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Zeiss Ikon Contessa (compact fixed lens)

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Contessa compact fixed lens series are 35mm film rangefinder / viewfinder cameras, manufactured by Zeiss Ikon AG., Stuttgart, former West Germany.

The Zeiss Ikon Contessa series started in 1950 and got various upgrades and re-modelings up to 1971. The early models were folding type, others made after 1960 were compact type. Zeiss cameras were very well made - even the cheaper versions, like the Contessa LBE. There are several variants of the models.

Contessa 533/24Edit

  • Same Zeiss catalog number with folding Contessa 35 cameras
  • This model is in break-up with the positioning and the aspect of Contessa precedents. It belongs to the same lineage as Symbolica
  • Produced between 1960-61
  • Rangefinder
  • Lens: Tessar 50mm f2.8
  • Shutter: Prontor
  • Uncoupled Selenium cell meter

Photos in [1]

Contessa LEdit

  • Produced before 1966
  • Very rare nowadays

Photo in [2]

Contessa LKEdit

  • Produced between 1963-65
  • Viewfinder
  • Lens: Tessar 50mm f2.8
  • Shutter: Prontor 500 LK

Contessa LKEEdit

  • Produced between 1963-65
  • Rangefinder
  • Similar to LK except rangefinder
  • Lens: Tessar 50mm f2.8
  • Shutter: Prontor 500 LK speeds: 1/15-1/500, +B +self-timer
  • Coupled Selenium cell meter
  • Cocking lever: short stroke

Contessa LBEEdit


  • Produced between 1965-67
  • Lens: Carl Zeiss Tessar f/2.8 50mm
    • Aperture: f/2.8 - f/22
    • Focus range: 1-6m +inf
  • Focusing: match the yellow images in the viewfinder, via a ring behind the shutter
  • Shutter: Prontor 500 LK leaf shutter, speeds 1/15 - 1/500 B+
  • Cocking lever: also winds the film, on the back side of the top plate
  • Frame counter: manual re-set, decreasing type
  • Viewfinder: coupled viewfinder/rangefinder, w/parallax correction bright frame
  • Exposure meter: coupled Selenium cell meter
    • Setting ready window on the top plate, a needle just between the two red arrows by turning the aperture or shutter rings
    • ASA range: 10-800, setting: press the small black knob on the shutter ring, and turn the ring to click on desired ASA/DIN,
  • Re-wind lever: folding crank, on the bottom plate
  • Flash sync. 1/30, automatic flash control by linkage between distance and aperture setting
  • Others: Self timer; Hot-shoe; Tripod socket 1/4 inch; Film memory window

Contessa S-310Edit

  • Produced in 1971
  • Viewfinder
  • Shutter: Prontor 500 S
  • Automatic with aperture priority
  • CDS cell, on the right of the lens
  • Electronic shutter Prontor 500 S. Synchro flash X at all speeds or, specifically with the 1/30 of second
  • Speed: 4-1/500
  • Viewfinder, very comfortable and luminous, remind the selected aperture (on top) - the speed determined by the camera (on the right) and the distance of focusing by pictograms (on the left).
  • Lens Carl Zeiss Tessar 40mm f/2.8 4 elements in 3 groups, considered for its optical high-quality
  • Minimal focusing distance 90cm
  • Shutter release w/ cable releasesocket, accessory shoe, indicator of battery and exposure counter, on the hood.
  • Simple cocking, by lever. In absence of battery the cycle of the cocking is not complete.
  • Supply by 4 batteries PX6245 or adaptations.
  • Backcover removable
  • Placed in the sole, one finds a crank of rewinding largely dimensioned as well as the key of locking of the back
  • A mechanical indicator of advance of film is present at the back of the camera
  • Very rare

Contessa S-312Edit

  • Rangefinder (similar to S-310 except rangefinder)
  • Produced in 1971
  • Lens: f2.8 40mm Tessar
  • Shutter: Prontor 500 S

S-310 and S-312 were made by Voigtländer. After the merger of the two companies they came to the market under the Contessa S-31x.


  • Manuals in Orphan Cameras by Mike Butkus [3]
  • in Ken Lyndrups website [4]

In French and English:

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