Zeca-Flex is one of the rarest folding 120 film cameras. It's a real
TLR camera, 6x6 format. There were just a few folding TLRs and only two models for
120 film, the Zeca-Flex and the Welta Perfekta (Superfekta). Both were
made in the 1930s, before 135 film was made popular. The Zeca-Flex was
first issued in 1937 by the Zeh-Camera-Fabrik Paul Zeh, Dresden (brand: Zeca since 1922).
It's different from other folding TLRs in using different focal lengths for the viewing and taking lens. A smaller viewing lens doesn't need a full size mirror nor a full size screen. This
has three advantages: the viewing lens can sit closer to the
taking lens, the mirror doesn't need a folding mechanism and the
viewing screen and it's housing are much smaller. Only the taking lens
unfolds, like any other folder, however you need a sophisticated
mechanical link to move both lenses proportional to their focal length.
Size (mm): 182 x 95 x 65 (50 most of the housing) Weight: 1020 g Lens: Schneider Xenar 3.5/75, closest focus 0.9 m, viewing lens F 2.9 Shutter: Deckel (Compur-Rapid), T, B, 1- 1/400, F 3.5 - 22 Finder: TLR focusing screen, swiveling magnifying glass intergrated in housing Film advance: number indication device, first frame via red window
Here are some photos of the camera. There is a short introduction to the use of it and how it feels at the bottom of the page.
Camera front closed. Lens cap from a polaroid 402.
Cap taken off.
Seen from the back. Red Window. There are variants with a sliding cover for the red window instead of the hinged one.
Seen from the left side. Focusing wheel, film counter, film advance.
Seen from the right side. Opening button.
Camera front open.
Seen from above, focusing screen housing open.
Another view from above.
lens and shutter. There are variants with Compur (non Rapid)
shutters. I haven't seen other lenses than the Schneider.
Viewing lens. Distance indication scale above the lens.
Left side, camera open.
Right side, camera open.
Focusing screen, quite luminous (yes, it has to be cleaned). Focus on window frame, distance ca. 1 m.
Tip-up stand unfolded.
Camera back open.
a Zeca-Flex is easy, fluid and logical. It feels sturdy. It can fit
into a coat pocket, but it's quite heavy. Unfolding is very easy.
Focusing via a screen is precise, a swiveling magnifying glass intergrated into the housing of the screen helps a lot.
loading is very easy as well. Both spools sit in a cradle, easy to
lift, no fiddling to get the spools into place. Lift the film advance
button and swivel the cradle out (it's hinged), put the empty spool and
reinsert. Take out the other cradle, put the film spool into place and
reinsert. Insert film paper into the empty spool and advance to make
shure it's taken. Close the back and advance to the first frame via the
red window. Action the little lever of the film counter, it moves to
Open the camera (small button on the right,
toward the top) and slide the front into place until it engages firmly.
Cock the shutter (except for B and T), set speed and aperture. Open the
screen housing, set focus via the dented wheel (top left). Action the
shutter release. That's it. To close the camera put your thumbs on the
two levers on both sides of the back door, your index fingers on the
rails of the front and hold the camera with the other fingers under the
camera bed. Lift the levers, and with a little pressure from your index
fingers it will fold easily. After
the first photo, turn the advance knob until the line under the next
number matches the notch. It doesn't stop automatically.
I haven't seen any camera manual yet. So if you have one, please let me know.