Contax IIa: the ‘Leica’ of Zeiss Ikon

Contax II

It was now light enough to start taking pictures, and I brought my first Contax II camera out of its waterproof oilskin. The flat bottom of our barge hit the earth of France. The boatswain lowered the steel-covered barge front, and there, between the grotesque designs of steel obstacles sticking out of the water, was a thin line of land covered with smoke – our Europe, the ‘Easy Red’ beach” – Robert Capa, June 6th, 1944. D-day, one of the most import days in modern history. Captured by on the most famous photographers, with a Zeiss Ikon Contax II camera.

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Zeiss-Ikon Contarex ‘Bullseye’: beyond limits

Zeiss Ikon Contarex Bullseye


It is the camera of the superlatives, the Zeiss Ikon Contarex, the most complicated camera of all time. 1100 parts are located in the almost 1 kilo housing. A repairman must first remove 43 parts to get inside. No wonder the repair costs more than the almost priceless camera from the last glory years of Zeiss Ikon. Pride comes before the fall.

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Zeiss Ikon: the German camera empire

Zeiss Ikon

Zeiss Ikon is probably the most famous and biggest German camera manufacturer that was formed in 1926 by the merger of the classic four camera makers from the early years: Contessa-Nettel, Ernemann, Goerz and Ica. A very important and significant historical moment that financially was co-founded by capital of Zeiss. The company formed one part of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, another part being the optical company Carl Zeiss. That is the reason most Zeiss-Ikon cameras are fitted with the legendary Carl Zeiss lenses. Who sees a Zeiss Ikon camera, raises his eyebrows over the stunning performance these cameras delivered in those days. But like with all brands, you love or just hate them. Zeiss-Ikon only had fans because of their unbeatable variety of cameras and lenses. Nobody came near, not even Leica.

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