Contax is a camera brand from Carl Zeiss. Under this name different manufacturers and types were offered from 1932 to 2005 cameras, provided the lenses for Carl Zeiss ( or until 1958, the VEB Carl Zeiss Jena).

Contax cameras from Zeiss Ikon (Dresden)

1932 brought the Zeiss Ikon AG its first small-format camera on the market, the Contax. The development was led by Emanuel Goldberg. The first Contax was called from 1936 as Contax I. It was designed to compete with the Leica II, but already had a lens mount, a coupled rangefinder with a very large measuring base and a closure made ​​of metal slats. This was followed in 1936 significantly improved Contax II ( the first rangefinder camera ever ) and also the Contax III with integrated light meter. The production ended in 1945 with the dismantling of Zeiss Ikon in Dresden. This should be built in Kiev a camera production; due to improper disassembly and transport losses, however this was not possible. To meet the demands for reparations in 1946, the machines and tools at Carl Zeiss in Jena were made again in slightly Skeletized form. In small quantities, resulting cameras were used for the testing tool in Saalfeld in the sale, before the plants were transferred in 1946 to Kiev, where then the production of the Kiev Kiev II and III was taken at today's company Kiev Camera.

Contax cameras of VEB Zeiss Ikon (Dresden)

As early as 1938 had begun with the construction of a Contax SLR. At the 1948 expropriated Dresdner location of Zeiss Ikon, the VEB Zeiss Ikon, you resorted to this development and brought 1949 Contax S out. She was the first SLR with viewfinder prism, which provided a unreversed viewfinder image.

The first single-lens reflex viewfinder for the insight at eye level with unreversed, upright image was indeed patented in Hungary already on August 23, 1943 by Jenő Dulovits - he designed the Duflex ( 1948 series) also the first 35mm SLR camera for this common today eyepiece - but he used no roof prism but individual levels.

As of 1953, according to the models referred to internally as A, B, and C, the technically much improved Contax D in the trade. She wore the letter "D " for the first time on the case ( the occasional assertion that " D" stands for " roof prism " or "Dresden" is not correct ). In 1956, Contax E followed with light meter, 1957, the Contax F. Since the rights to the name Contax in the Federal Republic of Germany and Western Europe were at Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen, the name Pentacon was used for exports there. In the U.S., the Dresden Contax cameras were sold under the name Astra Flex, Consol, Hexacon and Ritacon. 1958, the name Pentacon was generally used for the former Contax cameras.

Contax cameras from Zeiss Ikon (Stuttgart)

After transfer of the headquarters of the Zeiss Ikon AG Stuttgart at the company's location a production of rangefinder cameras there has been established. Appeared in 1950, the completely redesigned the Contax IIa, 1951, the Contax IIIa. These were significantly reduced compared to the pre-war models, also there was a flash synchronization. The cameras were set in 1962, as Zeiss Ikon focused on SLRs. These were the names Contaflex, Contarex, Icarex and SL 706 and were built until 1972.

Contax cameras of Yashica / Kyocera

After the end of the camera production at Zeiss Ikon 1972 Carl Zeiss lacked a buyer for its miniature camera lenses. Therefore, we looked for a partner. After a collaboration with Pentax did not materialize in 1972, a cooperation agreement with the Japanese camera maker Yashica was completed. Yashica was taken over in 1983 by Kyocera. Kyocera took over the production of the cameras. From 1974 to 2005 arose in the context of this cooperation, many cameras of different types.

The lenses were supplied by Carl Zeiss. In the early years they were actually manufactured at Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen, but acted soon mostly Yashica (or Kyocera ) and Tomioka as a contract manufacturer. When the lens name in the usual Zeiss terminology was used. This " Distagon " for wide-angle lens, " Planar " and " Tessar " for normal lenses " Sonnar " for fast lenses and "Tele- Tessar " stands for long focal length lens. Zoom lenses were called regardless of the focal length range always "Vario - Sonnar ".

In April 2005, Kyocera announced to discontinue sales of the brand Contax cameras during the year. This happened in September 2005. A service for existing cameras should be maintained up to ten years. The "Contax" brand still belongs to Carl Zeiss. But it is also still the subject of the cooperation agreement and can therefore by Carl Zeiss is currently not used.

Contax RTS system

As a first result of the collaboration appeared in 1974, the Small SLR Contax RTS. "RTS" stands for " Real Time System " and is intended to symbolize the instantaneous flow functions of the camera in real-time by electronic control. Together with the genuine accessory "Professional Motor Drive " (PMD ), a speed of five frames per second was achieved. The shoe was designed for the Contax RTS by F. A. Porsche and was modeled in the follow models. While the Contax RTS took up with the demands of a professional camera, the Contax 139 Quartz was constructed in 1979 and the Contax 137 MD from 1980 as more demanding amateur cameras. The Contax 137 MD was purely a time machine, but it had a built-in motor for film advance.

Appeared in 1982 as a successor to the RTS Contax RTS II decreed This also has TTL flash control, hold function and a closure of titanium. Also in 1982 came a slightly improved successor of the 137 MD with additional adjustment of shutter speed with the Contax 137 MA.

In 1984, the Contax 159mm with aperture priority and programmed auto and the matching MM lenses, has been introduced. In 1986 appeared the Contax 167MT. It brought together extensive range of automatic functions of its predecessor with a motorized film transport and the ability to spot metering. Also A stored around the release button knob allowed the permanent storage of the exposure value. She was also the first camera with auto bracketing for granted today.

After all Contax models had been set apart from the Contax 167MT, took place only in 1990 with the Contax RTS III is a revival of the system. She was cut even more than its predecessors on professional requirements. As special features the built-in data back for imprinting on the film web which professional flash meter and a Filmansaugplatte ceramic for optimum flatness of the film may be mentioned.

Followed in 1992 with the Contax ST a somewhat simplified version of the Contax RTS III and with the Contax S2 produced by Cosina a camera with mechanically controlled shutter and exclusive spot metering. In 1994 the almost identical Contax S2b with center- weighted metering.

Also in 1994 appeared the Contax RX, a model with additional electronic sharpness detection, as is common in auto focus cameras, but still without automatic focusing. The Contax RX is following a design principle, as it has been practiced for a short time in the 1980s with the Canon AL- 1 and the Minolta X -600 as a precursor of autofocus cameras.

Such auto-focus camera for the Contax RTS system actually followed in 1996 with the Contax AX. In contrast to all other mm SLR cameras with autofocus in the Contax AX focusing is performed by moving the film plane rather than by adjusting the lens. This means that all previous manual lenses on the Contax AX automatically focused. The case of the AX is by design a little deeper, and the speed of the autofocus compared to contemporary cameras smaller.

As the successor of the Contax 167MT was released in 1998 the Contax Aria, which offered the first time a multi-segment metering, but had to give up the possibility of connecting a battery grip. Although in 2000 the Contax N system had been introduced, released in 2002 nor the Contax R XII, who had to give up the electronic detector sharpness in contrast to the Contax RX and received a simpler closure; it was not offered in Europe and the United States.

Contax Cameras ( T models)

1984, the principle of the rangefinder camera has been revived with the Contax T. However, this was one of the fixed lens 2.8 38 mm and oriented themselves otherwise on the Minox 35 It was initially set in 1987 without a successor.

First published in 1990 as a successor to the small -screen compact camera Contax T2. She had a turn-off auto focus and integrated flash. She had a relation to the Ur - T strongly modified body, the equivalent of the competing models of Leica ( minilux ) and Nikon ( 35Ti ). In 2000 it was replaced by the Contax T3 with lens 2.8 35 mm.

Appeared in 1993 with the Contax T -VS a model with auto focus and zoom ( VS = Vario-Sonnar ) 3.5-5.6 28-56 mm, the 1998 through the Contax T -VS II with slight improvements and 2000 by Contax T -VS III was replaced with 3.7-6.7 zoom lens 30-60 mm.

The only Contax camera for the APS film Contax Tix was released in 1998 with lens 2.8 28 mm.

Contax G-System

→ see also Main article: Contax G-System

In 1994, Kyocera one step further and brought the Contax G1 an autofocus rangefinder camera with interchangeable lenses out. The lens range comprised a total of six fixed focal lengths from 16 to 90 mm and later also a zoom lens 35-70 mm 3.5-5.6. In 1996 the successor Contax G2 with faster autofocus.

Contax 645

→ see also Main article: Contax 645

In 1998, the first medium-format Contax, was presented the Contax 645. It is a reflex of the roll film format 4.5 x 6 cm. The Contax 645 has autofocus and interchangeable viewfinder and magazines. For the Contax 645 nine lenses, a teleconverter as well as numerous other accessories were brought out. Production has now been stopped.

Contax N system

→ see also Main article: Contax N system

As a first camera of the new Contax N system 2000, the Contax N1 was announced. This is a miniature reflex with built-in autofocus and a new bayonet. 2002 was followed by the simplified Contax NX and the only digital SLR camera under the name Contax, Contax N Digital. She was the first digital camera with a full frame sensor. For Contax N system was insufficiently developed a range of nine lenses.

Contax Digital Cameras

In 2003, with the Contax T VS Digital, the first compact digital camera under the name Contax. It is similar to Contax T VS III, but a lens has due to the small sensor 2.8 to 4.8 7.3 to 21.9 mm and a CCD sensor with 5 megapixels (MP).

During the year 2004, ie shortly before setting a camera production, Kyocera went on to offer only digital cameras under the name Contax, in order to escape the pressure on prices. The following appeared which developed from the Kyocera Finecam SL 300R Contax SL 300R T with 3.17 MP and the largely identical with the Kyocera Finecam SL 400R Contax U4R and a single focal length lens 2.8 6.5 mm equipped unusually designed Contax i4R.