Zeiss Ikon Trona 210/3 (1926)

 Zeiss Ikon Trona 210/3

    The Zeiss Ikon Trona 210/3 is a German folding plate camera produced from 1926-1930 in Dresden, Saxony, Germany. It takes 6x9cm plates in a standard continental plate holder. It is one of a few plate cameras produced by Zeiss and a plethora of other companies that followed the same general design.

    The entirety of the camera is made of metal covered externally with leather. The bellows are made of a very robust leather.

    The lens is a Zeiss Tessar 105mm f/4.5; it is superb, like many other German designs of the time. It was made in Jena, Germany and comes mounted in the famous Compur S shutter. This was made by Friedrich Deckel in Munich, Germany and has speeds of 1s to 1/250s, Bulb and Time. The shutter needs to be cocked on any of the instant (Moment) speeds, butt not on the Bulb or Time (Zeit). When the shutter is cocked, the button on top of the shutter bay be slid back and the cocking lever moved more to initiate a 10-15s self timer. The aperture range spans from f/4.5 to f/32. Using any Compur shutter is always a pleasure due to its smooth operation.

    Like other designs, the Trona has three methods of composition. The most accurate is the ground glass on the back. This removes to make way for the film holder. Next, there is a wire sports finder that folds out in the front and back; this automatically adjusts for focus and movements. Finally, there is a large, clear, and bright brilliant finder that swivels for landscape and portrait shots. Attached to it is a small spirit level to assure a level shot.

    Unlike may other small cameras, the Trona has geared movements: a screw for shift and a screw for rise/fall. This can be used to great effect in this pocket-sized camera. To focus, the silver knob on the bed is pulled out and rotated to the appropriate distance.

    Plate cameras similar to this were once the camera of choice in Europe for press work and other professional uses--- just about everything a Graflex would be used for in the United States. Zeiss Ikon was the producer of several very nice cameras (such as the Box Tengor 54/2) that continue to be superb choices in the modern day. I love my Zeiss, and so do others, because it punches well above its weight. It's a large format camera that fits in your pocket!


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