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Zeiss Ikon Contessa Edit
These camera was designed by Hubert Nerwin, as part of the effort to rebuild the Zeiss Ikon name after WWII. The early folding rangefinder variants were like derived from the Super Ikonta's conception since they had that characteristic extra lens for the coupled rangefinder. The original name for the folding Contessa's camera design was Ikonta 35.
Folding Contessa Edit
|Contessa 35, this is the second version of this classic folder|
Produced between 1950-1955 it was a high end 35mm folding camera with catalog number 533/24. Zeiss Ikon took all detail into account for design and built, highly over-engineered by today's standard, the feel of them is different. It is not only the outside appearance, with lots of chrome used, a small screw that keeps the camera levelled when placed on a table, and a solid feel, but also the balance of the camera in the hands. The Contessas were fitted with the 45mm/2.8 Tessar lens, which is a great performer even by today's standards. Some had the coated Opton and T* lenses. Lightmeter is an uncoupled selenium meter, that covered a wide range of EVs.
The first Folding Contessa was produced between 1950-53 and had a Compur Rapid shutter and the second version 1953-55 a Synchro-Compur (1-500+B)
|533/24||35||1950-1953||f2.8 45mm Tessar||Compur Rapid||X synch, folding|
|533/24||35||1953-1955||f2.8 45mm Tessar||Synchro Compur||MX synch, folding|
(See also Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 (folding))
The non-folding ContessasEdit
|Zeiss Ikon Contessa LK|
Between 1960-1970 the name was used again for a family of non-folding cameras that included Contessa, Contessamatic and Contessamat. Initially the same name and catalog number was used, but later it was changed to a new catalog number
The letter E (entfernungsmesser) was added to the name of the cameras to indicate the presence of a rangefinder.
|Zeiss Ikon Contessamat|
|Zeiss Ikon Contessamatic|
In the mid-60s the Contessamat line came in production, these cameras had a speed priority system that allowed for an AUTO operation. The lens was a Color-Pantar 45/2.8 or a Tessar 50/2.8
|533/24||non-folding compact||1960-1961||f2.8 50mm Tessar||Prontor||range finder|
|10.0637||LK||1963-1965||f2.8 50mm Tessar||Prontor 500 LK||view finder|
|10.0638||LKE||1963-1965||f2.8 50mm Tessar||Prontor 500 LK||similar to LK but with range finder|
|10.0639||LBE||1965-1967||f2.8 50mm Tessar||Prontor 500 LK||range finder|
|Contessamatic||1960-1961||f2.8 50mm Tessar||Prontor SLK||viewfinder|
|10.0645||Contessamatic E||1960-1963||f2.8 50mm Tessar||Pr SLK Spezial||range finder|
|Contessamat||1964-1965||f2.8 45mm Color Pantar||Prontormatic||viewfinder|
|10.0652||Contessamat SBE||1963-1967||f2.8 50mm Tessar||P-matic 500SL||rangefinder|
|10.0654||Contessamat SE||1963-1965||f2.8 45mm Color Pantar||Prontormatic 500||rangefinder|
|Contessamat STE||1965||f2.8 50mm Tessar||Prontormatic 500SL||rangefinder|
|10.0351||S-310||1971||f2.8 40mm Tessar||Prontor 500 S||viewfinder|
|10.0354||S-312||1971||f2.8 40mm Tessar||Prontor 500 S||similar to S-310 but with range finder|
At the end of the life of the West German Zeiss Ikon company, two very innovative cameras branding he name Contessa came to life, S310 and S312. These cameras were developed by Voigtländer and after the merger of the two companies came to the market under the Contessa S-31x and the Voigtländer VF 101 name simultaneously. Auto exposure control made them ideal for the new point-and-shoot market in the 1970s.
- Model List of all Zeiss Ikon 35mm cameras by Clayton Rye
- Stephen Gandy's Notes on the Contessa 35
- Hubert Nerwin at the Zeiss Historical Society
- Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 - 533/24 - Sample Images
- Review at http://blog.bkspicture.com
- at www.collection-appareils.comby Sylvain Halgand
- Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 and Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 version 2
- Contessa LKE
- Contessa S310