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Adox 300 favori envoyer Print
Photos by JPG text by JPG. From the collection of JPG
France Version française

Chronology of the Adox brand  New window

Manufactured in Allemagne from 1958 until 0.
Index of rarity in France : Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
Sold listing on Ebay.com New window
Inventory number: 10001

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Adox 300

Traduction de P-Y Petit.

The ADOX Company, also known as the Dr. C Schleussner Fotowerke GmbH, was specialised in photo chemical products.

During 30 years or so, between 1930 and 1960, this firm produced some cameras.

The best model of all is by far the ADOX 300.

But this 24 x 36 mm camera is a bit of a mystery. It is 830 grams of an unlikely and illogical mishmash of very basic techniques and futuristic technologies.


This camera belongs to the very small circle of 24x36mm camera with interchangeable backs (or magazines). Other members of this circle include the magnificent Contarex / Contaflex, the surprising Mamiya Magazine and the scarcely found and super prohibitive Kodak Ektra.


The “300” has a wide cocking lever, located on the shutter outer ring, somehow comparable to Konica III’s and Zeiss Tenax’s. Its lenses, depending on the manufacturing, can be a f2.8/45mm Cassar (3 elements) built by Steinheil, or a f2.8/45mm Xenar (4 elements), built by Schneider. Unfortunately, the lenses are not interchangeable.

Two shutters were used: the Compur Rapid and the Synchro Compur; both of them have speeds between 1s and 1/500th.

The resulting four combination of lenses/shutter couples are being found without any production timeline logic.


The finder is a brilliant finder, not collimated and without a rangefinder or parallax correction. Well, a very bright and large finder for anybody wearing glasses, but a finder that’s definitely not up to the standard of the camera!


A semi-automatic Bewi selenium cell gives indications of shutter speed / f-stop combinations in a dial on the left side of the camera.

The oval shape of the finder is typical of other cameras of this brand.

The interchangeables backs


Unlike other cameras in the “circle of 35mm with interchangeable backs”, the ADOX 300 is the only one to have “magazines” completely integrated in the camera, the back door of the camera being closed.

All other models need to replace or change the back of the camera.


There is a “Leica-like” key on the left side of the base plate that fully opens the back door, hence allowing the owner to change what I will call a “magazine” since it isn’t a proper back.

Those magazines have a hinge and one can open them using a slider. Their quality is just amazing.

Opening the back door of the camera will cause a steel slide to hermetically lock the picture tacking window, thus protecting the film from light.

There is a film counter window on the top of the magazines, which indications can be read from a triangular opening on the right top side of the camera.

There are also two dials that remind of the film type and ISO sensitivity. There is an opening in the back door of the camera, so that one can see the type of film and ISO sensitivity when the magazine is loaded in the camera.

In my humble opinion, this particular feature is unique.

Unlike its Zeiss Ikon competitor, the magazine isn’t an option, but an integral part of the camera.


In spite of the lack of rangefinder and interchangeable lenses, this camera and its very complicated magazine were costly to produce and therefore to sell… it was a catastrophic commercial experience for ADOX.

Very few cameras were sold between 1958 and 1962…


Realising (probably too late) the lacks of this camera, ADOX tried a salvage operation by working on a “500”.

Almost identical to the “300”, the “500” would have had interchangeable lenses, a collimated finder, and an optional rangefinder. The research and development costs finally led ADOX to bankrupt.


Only one (or several?) prototypes of the “500” were produced before the bankrupt.


On some “300”, the magazine are almost identical to the original Adox ones, but branded Leitz.

The mystery remains unsolved… it is very unlikely that Adox outsourced the manufacturing of magazines to Leitz… Leitz might have bought the equipment necessary to produce the magazines, when Adox went bankrupt?


What is known for sure, is that Leitz will manufacture magazines almost identical to Adox’s, for its microscope camera ORTHOMAT.

As many ORTHOMAT cameras were white, Leitz manufactured numerous chargers painted in white too.


As for the Adox magazines, I personally came across 3 types, which evolution depends on their serial numbers:

 

film type dial in red & black + ISO sensitivity dial in red & black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • film type dial in orange & black + ISO sensitivity dial in orange & black
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  • film type dial in orange & black + ISO sensitivity dial in red & blue
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    The first models have the following engraving on the top plate:

    Dr C Schleussner Fotowerke GmbH – Made in Germany -  


    The camera shown below has a CASSAR lens and a COMPUR RAPID shutter.


    These cameras have, theoretically, three numbers plus the ones on the magazines:

    There is a number on the accessory shoe on earlier models that disappear on later models

    A number is engraved on the right side of the base plate, facing the “Made in Germany” engraving, but seems to have been “forgotten” from time to time. This is the number used on warranty certificates or invoices. They have nothing to do with the number on the accessory shoe.

    Finally, the lens also has a serial number.


    As you may have noticed, I really like this appealing camera, despite all its lacks.

     
    Adox 300

    Adox 300

    Adox 300

    Adox 300

    Adox 300

    Adox 300