Mar 15, 2012

A Dutch Foka box camera

Recently I received some photos of a Foka boxcamera with the question if I did know anything about the instrument. I thought it was a Dutch camera and that was all I knew, so I started a little search in my library. My index of 2600 photohistory articles coughed up two small articles from 1985 and 1986. It is not much that I found, but here it is.
The FOKA cameras were imported from Germany before the Second World War by a Mr. L.J.B. Albers from Rotterdam, who was a dealer of photo and film equipment. He bought them from the Balda factory in Dresden in 1935.
There seem to be several models: the most simple is called Foka Box 0. It is a metal box with a simple meniscus lens and three diaphragm apertures. It has a shutter for Time and Instantaneous and two little reflex finders. It took snaps of 6 x 9 cm on roll film. Like more cameras in the depression years of the 1930s it was available in several colors: black, red, blue, green and beige. It cost fl. 2,95.
The second model is called Foka Box No. 1. It has the same specifications as the previous model, but also has two tripod bushes and can take a cable release or delayed time release. It also has a large frame viewfinder on a side. Price was fl. 3,25. The frame finder did cost an extra fl. 0,60 as did the option to have bright reflex finders instead of the duller ones with a little mirror and ground glass.
The top model is the Foka Box No. 2, with a better Periscopic lens and a build in portrait lens. The usual fixed focus lens could take pics from 3 meters to infinity. The portrait lens reduced this from 0.5 to 3 meters. Price was fl. 4,95 without frame finder or bright reflex finders. For an extra fl. 0,60 it could be adapted to a size of 4 x 6 cm negatives. Cases were available in linen (fl. 0,50), leather (fl. 1,25) and leather with plush lining (fl. 2,25).
So, looking at all the possible combinations of colors and extras there must be a miriad of different Foka boxes around. Let's see what the Foka on the pictures is.

The camera is obviously the Foka Box No. 2, with frame finder and bright reflex finders. Below the lens is a scale to set the distance. On the right is the infinity symbol and on the left a letter P. I guess this means Portrait. On top (you cannot see it on these pics) is a pull up strip. Usally this changes the apertures. Above the shutter release seems to be another pull out thing. I don't know what that is, maybe a yellow filter? Below the shutter release you can see the bush for the cable release.
Above the lens there once used to be a name plate with the text 'Fotohandel Victoria Rotterdam'. That was the name of Albers' company. 


  1. Ik lees dit pas vandaag (26 apr.) en durf het volgende bijna niet te zeggen: dat andere pull out thing is toch gewoon de T instelling van de sluiter? En dat wéét jij toch ook?

  2. Dear all,

    the camera is indeed a Foka Box, but the plate with the name 'Fotohandel Victoria Rotterdam' is just the reseller. On the side of the boxcamera you will find the name Foka. For more information look at my website The Dutch Camera ( The website is also translated in English.

    Best regards,

  3. Ik kom een camera tegen met de naam FOKA er op en werd nieuwsgierig .Deze firma is nu een HEEEEEL grote in Rotterdam.