SUPERB! 1935 Zeiss Ikon Contax I, 35mm rangefinder, CLA’d, FRESHLY SERVICED!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
This is a prewar 35mm prewar Contax I rangefinder camera produced by Zeiss-Ikon in Germany. It was a historically important rangefinder camera that along with Leica, lead to the acceptance of the then new 35mm format by professional photographers. If you’re familiar with the Contax and the legendary performance of its lenses, you’ll also know that the black paint, Contax I was only briefly produced for four years from 1932 to 1936. Because of the relatively limited production run, and the survival rate (after more than 80 years!) it can be very difficult indeed to find a clean, fully functional Contax I. The result is that Contax collectors that have finally managed to find one, aren’t generally interested in selling it…
So if you’ve been searching for a Contax I, this original camera is the real deal and it’s in exceptionally fine condition. The serial number, Y.16156, indicates that it was built in circa 1935. It was a time when the world looked incredible different than it does now. This Contax was a testament of genius, of pride and faith in precision mechanics. It was also at the cutting edge of photography at that time and it was very very expensive. The high purchase price reflected the time, money and effort that went into the design, production and patient hand assembly of each camera. Now holding this Contax 82 years after it was produced, I see that the effort did not fade into the darkness of all the passing years… it is still a thing of beauty.
It uses normal 35mm film.
Understandably a Contax I is a desirable and significant camera. But what makes this camera extra desirable is the fact that it’s been carefully serviced and everything works as it should. Additionally the serial numbers match. The serial number on the body is identical to the number on the removable back. (This indicates that it still has the original back supplied with this camera.)
The camera has recently been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The shutter has received special attention, new shutter ribbons have been installed and of course it’s been cleaned, lubricated. All speeds are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along nicely and the fast speeds are clean and snappy. The self-timer has been cleaned and works correctly. The coupled rangefinder optical array has also been carefully serviced. The image is easy to see and focusing is smooth and accurate.
The lens a lovely 2.0/5 cm (50mm) Carl Zeiss Sonnar in black lacquer & nickel mount. It’s considered one of the very finest lenses of the prewar era. The lens is very clean & clear. If I look at it very critically with a magnifier, I can see light cleaning marks on the front element and a hint separation on the rear group. (Not unusual for an 81 year old lens.) However this will have only minimal (if any) effect on its fine performance. All functions operate smoothly and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and b&w films.
The camera comes complete with a lens and a Zeiss film take up spool.
All in all a wonderful black Contax I rangefinder camera. Perfect for photographers with a historical interest or reenactors. So if you’ve been looking for a fine, freshly serviced example, then you’ve just found it…