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Art Deco Cameras

Zeiss Baby Ikonta 520/18


Zeiss Ikon Baby Ikonta 520/18
Zeiss Baby Ikonta 520/18
Manufacturer: Zeiss Ikon
Produced: 1931
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Self Erecting
Film Type:127
Film Width:46mm
Image Size:3 x 4 cm
No. of Images:16
Lens Type:Novar Anastigmat
Focus Type:Variable
Focal Length:50mm
Focal Range:3 feet - inf.
Aperture Type :Iris
Apertures :f/4.5 - f/16
Shutter Type:Telma double Leaf
Shutter Speeds:T, B, I(1/100s, 1/50s, 1/25s)
Size Open (w x h x d):70 x 102 x 83 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):70 x 102 x 32 mm

Art Deco Credentials

star star star star
Significant: Pronounced and self evident

I consider this camera to warrant 4 stars for the following attributes:


The Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 520/18 is the smallest Ikonta camera. When the Baby Ikonta was introduced it was available with either an f6.3 or f4.5 Novar in a Derval Shutter. Within a short time the lens and shutter range was extended. Tessar f4.5 and f3.5 lenses were introduced. Later shutters included Telma, Compur and Compur Rapid. The Compur Rapid shutter was only available with the f/3.5 lens. It was produced from about 1931 to 1937. In the USA it was also sold under the name Ikomat 520/18

This version takes 16 3 x 4 cm images. It has a pop-up finder on the body. It has two red windows. The red windows do not have covers. The shutter is self-cocking and provides a range of shutter speeds.

How to Use

This camera takes 127 film which is still available from select outlets - search for 'Rera Pan 100-127' which is a black & white film. For those photographers in the UK, try Nick & Trick photographic services. If you want to use a particular type of film which is not available commercially, then you can cut your own 127 film from any 120 film. See my page on 'How to cut 127 film from 120 film'.

For the first frame you wind until the number 1 appears in the lower window and for the second frame you wind until the number 1 appears in the upper window. You then repeat for 2-8 giving 16 half-frames.

Shutter speeds are 1/25s, 1/50s and 1/100s although the accuracy is not guaranteed. The aperture range is f/4.5 to f/16

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

Remember that the exposure guide in the camera user manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summer's day in the UK.

If you are not sure about the light level, err on the side of overexposure - i.e. assume the smaller f number.

Where there is a choice, a larger f number will give a larger depth of field.

For the slower speeds, you may need a tripod to stop blur through shake.

Using ISO 100/125 film

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailShutter Speed (s)
with sharp edges
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16(+1)f/16f/11
OvercastBarely visiblef/16f/11f/8
Heavy OvercastNonef/11f/8f/5.6
Open Shade

Number in brackets indicates stops of overexposure.