Contax III - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Contax III


Zeiss-Ikon A. G.



Image of Contax III

f1.5, 5 cm Zeiss Sonnar, iris diaphragm to f11. Bayonet mount. Serial no. 2036765 (1937).

Metal vertically running focal-plane, speeds 1/2 - 1/1250, B. 1 second could be obtained by releasing the delayed action with the shutter set to B. The speeds are varied by a combination of changing the slit width and introducing delaying cams and gears.

Leather covered metal body.

36, 24 x 36 mm exposures on 35 mm cine film held in special or standard cassettes. Two cassettes can be used or one with the film being re-wound. Could also be used with Contax Day Light loading spools having paper leaders.

Helical, scale to 3 feet.

Coupled swing-wedge rangefinder. Central double image, gilded surfaces to give colour difference. Direct-vision (lens/lens) view-finder.
Film advance by sprocket wheel. Auto-stop on film advance coupled to shutter. Double and blank exposure prevention. Film advance tensions the shutter.
Uncoupled selenium exposure meter. Calibrated 17 - 35 Sch. Exposure counter.

Serial Number:
E9797 (c. 1936) .


  • f2, 8.5 cm Sonnar, iris diaphragm to f16. Helical focusing to 1.4 m. Plastic rear cap and suede bag. Serial no. 1764721 (c. 1936).
  • f2.8, 3.5 cm Biogon, iris diaphragm to f22. Helical focusing to 0.9 m. Metal rear cap and suede bag. Serial no. 2268072 (1938).
  • f8, 2.8 cm Tessar, iris diaphragm to f32. Helical focusing to 3 feet. Serial no. 2267543 (1938).
  • Universal finder. For: 2.8, 3.5, 5, 8.5, 13.5 cm lenses. In plastic case. serial no. 13697.
  • Direct Vision Finder for 2.8 cm lenses. Unusual all-chrome finish.
  • View Finder mask for 8.5 and 13.5 cm lenses.
  • 42 mm push-on mount filters: G1, yellow, in brown case; GR50, green.
  • 51 mm push-on mount filters: G, yellow; GR50, green, in brown case.
  • Contameter. Comprises: Rangefinder; 3 view-finder wedges; 3 close-up lenses, 20, 30, 50. In flat box.
  • Extensible lens hood.
  • Zeiss wooden tripod. 23" high when closed, c. 4 feet open. Metal rotating top.
  • Cassette. Ever-ready case. Small cable release. 3 film strip wallets by Zeiss.
  • Instructions d. 1937. "Depth of Focus Tables for Lens f/5 cm. Zeiss Ikon Miniature Cameras".

The III appeared slightly later than the II on which it is based and does not appear in the 1936 General Catalogue. The III is essentially a II with the addition of an uncoupled exposure meter and extended re-wind knob which caries the meter controls. It was preceded by the Contaflex in being fitted with a photoelectric exposure meter.

As well a being more expensive than the Leica the Contax was much bigger, heavier and far less easy to use. At £78.5.0 with the f1.5 Sonnar it was an extremely expensive camera.

The 324 filters with this example are for the f1.5 Sonnar and f2.8 Biogon, they differ from other 42 mm push-on filters in having a much thinner mount. The 51 mm filters fit the f2 85 mm Sonnar.

Code Names:
544/24J - Camera. 1797/8 - Case. 436/70 - Universal finder. 432/3 - Direct Vision Finder. 544/7 - View Finder mask. 324/1 - Yellow filter 42 mm. 324/50 - Green filter. 42 mm. 327/ - Yellow filter. 51 mm. 327/50 - Green filter. 51 mm. 1340, 995/34 - Contameter. C2612 E - DOF Tables.

References & Notes:
BP 419915/1934. BP 459821/1935. BJA 1937, pp. 262, 548. BJA 1938, p. 560. BJA 1939, p. 560.


No. 00 Cartridge Premo





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