Chris's camera pages

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex I (type 861/24)

Manufactured from 1953 to 1958, this is a very different 35mm SLR from the Contax S being manufactured by the East German arm of Zeiss Ikon at the time. The Contaflex is a compact, but heavy 35mm SLR using an X & M flash synchronised leaf-blade Synchro-Compur shutter, with shutter speeds from 1 to 1/500 second, and the camera is fitted with a non-interchangeable 45mm f/2.8 Zeiss Tessar lens.

The viewing mirror is a non-instant-return type, so once an exposure is made, the finder is blanked out until the shutter is cocked again.

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 1

The camera back is removed completely to load film, much in the way of a Contax rangefinder camera, and a removeable take-up spool of identical design is used.

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 1 back

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 1 top view

The film is advanced with the large knob at the right-hand side of the top cover, the shutter being automatically cocked at the same time. The knob must be wound clockwise, but fortunately an arrow is prominently engraved in the top. Unlike the Contax, the mechanism also has useful ratchet built-in to prevent the knob being rotated the wrong way.

The Teleskop 1.7X lens for the Contaflex

Contaflex I instruction manual on Mike Butkus' excellent website.

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