|Tropen Sonnet 4,5x6cm|
image by yalluflex (Image rights)
The Sonnet is a range of strut-folding plate cameras made by Nettel Camerawerk from about 1908, and later by Contessa-Nettel and Zeiss Ikon until about 1930. It is a wooden-bodied vertical folder, similar to the metal-bodied Kibitz. Both cameras might be seen as poor cousins to the Nettel strut-folders with focal-plane shutters. The Sonnet has a simple metal folding bed and a metal lens standard which runs out on this bed, positioned by pantograph struts (i.e. scissor-struts with a hinge half-way along). As in the Nettel cameras, the strut extension is adjustable with a focusing knob on the camera body, giving a focus control, and in some examples, the end of one of the struts acts as the pointer on a focus scale on the body. In addition, the camera can be focused using a ground-glass screen.
Unlike the Nettel cameras, the Sonnet has a dial-set Ibso, Compound or later Compur in-lens shutter rather than a focal-plane one, offering a much smaller (and slower) range of speeds. Available lenses included Nettel's own Anastigmats and Rapid Aplanats, Goerz Dagors and Carl Zeiss Tessars. McKeown notes that cameras sold in France often had French lenses (by Berthiot), and Early Cameras shows an example with an (English) Cooke Anastigmat.
The Sonnet was made in several sizes: 4.5x6 cm, 6.5x9 cm, 9x12 cm and 10x15 cm. Standard black and tropical models were made; notes at Pacific Rim Camera suggest that only the two smaller sizes were continued by Zeiss Ikon, and that these were only made in tropical finish. In fact, most examples seen of the camera of any age are tropical; this may be because these command higher prices and so are more likely to appear at auctioneers.
Most examples have a wire frame finder, with the wire frame hinged on the front standard, and a folding eye-pointer on the body. Some also have a brilliant finder. McKeown shows examples (one under Nettel and one under Contessa-Nettel) with a folding Newton finder on the body instead of the frame finder.
|Tropen Sonnet 4,5x6cm, Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar f4,5/7,5cm.|
Images by yalluflex. (Image rights)
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p715 (Nettel), 216 (Contessa-Nettel) and 1058 (Zeiss Ikon).
- 6.5x9 Tropical Sonnet, about 1915 (from lens serial number), with 4-inch f/4.5 Cooke Series-II Anastigmat and Compur shutter, at Early Photography.
- 4.5x6 cm Tropical Sonnet by Nettel Camerawerk, about 1915, with 7.5 cm f/4.5 Tessar and Compound shutter, sold at the sixth Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 6 November 2004.
- 6.5x9 cm Tropical Sonnet by Contessa-Nettel serial no. 589565, about 1920, with 12 cm f/4.5 Tessar and Compur shutter, and both frame and brilliant finders, sold at the 21st Westlicht auction, on 23 May 2012.
- Notes on the Sonnet, with a picture of a 6.5x9 cm Contessa-Nettel example, at Pacific Rim Camera's Photographica pages.