square pictures. Somehow they seemed to be automatically better composed (yes, this was before I discovered my now infamous love for instagram) . But I was afraid of medium format cameras at this time, because I thought films and processing would cost a fortune. I didn’t knew about the Holga at this time… But one morning, I saw a camera which had four good reasons to become part of the collection: the Taxona. It’s small, takes square pictures, fully manual and uses 135 film. And a fifth one: it’s German. It was about time to have a German camera in a German’s collection, wasn’t it?

About the camera: The Taxona was originally developed in 1939 as “Tenax” by Zeiss Ikon. The unique design with the advance lever and shutter release in front of the body allowed fast shooting (two pictures per second when your are really fast), while the square format gave the photographer 52 pictures out of a 36 pictures.

Taking pictures: The Taxona has not take up spool, so you need to use a spool from an empty film container. The camera has no light meter, so you need an external one, an app or just guess the right exposure. I suggest the paper light meter, mentioned in the Smena post. With the calculated values, set the aperture (3.5 to 16) in front of the lens and the right exposure time (“B”, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 to 300), set the focus and shoot. As the camera shoots square pictures, you don’t have to worry about the camera’s orientation. The minimal focusing distance is 0.8 m. In low light, attach a flash to the a PC terminal. As the camera has no accessory shoe, you have to fix the flash using the tripod mount.

Taxona front

Taxona top

Taxona back

Taxona back

Brand Zeis Ikon
Camera Taxona
Year built 1953 & 1957 (Build from 1953 – 1957)
Serial number 82953 & 135 595
Lens Novonar Anastigmat 1:3.5 f = 35 mm
Film format 135 film
Special features Takes 24 mm x 24 mm shots on a 135 film
Manufactured by VEB Zeiss Ikon – Dresden
Date of purchase 27.05.2010 & 05.2011
Price 3.500 HUF/ approx. 14 €
Place of purchase Soós Fotó Budapest

Tips&Tricks: Never pull up the advance lever with force. If it’s sticky, put the camera without film in a warm (50° C) oven or user some lighter fluid to loosen it. Remember that you will need an empty film spool to load the film, take it from an old film container. You might get them for free in a next photo store.

Film purchase & processing: Every 135 film can be used with this camera. Processing can be fun: every laboratory accepts the film, but the lomo lab service was the only one who was able to produce nice scans and prints for a reasonable price.

Further reading: (Manual)

The Taxona Flickr group
My pictures on Flickr


3 thoughts on “The Taxona

  1. About the camera: The Taxona was originally developed in 1339 as “Tenax” by Zeiss Ikon.
    Just drawing your attention to the date 1339 ?

    1. Hi John, thanks for pointing out. And for the written confirmation that someone out there really reads what I am writing. Also: what would have happened to medieval and renaissance art if the camera would have been really developed in 1339?

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