☰ Menu
Art Deco Cameras

Zeiss Ikon Simplex 511/2


Zeiss Ikon Simplex 511/2
Zeiss Ikon Simplex 511/2
Manufacturer: Zeiss Ikon
Produced: 1935 -1937
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Self Erecting
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
Image Size:6 x 9 cm
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Nettar Anastigmat
Focus Type:Variable
Focal Length:105mm
Focal Range:2m - inf.
Aperture Type :Iris
Apertures :f/6.3 - f/32
Shutter Type:Self-cocking leaf
Shutter Speeds:T,B, I(1/100s, 1/50s, 1/25s)
Size Open (w x h x d):92 x 165 x 135 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):92 x 165 x 45 mm

Art Deco Credentials

star star star star
Significant: Pronounced and self evident

Art Deco Detail
Art Deco Detail

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


The Simplex is a striking camera molded in dark brown Bakelite. It has a distinctive Art Deco style although the rounded corners gives it a Steamline Moderne character. It is the only Bakelite camera made by Zeiss Ikon. The camera is a self erecting design for 6x9cm images on 120 film. It is fitted with a 105/6.3 Nettar lens in either a Telma or Derval shutter. The camera shown has a Derval shutter.

The Simplex has a swivelling viewfinder for portrait and landscape operation and also has a pop-up frame viewfinder. It has two tripod mounts and a sliding cover over its red window.

How to Use

Shutter speeds are 1/25s, 1/50s and 1/100s although the accuracy is not guaranteed.

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/22f/16f/11
OvercastBarely visiblef/16f/11f/8
Heavy OvercastNonef/11f/8f/6.3
Open Shade