Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Tropen Sonnet


Name: Tropen Sonnet
Manufacturer: Contessa-Nettel
Country of Origin: Germany
Construction: ???
Production Period: 1919-1926


Plate / Film Size: 6.5 x 9cm plate / sheetfilm
Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar f/4.5 F=12cm (No 581107)
Shutter: Dial Compur 1 - 250 (258646)
Movements: Rise and fall on lens standard
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: c1920
Serial Number: Serial 8217 stamped into inside of teak body on top edge (next to release catch for the baseboard)
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 525


Tropical plate camera with teak body, brown leather covered metal baseboard and brown single extension bellows. This is the relatively common 6.5 x 9 size (as opposed to the 4.5 x 6 cm).

The camera carries the round metal Contessa-Nettel badge embedded into the teakwood on the top and side. The shutter has the German equivalent of the T, B, I marking, that is Z, D, M.

The lens standard slides out on the baseboard but is held rigid on scissor style extensions, whose extent (and therefore the focus distance) is controlled by a knob recessed into the top edge of the teak body. The focussing distance can therefore be preset or adjusted in use when viewing through the ground glass screen. The latter has a brown leather covering, embossed diagonally with the Contessa-Nettel name. The screen folds out with tan leather sides. A magnifier has been built into the hood by the previous owner (quite clearly not original).

The camera is in good condition, although it shows some signs of use. The shutter still operates. It came in a good quality hide case, which has a Wallace Heaton badge inside the lid. However there are two sets of dark slides in pouches (one contains two French A P slides, the other two C-N and one Rhaco slide), a sheet film adapter and a 120 rollfilm adapter. There is a separate batch of 5 dark slides (with at least one C-N and one more A P).

The camera came with a whole series of extras, many of which have no direct relationship with the camera. A cigar box contains various bits and pieces, but does include two auxiliary lenses (Proxar, which fits on the front of the Tessar, and a Distar, which is a little too large to fit), various Ilford filters and a fold-out holder to allow them to fit over the lens. There is a separate tobacco tin full of various gelatine filters and supplementary lenses!

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