During WWII Hubert Nerwin of Zeiss Ikon began planning for a new 35mm folder. His concepts were developed after the war to become Zeiss's first completely new postwar product. This series soon carried the name Contina and the high-end was given the name Contessa.
The first model introduced in 1948 had the Zeiss-Ikon designation Ikonta 35 522/24. A folding camera, with a 4.5cm (45mm) lens and short bellows; double exposure prevention was introduced by cocking the shutter with the film sprockets. Early versions didn't have an accessory shoe, and cable shutter release was directly on the shutter. Late cameras of this model came with an accessory cold shoe and the cable shutter release on the opposite side of the shutter release.
|Ikonta 35 522/24 |
image by Pablo Coronel (Image rights)
As Zeiss-Ikon was unable to produce sufficient Tessar lenses (due to war damage to their production facilities both by bombing and by moving the factories to the East side), this is one of the few Zeiss models ever to feature a non-Zeiss (Schneider Xenar) lens in a Compur(Rapid) or Prontor shutter. Later Novar lenses are found, sometimes with a Pronto shutter, and a few late models were equipped with a Zeiss-Opton Tessar T (coated). The edge sharpness of photos will vary according to the lens and the aperture. The Novar often is a bit soft in the corners, while the Tessar and Xenar will give round out-of-focus backgrounds when shot wide open; the coated Tessar* has very good tonal rendition and were optimized for color film.
The Ikonta 35 is a very light camera, and its small size makes it easy to carry inside a pocket, the viewfinder is small and an aux viewfinder is very helpful.
This camera has a front-mounted shutter release, which tends to push the camera down when the shutter is released, because of that some care needs to be taken when taking pictures, the best way to hold the camera (as any of the the Zeiss Ikon folding cameras) is to support the bottom with the palm of your left hand while looking through the viewfinder and shooting.
The lens is threaded in the outside for 27mm (S27) filters mounted in reverse, but it can also take 28.5 push-on filters
The model was continued in 1953 as Contina, as one of the first cameras of the new Contina series of 35mm viewfinder cameras (one was a rangefinder). After the initial series of folders, later models were rigid-bodied. Some had linked shutter/aperture rings, using the Light-value system.
The folding models had knob wind, frame counter and rewind fitted to the bottom; the later ones had top-mounted 180° lever wind, knob rewind and frame counter around the shutter release.
- Manufacturer: Zeiss Ikon
- Origin: Stuttgart, Germany
- Introduced: 1951 (folder); 1954 (rigid)
- Film: 35mm
- Shutters: Prontor-S, SV or SVS, 1sec-1/250 or 1/300 with X & M sync & self-timer, Prontor-SLK, Pronto, or Synchro-Compur
|Ikonta 522/24||1948-53||522/24||Novar 45mm/3.5,
Tessar (Opton-T*), or
Schneider Xenar 45mm/2.8
|Contina I||1951-55||522/24||Novar 45mm/3.5 or
|Contina II||1952-53||524/24||Opton-Tessar 45mm/2.8
or Novar f3.5
|Contina Ia||1954-55||526/24||Novar 45mm/3.5||Rigid||
|Contina IIa||1954-56||527/24||Novar 45mm/3.5 or
|Differences to the II are:
* has a twin range light meter, identifiable by a slot machined through the meter cover,
* plus a dual range meter with scoop cut from outer meter dial, which reveals a green section of scale,
* an EV number scale in the needle meter window,
* the lens mount front plate has very shallow horizontal grooves, and
* the viewfinder window is smaller with no frame around it.
|Contina Ia||1955-57||526/24||Novicar 45mm/2.8||Rigid|
|Contina III||1955-58||529/24||Pantar 45mm/2.8||Light meter + convertible lens||
|Contina "Ib"||c.1956||526/24||Novicar 45mm/2.8
|not labelled as "Ib"||
|Contina II||1956-58||527/24||Novar f3.5 or
|Differences to the IIa are:
* has a single range light meter,
* no EV number scale in the needle meter window with match-needle operation,
* the lens mount front plate is smooth, and
* the viewfinder window is larger with a frame around it.
|Contina Ia||1958||526/24||Pantar 45mm/2.8||Rigid|
|Contina Ic||1958-60||10.0603||Pantar 45mm/2.8||name in script on front||
|Contina-matic II||1958-59||10.0613||light meter||
|Contina-matic III||1959-60||10.0622||Pantar 45/2.8||meter|
|Contina||1962-65||10.0626||Color Pantar 45/2.8||updated, rounder styling; crank|
rewind, second viewfinder
window for bright-line
|Contina L||1963-65?||coupled meter||
|Contina LK||1963-65||10.0615||Color Pantar 45/2.8||coupled meter||
|Contina J||1964-65||10.0604||Color Pantar 45/2.8||no self-timer||
- ↑ After McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). Pages 1046-48.
- ↑ Listed by year of introduction as model names are non-sequential (e.g. the 527/24 IIa was introduced before the 527/24 II, etc.).
- Manual of the Contina III (529/24) in David Richert's website (archived)
- Contina user manual at Butkus.org
- Contina II and IIa user manuals at Butkus.org
- Contina LK user manual at Butkus.org
- Contina Matic II and III user manuals at Butkus.org
- Pages on www.collection-appareils.com by Sylvain Halgand:
- Zeiss Ikon Contina Ia, by Daniel Jiménez, at Del infinito al plano focal