The original Contaflex is a 24×36 TLR introduced in 1935 by Zeiss Ikon, and announcing the Contax II and III models. The name was reused from the 1950s for a range of 35mm SLRs with leaf shutters, see Contaflex (SLR).

The original Contaflex has the same type of metal focal plane shutter as the Contax I. It also has a built-in selenium exposure meter, and it was the first camera in the world with a built-in meter.

The viewer lens is a Sucher-Objektiv 8cm f:2.8 giving a magnified image for the angle of view of the 50mm standard lens. Two lines are drawn on the viewing screen to indicate the 85mm and 135mm frame. The focusing is done by a lever around the viewing lens. The finder incorporates an automatic parallax compensation with focusing. A big button on the right side is used both to wind the shutter and to set the shutter speed. The rewind button is on the left side.

The Contaflex has a special lens mount, incompatible with the rangefinder Contax models. The range of lenses includes:

  • Biogon 3.5cm f:2.8, with a special right angle finder
  • Orthometar 3.5cm f:4.5
  • Sonnar 5cm f:1.5
  • Sonnar 5cm f:2
  • Tessar 5cm f:2.8
  • Sonnar 8.5cm f:2
  • Triotar 8.5cm f:4
  • Sonnar 13.5cm f:4

The Contaflex was one of the most expensive cameras of its time. It introduced features that paved the way for the Contax II and Contax III models. But it did not really indicate the way forward, and was more an experimental model. Only a few were sold and today it is still a very expensive camera. The lenses made specially for it are yet rarer, and they are very expensive too.


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Zeiss Ikon Classic Cameras
Contax | Contaflex (TLR) | Super Nettel | Nettax | Tenax II | Tenax I | Ikoflex | Super Ikonta

Contax S | Contaflex (SLR) | Contarex | Icarex | SL706