Box Tengor

A Camera for Everyone

4 min read by Kitja.
Published on . Updated on .

With the Box Tengor, you’ll start taking good pictures straight away. It is so simple to use that you couldn’t go wrong. Box Tengor is the ideal camera for a beginner. Even a child can use it. Its indestructible metal body will stand more than an occasional knock.

“‘[N]ot a worthless toy’ — thanks for pointing that out! A page from the camera manual, retrieved from

Many generations of photographers learned the art of photography with Box Tengor, which was first manufactured and sold as a simple camera over eighty-eight years ago. Since then, numerous features have been added to the instrument.

A quick glance at the manual makes me wonder whether these old box cameras were really as easy to use as it seems... It is.

The history of Box Tengor camera.

Box Tengor model 54/2

The Box Tengor line was carried over from the Goerz line into Zeiss Ikon after the merger in 1926, and the line was given the Zeiss model number, prefixed by 54.

Initially, there were only three models: 54/2 for 6x9cm on 120 film, 54/15 for 6.5x11cm on 116 film, and 54/14 for 5x7.5cm on 129 film. They have a plain leather front, have two finder frames in a vertical line on the front. The winding key is towards the bottom of the camera.

The camera was redesigned in 1928. The finder frames were now side-by-side, and the winding key is moved towards the top of the camera.

In 1931, Baby Box Tengor was introduced in two styles, with catalogue numbers 54/18, and 54/18(E). The entire line was redesigned again in the years 1933-34. The front of the camera was given a decorative hexagonal front plate. The 54/14, 5x7.5cm on 129 film, was discontinued, and the new format, “54” 4.5x6cm on 120, was introduced — without a suffix number.

Box Tengor model 56/2

The 54/2 and 54/15 were discontinued in 1938, leaving just the model 54, which was discontinued the following year. In 1939 the Box Tengor 55/2 was released as a replacement for the 54/2. It has double-exposure prevention built into the wind system.

After the war, the last model of the box Tengors was to be sold. It was the 56/2 for 6x9cm on 120 film. It is easily recognizable by the satin chrome trim around the front. It has a Frontar f/9 lens, and flash synchronization. The production of Box Tengor cameras ended in 1956.

Box Tengor: cheap and easy to use.

Box Tengor, 1931

If you’d like to try shooting 120 roll film for a minimal price, The Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor might very well be the camera for you.

Attached to this article are photographs mostly produced in the early 20th century, before WWII. The Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor Camera was in my family possession for a long time.