This is one of the most famous cameras in photographic history. To collectors today it’s simply known as the black Contax I, which was produced in Germany by Zeiss-Ikon for four short years between 1932 to 1936. But as an industrial design it was far from simple… it was a somewhat flawed, complex camera which was difficult to produce, difficult to service and difficult to use. An industrial diamond in the rough. Despite all that, it carved out its own unique place in history and put Zeiss-Ikon 35mm performance on the map. To many people of the 1930's it was the Duesenberg of cameras and owning one indicated that you were either very comfortable financially or very serious about your photography. Now-a-days it’s seen as a museum piece and fully functioning examples are rare. Worldwide I wouldn’t be surprised if there are less than a hundred examples in actual use.
The photos here were produced with a 1934 black Contax which we had the pleasure of having in our shop. The current owner hails from New York and he was kind enough to share his photos with us. These photos are courtesy of Ray Vickers. Copyright 2016 Ray Vickers. All rights reserved.
The photos on the first row were taken with its original Carl Zeiss 5cm (50mm) Tessar lens. The second row were taken with a rare prewar wide-angle Carl Zeiss 8/2,8 (28mm) Tessar lens on Kodak Portra 400 color print film. The third row photos were taken with a Jupiter 4/135mm lens on Fuji Superia 200 color print film.