SUPERB! 1936 Zeiss Ikon Contax I, 35mm rangefinder, CLA’d, FRESHLY SERVICED
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
This prewar Contax I is from the dawn of 35mm photography. It was an exclusive, top quality rangefinder camera. This historic German camera marked the turning point of photography and it and the Leitz Leica pioneered the acceptance of 35mm film as a serious format. Without these cameras, 35mm film as we know it, might have just become another vague footnote in photographic history.
As you probably know, the black Contax I was only briefly produced for four years from 1932 to 1936 after which it was replaced by the chrome plated Contax II. If you consider its short production run, the limited numbers of existing cameras and its historic importance, it’s easy to understand why this camera is so desirable. Additionally, camera collectors and photographers who are fortunate enough to own a clean, working Contax I are generally not interested in selling them.
This 81 year old camera is in exceptionally fine condition, with only light signs of careful use. The serial number of this Contax I indicates that it was produced in in late 1936. The serial number on the body (Z26570) and the serial number of the removable back match. This indicates that this camera is still complete with original camera back.
This Contax camera is fully functional. The camera has recently been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The Zeiss shutter has received careful attention, new shutter ribbons have been installed. All speeds (B & 1/2 sec - 1/1250th) function appropriately. The coupled rangefinder works well, the image is clear and focusing is accurate. The sliding view finder mask on the front of the camera is intact and working. (It is intended to reduce the viewfinder image when using an 85mm lens.) And in case you wondered, this camera uses normal 35mm film.
This Contax accepts interchangeable lenses. A free lens is included with this camera. The lens is an early 2.0/5cm (50mm) Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens with the collectable black & nickel finish. This is the correct lens for the early prewar Contax cameras because the nickel finish perfectly matches the nickel plated knobs and controls of this camera. (Later Contax lenses were chrome plated, which looks colder and does not have the same warm glow that nickel does.) The glass is clean and clear but the front element has numerous cleaning marks on it. As such it’s fine for display or experimentation but if you intend to use this camera regularly, I recommend using another lens on it. (If you don’t have one in your collection, Contax rangefinder lenses are very easy to find on eBay.)
All in all, a very lovely collectable Contax camera! If you’ve been looking for one, you may just have found it.