Superb! 1956 Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa with Zeiss 50mm Sonnar lens, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
This is the last version of the classic Zeiss-Ikon Contax 35mm camera. This was Zeiss Ikon’s most xpensive, top of the line rangefinder camera and it is popular among collectors and photographers alike. Many fine photographers cherish & enjoy these cameras because of their delightful handling characteristics, their quiet shutters and their ability to use the exceptionally fine Carl Zeiss Contax lenses produced before and after the second world war.
The serial number on this Contax IIIa indicates that it as produced in late 1956 or early 1957 in Germany by Zeiss-Ikon Stuttgart. It’s in exceptionally fine condition and fully functional. It’s the so called “color-dial” version which simply means that the camera has a standard flash connector on the rear of the camera. (Contax aficionados prefer this model to the earlier “black-dial” version because the latter needs a special and hard to find adapter in order to use a flash.)
Fine Contax cameras have always been a desirable and this one is even more so because it’s been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The coupled rangefinder image is easy to see and works well. The shutter works smoothly and all speeds (B & 1 sec - 1/1250th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy. The shutter speed is easily set to any desired position.
The uncoupled selenium light meter works smoothly and reacts actively to light. However the selenium solar cell light which powers this type of meter was not designed to last 60 years. (The output voltage diminishes over time.)
The shutter speed and aperture controls are identical to the Contax IIa and are of course very easy to set manually. In case you’re wondering, the shutter speed dial is on the upper right of the camera just below the film advance knob, and the aperture control is on the lens.
The lens is a beautiful chrome plated Zeiss-Opton 2.0/50mm Sonnar lens with “T” coating. It looks virtually new and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better example. The glass is clean and clear. There are no scratches, just a couple of cleaning wisps (but you’ll need a magnifier to see them) and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and b&w films.
It comes complete with the lens and an original Zeiss film take up spool.
All in all, a very lovely, very enjoyable rangefinder camera. If you’ve been looking for a clean usable Contax, then you’ve just found it.