Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa

When the Contax Rangefinder was first introduced in 1932, it was one of the most advanced miniature cameras of its time. The Contax II (no meter) and III (with meter) were probably the first cameras to incorporate self timers and had the fastest shutter speed of the day, at 1/1250 of a second. The III was considered a professional 35mm camera, and the first to incorporate a built in exposure meter. The postwar IIa and IIIa (introduced in 1950) are improved versions. Zeiss Ikons invention of coated optics during WWII represented a major advance in optical technology and the Zeiss lenses on the Contax were the first to benefit from the advancement. At the end of WWII, Zeiss was split; the engineers were moved to Stuttgart, Germany by the allied forces, the tooling and machines were taken by the Russians who used the items to manufacture an almost identical camera called the Kiev.

  • Contax IIIa - 1950 - 1961
    • Zeiss Ikon AG, Stuttgart
    • Zeiss-Opton Sonnar 50mm - f/1.5
    • Metal focal plane shutter - T, B, 1.0-1/1250 second
    • 35mm film
    • The relocated tooling and equipment became the Kiew Camera works