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Contax II series 1 or 2? Export model?
Old 06-18-2017   #1
Philip Whiteman
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Contax II series 1 or 2? Export model?

My 1939 II has 'Contax' spelled out on its front plate in large, fine letters its K-prefix serieal number stamped on the viewfinder shoe, large tripod thread and a focussing scale marked in metre increments.

My 1937 B-prefix model has Contax spelled out in smaller, more deeply engraved letters that can look a little ragged where the paint has worn away, its serial number and 'Made in Germany' engraved on the rewind knob, small tripod thread and a focussing scale in feet.

Would I be right to think that the '39 camera is a 'series 2' model, might not have been sold new in the UK and is more likely one that was 'liberated' from Germany at the end of WWII? (Its previous owner had adapted a Contax I case, using a pepper grinder wheel(!) as a turn lock.)

And is the '36 one a 'series 1' model made for export? And if so, to Britain and the USA, or USA only?

Last edited by Philip Whiteman : 06-18-2017 at 12:37. Reason: Misspellings etc
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Old 06-19-2017   #2
Bill Jones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Whiteman View Post
My 1939 II has 'Contax' spelled out on its front plate in large, fine letters its K-prefix serieal number stamped on the viewfinder shoe, large tripod thread and a focussing scale marked in metre increments.

My 1937 B-prefix model has Contax spelled out in smaller, more deeply engraved letters that can look a little ragged where the paint has worn away, its serial number and 'Made in Germany' engraved on the rewind knob, small tripod thread and a focussing scale in feet.

Would I be right to think that the '39 camera is a 'series 2' model, might not have been sold new in the UK and is more likely one that was 'liberated' from Germany at the end of WWII? (Its previous owner had adapted a Contax I case, using a pepper grinder wheel(!) as a turn lock.)

And is the '36 one a 'series 1' model made for export? And if so, to Britain and the USA, or USA only?
Philip,

Zeiss Ikon camera export models in English units (feet vs meters and sch vs DIN) with 1/4-20 thread were made to be sold in all the British Commonwealth Nations as well as the USA.

Your K.xxxxx camera is part of the second batch of cameras ordered in 1939, so it likely was made in late 1939 or later. By that time Zeiss Ikon changed the marking on the cameras to include the S/N in the finder. This camera was probably originally sold on the continent because of its date of manufacture and the war. I would suspect that it was later sold as a used camera to a service member, a tourist or a dealer who brought it to the UK.

What do you refer to as a 'series 1'? The first batch had shutters speeds of 100 and 200 vs 125 and 250 with Z.50XXX and possibly a few early A.48xxx serial numbers and were sold in 1936. Approximately 1000 were made. After that the changes to the Contax II were mosty cosmetic.

Bill Jones
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Old 06-19-2017   #3
Philip Whiteman
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I had seen someone else here distinguishing between Contax IIs that had the more compact, heavy name engraving and ones that had large fine letters as 'series 1' and 'series 2' cameras, and I was wondering if this was right. From what you say, Bill it seems that there are more significant differences between those very early cameras and the rest of the Dresden production run. Thanks for confirming the countries embraced by the export model - very useful info I've not found elsewhere!
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Old 06-19-2017   #4
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I've seen Contax II with "for Manchukuo" engraved on the corner of the film pressure plate. Manchukuo was a puppet kingdom established by Japan in China around WWII era. It was one of the client states of Axis powers. I might upload a picture when I use my computer.
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Old 06-19-2017   #5
zhang xk
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Originally Posted by Bill Jones View Post
Philip,

Zeiss Ikon camera export models in English units (feet vs meters and sch vs DIN) with 1/4-20 thread were made to be sold in all the British Commonwealth Nations as well as the USA.

Your K.xxxxx camera is part of the second batch of cameras ordered in 1939, so it likely was made in late 1939 or later. By that time Zeiss Ikon changed the marking on the cameras to include the S/N in the finder. This camera was probably originally sold on the continent because of its date of manufacture and the war. I would suspect that it was later sold as a used camera to a service member, a tourist or a dealer who brought it to the UK.

What do you refer to as a 'series 1'? The first batch had shutters speeds of 100 and 200 vs 125 and 250 with Z.50XXX and possibly a few early A.48xxx serial numbers and were sold in 1936. Approximately 1000 were made. After that the changes to the Contax II were mosty cosmetic.

Bill Jones
Hi Bill Jones,

Your reply to Philip also anwered my question. Thanks.
I have a Contax II with a s/n of C.14736 and with English feet scales and 1/4" tripod thread.The recent WestLicht auction also sold a rare black painted one with a 1/4" tripot socket. I have been interested in Contax II, Jena Contax II, and Kiev II,III,4,5 cameras. This top quality German camera bears an interesting piece of history of the 20th century. I wonder if someone has written a book for all those cameras?

Cheers,

Zhang
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Old 06-20-2017   #6
Bill Jones
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Originally Posted by zhang xk View Post
Hi Bill Jones,

Your reply to Philip also anwered my question. Thanks.
I have a Contax II with a s/n of C.14736 and with English feet scales and 1/4" tripod thread.The recent WestLicht auction also sold a rare black painted one with a 1/4" tripot socket. I have been interested in Contax II, Jena Contax II, and Kiev II,III,4,5 cameras. This top quality German camera bears an interesting piece of history of the 20th century. I wonder if someone has written a book for all those cameras?

Cheers,

Zhang
Hi Zhang,

I don't know of a book covering all those cameras. However, for Contax II I recommend Hans-Jurgen Kuc's "On the Trail of the Contax" and Lawrence J Tubas' "Zeiss and Photography" as good reading. Additionally the old "Contax Way" 1939 edition by H. Freytag and "Das Contax Buch" 1942 edition by Otto Croy are good period reading discussing how the Contax cameras were used back in the day.

The Kiev II and III are basically Contax II and III's made in Kiev. The later Kievs were updated to suit Soviet manufacturing methods and add flash sync etc.


Bill
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Old 06-21-2017   #7
zhang xk
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Originally Posted by Bill Jones View Post
Hi Zhang,

I don't know of a book covering all those cameras. However, for Contax II I recommend Hans-Jurgen Kuc's "On the Trail of the Contax" and Lawrence J Tubas' "Zeiss and Photography" as good reading. Additionally the old "Contax Way" 1939 edition by H. Freytag and "Das Contax Buch" 1942 edition by Otto Croy are good period reading discussing how the Contax cameras were used back in the day.

The Kiev II and III are basically Contax II and III's made in Kiev. The later Kievs were updated to suit Soviet manufacturing methods and add flash sync etc.


Bill
Many thanks Bill for the information. I will try to find a copy of the books. I own quite a few of Kiev cameras, and I have fixed some with a broken ribbon including some early Kiev IIs with German parts. The most intersting one of the Soviet Kiev cameras IMHO is a rare Kiev 5 with frame lines in the very bright view-finder.
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