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

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