Contaflex SLR 1953-1972
Late 1953 the first Contaflex was introduced into and targeted at the amateur marketplace. As a Single Lens Reflex it sported a fixed (and world famous) lens: the Tessar 1:2,8/45mm from Oberkochen. The engineers opted for a leaf-shutter design and as shutter they chose the new Synchro-Compur design from Deckel in Munich. The Contaflex I pages provide more information.
The Contaflex I was joined in 1954 by the Contaflex II which sported an uncoupled selenium meter under its rewind knob.
Both Contaflex I and II shared a set of accessories - filters, polarizers, close-up supplementary lenses - of which the Teleskop Auxiliary Lens and the Steritar A were the most eye-catching.
The Contaflex III (without meter) and Contaflex IV (with the same uncoupled light meter as the II) appeared in 1956. These cameras were fitted with a new 50mm, f2,8 Tessar lens of which the complete tubus was moved to focus (contrary to the I and II, which used front-cell focusing).
The new design afforded the interchange of its front elements. The auxiliary fittings were a 35mm f/4, an 85mm f/4, and, from 1961, a 115mm f/4. These auxiliary lenses were Carl Zeiss Oberkochen products and named "Pro-Tessar". Finally, a 1:1 macro version of the standard lens was also marketed.
The Contaflex III and IV renewed the accessory line: a new stereo set, the Steritar B, was developed, and a new set of filters were designed to fit the Pro-Tessars.
In 1957, another Contaflex family was introduced. These were the Contaflex Alpha and the Contaflex Beta; cameras of simplified specification which cost about two-thirds the price of the more exotic III and IV. The Alpha did not have a meter, the Beta had one. Both bore a Gauthier Prontor shutter and Rodenstock lenses in stead of the pricier Tessars.
The basic lens is a f/2,8 45mm Pantar whose front element could be interchanged for either a 30mm or 75mm, both in f/4. (In fact these Pantars and the new designed stereo set Steritar D were shared with the Contina III). A later variant, the Contaflex Prima of 1959, has a coupled selenium meter and allowed the use of the newly developed magazine backs.
A new generation of the more advanced Contaflex appeared in 1959. These were the Contaflex Rapid (without meter), and the Contaflex Super, which shared the coupled selenium meter with the Contaflex Prima.
In 1962 the Super was replaced by the Contaflex Super B, which in its turn was turned into the Contaflex Neu and the Contaflex Super BC (later to be renamed as Contaflex S).
The Contaflex 126 is the stranger in Contaflex county. It has more the looks of an Icarex, made fit to accommodate the 126 cartridge. In fact the 126 was designed by the Voigtländer folks at Braunsweig.