An online guide to collectable cameras and related
Zeiss Ikon Kolibri
The Kolibri, 523/18, was one of the strangest designs to be produced by Zeiss Ikon. One
of Zeiss Ikon's greatest assets was their superb design
staff, who were always willing to push the envelope in camera design, especially in the pre-war years.
The Kolibri was a vest pocket folding camera, but without the bellows. It was designed to make 3 x 4cm
images on 127 film. The lens, mounted in a leaf shutter, was extended on a polished metal tube, rather
than by bellows. This was a simple camera, scale focus, framing via a folding finder, no double
exposure prevention. The camera was provided with a leather clam shell case which also contained a
small metal rod, a "foot" that allowed the camera to stand upright on a flat surface in the
vertical position. Over the years, the foot has been quite often lost, reducing the value of the camera to
The camera was available with 50/4.5 or 50/3.5 Novar in Telma shutter. In rim set Compur, it could be
purchased with 50/3.5 or 2.8 Tessar, or in a very rare
configuration with an f/2 Biotar lens, which was referred to as the "Night Kolibri".
A version was made for microscope use lacking shutter and lens.
The Kolibri made it's debut in 1930, and although it must have sold fairly well as it is reasonably
common today, it did not spawn any imitators. It was
discontinued in 1935.