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Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 (folding)

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Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 is a 35mm film folding/rangefinder camera, manufactured by Zeiss Ikon AG., Stuttgart, former West Germany, and produced between 1950-55. Zeiss catalog no. is 533/24.

Contessa 35 series was a high end 35mm folding cameras. Although dating from the early 1950s, it has all the classic looks of the 1930s and even in its day would have appealed to the traditionalists looking for new technology in a classic guise. Zeiss Ikon took all detail into account for design and built, highly over-engineered by today's standard, the feel of them is different.

Contessa was the name given to a family of cameras produced by Zeiss Ikon in Stuttgart that folders between 1950-1955 and compact rangefinder/viewfinder cameras between 1960-1971. These were mid to high-end cameras. Non-folding cameras were Contessa, Contessamatic and Contessamat.

Versions of no.533/24Edit

  • First version of Folding Contessa (1950-53) has a Compur-Rapid shutter and X synch.
  • Second version (1953-55) has a Synchro-Compur shutter and MX synch.
  • Both of the versions are with the Tessar 45mm f2.8

2nd version specificationsEdit

  • Zeiss catalog no. 533/24
  • Lens: Tessar Zeiss-Opton T, 45mm f/2.8, four element, coated, filter thread 27mm, slip-on 28.5 mm
    • Aperture: f/2.8-f/22
    • Focus range: 3-20 feet +inf
  • Focusing: match the yellow rangefinder images in the finder, by front element focusing milled ring, very complex adjusting mechanism, w/a separate rotating wedges microprism window on the lens-shutter barrel
  • Shutter: Synchro-Compur leaf shutter, speeds: 1-1/500 +B
  • Cocking lever: on the lens-shutter barrel
  • Winding knob: on the left of the bottom plate, double exposure preventing
    • There must be a film in the camera for the shutter release working, turn the winding knob until the lock catches
    • The shutter can not be released unless the film is fully wound to the next frame
    • Furthermore the film is only be advanced after having released the shutter
  • Frame counter: manual reset, works with film in the camera, window and thumb adjusting wheel on the bottom plate
  • Viewfinder: coupled viewfinder/rangefinder, light green colored finder screen
  • Exposure meter: uncoupled Selenium cell meter, colour corrected, w/ a lid on its window
    • Film speed range: 6-400 ASA, setting: the ASA scale disc with two knob on the main setting knob on the right of the top plate
    • Exposure setting: needle window and scale beside the main setting knob, turn the knob until the indicator mark of the knob is in the range of the white needle pointer, then read the corresponding speed and aperture numbers, then set them on the lens shutter barrel,
    • For strong light metering, close the meter's lid and read the green aperture scale on the setting knob
  • Zeiss Ikon red dot setting: permits constant readiness, set the aperture and distance on the red dots, then you do not need further adjustments, all object from 2.5m to inf. will be sharp
  • Re-wind lever: on the right side of the bottom plate
  • Re-wind release: press down the knob in the center of the winding knob
  • Flash PC socket: on the lens-shutter barrel, and a green lever for setting X and M
  • Zeiss catalog no. and serial no. on the front cover
  • Others: Cold-shoe; Memory dial; Tripod socket 1/4 inch; Strap lugs
  • Body: metal; Weight: 611g


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