View Full Version : dresden ica trona 212

bill grulkey
23-Oct-2005, 21:19
I have just purchased the Trona 212 by Ica. It seems to be operating fine, aperatures change size, speeds vary according to a change in setting, sidways tilt is ok, vertical tilt is okay, ground glass is okay.

But what does it use for film? I have the film back with a tin metal removable piece, the back of the film holder pops open and there seems to be a spring metal pressure thing to keep the film pressed against the back of the camera. But what film, plate or sheet?

Juergen Sattler
24-Oct-2005, 06:26
I believe it uses 9x12 plates

Mike Kovacs
24-Oct-2005, 07:32
What you describe sounds like a back for using obsolete film packs. How does it interface with the camera? (slide in, pop-out)

Mike Kovacs
24-Oct-2005, 11:45
Some more thoughts - there were I believe 3 different Trona 212 models, at least in the later Zeiss catalogue after the merger. What is the focal length of the lens? 135mm probably means 9x12.

Once you sort that out, and find some film holders and film of the correct size and type, then you can think about trying it out. I made some nice shots with a Voigtlander 9x12 plate camera earlier this year, really my first serious attempt at large format. You may also need a ground glass back if you didn't get one with the camera. Make sure your holders can take film not just plates. There are sheaths available to adapt plate holders to accept sheet film.

It can take a while to put a complete working plate camera rig together.

Donald Qualls
24-Oct-2005, 17:42
I agree, what you describe sounds like a film pack adapter, and film packs have been out of production for about twenty years.

What you need is to find some "plate holders" and "film sheaths" to go in them -- the plate holders are made to hold glass plates (most likely 9x12 cm, that was the most common size of plate camera between about 1910 and 1925 -- and your camera had to be made in or before 1926, because Ica became part of Zeiss-Ikon with the 1926 merger), and the film sheath lets a sheet of cut film stand in for the plate.

The bad news is, there were *at least* seven or eight different, incompatible types of plate holder just in 9x12 cm size. The Trona used a slide-in type, but I'm not certain if it was the thick edge or thin edge type; Zeiss-Ikon later had models that used both. Measuring the length, width, and edge thickness of your existing ground glass back and film pack adapter, and asking careful questions when shopping, will greatly improve your chances of getting the right type holder on the first try. At a minimum, there will be at least one, possibly two models of holder (painted steel and porcelain coated, possibly) with the Ica name, and very likely the same model numbers with the Zeiss-Ikon name, since the Trona was carried over after the merger and sold as a Zeiss-Ikon model.

I agree with Mike, these cameras are capable of doing excellent work -- I've seen some exquisite images shot (recently) with 1920s vintage plate cameras, and see enough from mine to know they're capable of the same quality, if I can only get my own act together.

bill grulkey
24-Oct-2005, 19:35
Thank you to all. The lens is a Hecla f 6.6, 120 mm. The shutter sppeds go from 1 second to 1/125th seconds.

The ground glass holder is a slide in,and the film holder slips into the same grooves when the ground glass holder is removed.

The film holder is about 1/4" deep, and measures 3-1/2" x 5-1/4" aprox.

It also has a 2-1/4 x 2-1/4" square cut out on the back of the holder and a notation on the inside, hand written by a previous owner, which references a "#518 pack".

The Trona 212 was in production from 1928-1936, and followed the Trona 210. The Trona 212 supposedly is a 3-1/4 x 4-1/4" format, which translates literally to a 8 x 10mm format (?).

There is a plaque located inside the camera body, the case into which the camera folds, which reads "ICA A=C Dresden".

Donald Qualls
25-Oct-2005, 17:25
Okay, 120 mm lens fits with 3x4 format. That's a good thing, in that you can still get film (J&C Classic 200 and Classic 400, at a minimum) in that size. It's the same as "quarter plate" also, which means you might be able to get Ilford in that size if you can find a dealer who can/will import UK sale packages. Seems to me Efke comes in that size, too, though I haven't actually looked.

The bad news is that plate holders are going to be like hen's teeth; I probably seen twenty 9x12 plate holders for every 3x4. You might consider shopping for a "Hollywood back" which is a conversion spring back that would let you use common ANSI type double dark slides on that camera. You'd need to adjust the infinity stop, since the film plane would move backward a few millimeters, but that's not terribly hard on most plate cameras. And installing the Hollywood back will mean permanently altering the camera, but by doing so you'll make it much more versatile and usable, almost on par with the American press cameras of the following decades.

bill grulkey
25-Oct-2005, 23:49
So here is what I'm going to do. I have ordered a pack of JC 200 9 x 12 cm film to shoot. I have also cut 2 pieces of black 3/16th foamcore and glued them together (ie; 9cm x 12 cm x 3/8ths) to act as a "cushion". the foamcore lies between the film and the spring and is solid enough to act as a solid backing.

When the film arrives I will develop and post details. of course, I can only shoot ONE film per trip!!!!!!!