Contarex Special

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The Contarex Special from Zeiss Ikon is a focal-plane shutter SLR launched in 1960, derived from the original Contarex I. Unlike that model it offers interchangeable prism or waist-level finders and two types of focusing screens (ground glass and split prism). Like the Contarex I, a small wheel for the user's right index finger adjusts the aperture; however this model lacks any built-in exposure meter. (The indicators for film speed and type around the rewind crank are simply memory aids to the user.)

While the Special offers an instant-return mirror, the lens aperture is "semi-auto": after automatically closing down to the selected aperture for the exposure, it remains there until the film advance lever is wound.

Zeiss Ikon's interchangeable film magazines were introduced after this model's debut[1] but could be used with the Special.


  1. Here is a May, 1962, advertisement in Popular Photography (Vol. 50, No. 5; page 5).