Instruction Manuals

This final section is devoted to the operating instructions of the Gevabox camera, a unique design that appeared during the 1950s combining both classic and modern features. The Gevabox came with a direct vision viewfinder which allowed eye-level use but at the same time film arrangements followed the older style using a film carrier which had to be withdrawn from the side of the device. If you are not familiar with how a film carrier is handled, I would recommend The Brownie Camera Page which you see listed in the sidebar of this site. This has a good selection of instruction manuals which explain the procedure fully.

One of the first things a snapshotter does when he buys a classic camera is look around for an instruction manual. These tiny manufacturers’ booklets which describe the knobs and dials and levers on your instrument have become highly prized antiques themselves, and there are firms which supply photocopies of these publications for a price.

Let us suppose however that you are unable to get a copy of the manual because… Well, whatever the reason, there is no need to be despondent. If you have studied the previous sections carefully you will be reasonably familiar with what the old box is all about. Nothing you see on it is a mystery anymore. You must be prepared to tinker around with your instrument a bit. This would mean, for example, that you slide along a lever while peering into the lens, or open the camera back and study its interior. You will be surprised at the kind of innovative features many early devices had built into them. That lever you see on the side may well swing into place a yellow filter, or maybe a close-up lens. How close can you get to your subject with the lens in place? In the absence of the operating manual the best way to find out is by taking a few test pictures yourself. Or again, you may see three strange markings on the lens barrel--distant hills, a group of people, and a face : your camera lens has a ‘zone focusing’ facility which makes a close-up lens quite unnecessary. If you are still in doubt, a chat with the friendly vintage camera dealer down the street should help resolve most of your questions without much trouble.

This section deals with the Gevabox camera, a 120 film model which appeared in the 1950s. The operating instructions are worth a study and are reproduced below. My copy of the manual is in poor shape, so instead of including a scan I am giving the text with a little bit of editing here and there to cut out repetitious matter. 

GEVABOX 120 (6 X 9 CM)


Your Gevabox uses size 120 film and takes 8 pictures on each roll. Select 100 ASA medium speed film for normal pictures. Use ultra-speed film only for dull days or when taking indoor pictures.


You are all set to snap up the fun when you have learned these 7 easy rules for taking pictures with your Gevabox. Remember, practice makes perfect.

1) Move shutter speed lever to 100 or 50 or B depending on the kind of picture you are taking.
2) Keep the sun behind you for best results.
3) Stand at least 10 feet from your subject.
4) Keep your picture subject simple : use simple backgrounds.
5) Frame the picture carefully in the finder.
6) Hold the camera steady as you take the picture.
7) Immediately after taking the picture, wind the film ahead to the next number.


The small lever over the lens is a special feature of your Gevabox camera. It controls the speed of the lens shutter and lets you take regular snapshots as well as time exposures.

When the lever is set at 100 or 50, the shutter works automatically at 1/100 or 1/50 of a second. But when it is set at B, the shutter opens when you press the release down and closes only when you let it come up.

Set the lever at 100 for snapshots in bright sun. Set the lever at 50 for snapshots in open shade or when using a flash attachment. Set the lever at B for time exposures (for this last setting, the camera must be used on a tripod).


1) To open the camera turn the latch on the side of the Gevabox back as far as ‘O’ (for open).

2) Slide out the film carrier gently. Never force it out.

3) Insert a roll of 120 film in the lower spool chamber marked N (for new film). Tear off the strip of gummed paper and feed the beginning of the roll into the larger slot of the empty spool in the upper spool chamber marked E (for empty).

4) Turn the film wind knob until the backing paper is tightly stretched. Make sure the film is running straight from spool to spool.

5) Now put the film carrier back in the camera. Close the latch by turning it forward as far as ‘C’ (for close).

6) Open the cover of the red window at the back of the camera to see the number of the picture. Turn the film winding knob clockwise until first a hand, then some dots and finally the number ‘1’ appear in the window.

7) The film is now ready for the first exposure. Close the red window immediately after checking the number.

8) Wind the film on to the next number immediately after each exposure.
After your 8th picture is taken, wind the film on until the backing paper can no longer be seen in the red window. Open the camera as described in (1). Take the film out and seal it with the attached strip of gummed paper. Remove the empty spool and place it in the upper chamber in readiness for the next roll of film.

9) A flashgun can be used on the specially provided attachment shoe on top of your camera.


Now that you have read the instructions of the Gevabox camera, you may like to browse through the manual of another box, namely, the Agfa Click IV. Click on the image below to see a larger picture.