Contaflex - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Contaflex I

1953

Improved model

Zeiss-Ikon

Stuttgart

West Germany

Image of Contaflex I Improved model

Lens:
f2.8, 45 mm Tessar, automatic iris diaphragm to f22. Depth-of-field scale. Serial no. 1310119 .

Shutter:
Compur, speeds 1 - 1/500, B. Delayed action. X and M flash synchronisation.

Construction:
Metal body.

Format:
36, 24 x 36 mm exposures on 35 mm film in cassette. Two Contax cassettes can be used or one standard cassette with re-wind.

Focusing:
Front cell to 3 feet.

Attributes:
Reflex viewing through taking lens. Roof pentaprism finder, split-image rangefinder and ground glass circle on focusing screen with Fresnel condenser. Mirror trips and is raised by spring.
Auto-stop on film advance. Film advance tensions the shutter. Exposure counter.

Serial Number:
D72420 .

With:

  • 1.7x Teleskop. Depth-of-field scale, focus to 1.2 metre. Front and rear caps. Accessory bracket. Serial no. 1737243.
  • Accessory shoe. Instruction book. Brochure on the Contaflex.
  • Filters for 45 mm standard lens, female thread: Yellow, in case, box; Green, in case; Red; in case, box.
  • Metal push-on lens hood for 45 mm lens.
  • Ikolor A filter, S55 size female thread for Teleskop. Metal, lens hood for Teleskop. Female thread that screws into the knurling around the lens.
  • Proxars, push-on A28.5 size for 45 mm lens: 1m, 0.5 m, 0.3 m, 0.2 m. In case.
  • Two re-loadable Contax cassettes.

Code Names:
861/24 - Camera. 861/03 - Teleskop. 861/07 - Accessory bracket. 861/02 - Accessory shoe. A1110 - Lens hood for 45 mm lens. 355 - Ikolor A filter S55. 319/861/24 - Instruction box. 540/1 - Cassette.

Contaflex II

1955

Zeiss-Ikon

Stuttgart

West Germany

Image of Contaflex II

Lens:
f2.8, 45 mm Tessar, automatic iris diaphragm to f22. Depth-of-field scale. Serial no. 1819893 .

Shutter:
Compur, speeds 1 - 1/500, B. Delayed action.

Construction:
Metal body.

Format:
36, 24 x 36 mm exposures on 35 mm film in cassette. Two Contax cassettes can be used or one standard cassette with re-wind.

Focusing:
Front cell to 3 feet.

Attributes:
Reflex viewing through taking lens. Roof pentaprism finder, split-image rangefinder and ground glass circle on focusing screen with Fresnel condenser. Mirror trips and is raised by spring.
Auto-stop on film advance. Film advance tensions the shutter. Exposure counter.
Uncoupled selenium exposure meter.

Serial Number:
J10488 .

With:

  • Steritar A. Prism attachment with front plate and rear cap. Baffle. For 24 x 18 mm exposures. 2 " separation. In box. Accessory bracket.
  • Filters for 45 mm standard lens, female thread: UV; Yellow; Green.
  • Metal push-on lens hood for 45 mm lens. Ever-ready case.

The Contaflex, introduced in 1953, was one of the first in a small group of 35mm SLR cameras having a leaf shutter, several further models were to follow in the Contaflex range. They were aimed at the upper end of the amateur market but were also used professionally especially for flash work as they had synchronisation at all speeds.

The models I and II had fixed lenses but were able to be fitted with an afocal device (called the Teleskop) that fitted in front of the lens to give a moderate increase in focal length. The Teleskop screwed into a bracket that slides onto the front of the camera. A stereo device could be fitted in the same way.

Early models of the Contaflex I had a Synchro-Compur MX shutter scaled in the old series of shutter speeds (1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50 etc.), a year later the Synchro-Compur MXV was fitted, this included delayed action and was scaled in the modern shutter speed series (1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30 etc.). Very early models accepted filters with a male thread.

The model II was the same as a model I but with the addition of a selenium exposure meter.

Steritar
The stereo unit comprises two prisms positioned in front of the lens to provide the stereo separation. The lens transposes the two images, so they can be mounted directly in a slide holder or printed in an enlarger. This is different to the Contax which used a pair of primary lenses where the images have to be transposed. Zeiss provided viewers and stereo projectors, the latter using the polarising principle.

This is a Steritar A, the model B fits the later Contaflex with Tessar lens, the model D fits the Contaflex with Pantar lens, the model C fits the Contax. There is also a model B for close-up photography.

The Steritar and 1.7x Teleskop attach to the camera via a bracket. The bracket slides onto the camera, the Steritar and Teleskop then screw into the bracket.

Code Names:
812 - Stereo Prism. 814/02 - Baffle. 861/07 - Accessory bracket. A1110 - Lens hood for 45 mm lens.

References & Notes:
ZI Price List 1957. Zeiss Historica Autumn 1986, Autumn 1995.

Further Information:
Bomback, Contaflex Manual, p. 164.

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