Tagged: Zeiss Ikon

52 Cameras – Week 6 results – Contaflex II


My second attempt was just as bad as the first, with only one usable shot.  I’ve ruled out any errors in my developing process by running another roll from a different camera at the same time.  It came out fine.



A bit of research tells me that these cameras were prone to this failure.  The wonderful click which I love is created by a mechanical symphony in motion. When the shutter button is depressed the mirror flips up, the aperture closes, and the shutter fires.  If this sequence does not execute perfectly. . .

In my case, the aperture is slow in closing.  Unfortunately, it is not reliably slow either.  It is shooting at somewhere between f2.8 and wherever the  dials are set.  Perhaps a good cleaning would help, but for now it will go on the shelf as a display piece.

(My thanks to Mike B on G+ who alerted me to the possible problem and its diagnosis.)

52 Cameras – Week 6 – Zeiss Ikon Contaflex

George and I have been busy, thus no post for last week. I intended this post to cover last week and to immediately start on week 7 tomorrow. Alas, perhaps not.

Sometimes a camera jumps off the shelf at you. This week I had the urge to shoot and develop my own black & white, and the Zeiss Ikon Contaflex was calling to me. Mine is the ‘II’ version introduced in 1954. It’s a nicely weighted, fairly small SLR with an uncoupled selenium light meter. It features a 45mm/f 2.8 Zeiss Tessar lens with an integral Synchro-Compur shutter. The meter is covered with a shutter, which probably explains why it still works well after 59 years. I obtained it from a collector in Maine via Craigslist.

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex

I loaded up a home-spooled short roll of HP5+ and headed out to soccer practice with Beth. The results were, um, less than spectacular.

The Contaflex II is a pleasant camera to shoot. Rings behind the lens adjust the shutter speed and aperture, and a mechanical computer on the light meter dial provides the settings. The mirror remains up after shooting, so you know if you can focus the camera is wound. I have shot some wonderful images with this camera in the past.

Something went horribly wrong this time, though. I developed in D-76 for the first time in a long time; I had been using Rodinal. My chemicals were fresh, but the resulting images were mostly unusable. The ones you see here have been heavily post-processed. I’m not sure if the failure was in the developing process or in spooling the film, although I suspect the former.

I will reload and try again, because this is not a fair example of what this camera can do.




Contaflex SLRs at Camera Wiki

Manual from Orphan Cameras

Want one? eBay is probably your best bet