35mm MF film rangefinder camera


Production details
Order No.:563/24 or 10.1800 - body only
563/24 L or 10.1801 - body with TESSAR f/3.5, 50mm
563/24 N or 10.1802 - body with SONNAR f/2, 50mm
563/24 J or 10.1803 - body with SONNAR f/1.5, 50mm
System: Contax (1932)
Imaging plane
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Contax [34.85mm]
Imaging plane:36 × 24mm film
Speeds:1 - 1/1250 + B, T
Exposure metering:None
Exposure modes:Manual
Rangefinder and Viewfinder
Rangefinder:Built-in, combined with viewfinder
Viewfinder:Built-in, combined with rangefinder
Finder magnification:0.66x
Actual rangefinder base:73mm
Effective rangefinder base:48.18mm
Bright-line frames:-
Parallax compensation:-
Physical characteristics
Body cap:1051 / 20.0601

Manufacturer description #1

Why Contax?

  1. Choice of incomparable Zeiss lenses especially designed for the Contax to meet all requirements.
  2. Combined range- and viewfinder permitting sighting and focusing through one eye·piece.
  3. Long.base range-finder. Base has one solid prism, insuring permanent accuracy and reliability.
  4. All-metal focal plane-shutter with speeds to 1/1250th second, durable and reliable under all climatic conditions.
  5. Winding the shutter automatically transports film, thus avoiding accidental double exposure.
  6. Lenses are attached to the camera in light-weight bayonet mount. No screwing. Rapid interchangeability. Precision seating.
  7. Right-hand operation; all controls are on top at your fingertips. Contax may be operated with one hand.
  8. Compact and sturdy housing. Film track is part of main camera body insuring permanent alignment of film in focal plane.
  9. Range-finder and view-finder as well as all sensitive parts are inclosed in the camera body and securely protected against damage.
  10. No rewinding of film is necessary when using two cassettes; also avoids the danger of scratches.
  11. Contax IIa and IlIa are synchronized for flash photography at all shutter speeds.
  12. No external moving parts to interfere with positive operation.

Manufacturer description #2

THE CONTAX IIa is the most advanced camera of the ZEISS IKON A.G. STUTfGART, the world famous precision miniature camera meeting all photographic requirements. It can take with equal efficiency extremely difficult sports photographs with a 1/1250 sec exposure, action photographs even under poor lighting conditions with the world's fastest lens of practical use (Sonnar f/1.5), pictures of animal wild life by means of ZEISS lenses of long focal length, as well as scientific macro-photographs.

Thanks to its ingenious construction and conveniently arranged operating parts, the CONTAX IIa guarantees rapid and sure manipulation even under the most difficult conditions. The ingenious arrangement of its operating parts and the present finished and streamlined shape of the CONTAX IIa is the result of decades of experiences gathered by the ZEISS IKON A.G. in miniature camera production.

The combined view and range finder permits simultaneous sighting and focusing through one eyepiece. Within a second the right middle finger can accurately focus the ZEISS lenses on the object to be taken, and instantly the right index finger can release the shutter. The shutter can be wound instantly thus simultaneously and automatically advancing the film by one frame and the frame counter by one number (this feature of the CONTAX prevents any double or blank exposures).

The designers of the CONTAX IIa have simplified the most complicated processes: Twelve shutter speeds from setting "B" for time exposure to 1/1250 sec can be set on one disc with half a tum of the knob, no matter whether or not the shutter is wound, the 1/1250 second is making the CONTAX lIa the world's fastest miniature camera. Exposure time settings can be conveniently verified from above. No external parts rotate when the shutter is released.

The detachable camera back greatly facilitates loading and unloading of the camera, thorough cleaning of the film track as well as the use of the two-casette method, thus permitting interchange of films or unloading of partly exposed films for developing without rewinding. This feature is of great importance in present-day photography; many a miniature photographer would like to be able to change easily black and white and colour films without to take a large and fixed number of pictures on film of any particular sort or emulsion.

The flash synchronization contact transmits the ignition impulse when the shutter is wide open, so that perfectly synchronized shots can be taken with the CONTAX lIa. In fact, every flash photograph with the CONTAX can be made from the hand as with an action photograph. A special synchro-switch with ignition delay has been designed for all those electronic flashes having no ignition delay. The entire flash synchronization mechanism is so constructed that the electric current cannot enter the camera body when the flash is fired.

The built-in delayed action release can be set on different exposure delays. The depth of field ring indicates the depth of field for any given lens aperture and distance setting.

Thanks to their practical bayonet mount, the CONTAX lenses can be exchanged in a moment with a tum through 90°. The world famous set of perfected colour corrected, high-speed Sonnar lenses, especially designed for CONTAX photography, ensure utmost sharpness and even edge-to-edge definition and illumination of all pictures. All CONTAX lenses are factory (T) coated to prevent flare and to ensure maximum light transmission. The lenses up to 5 3/8" (135 mm) focal length are coupled with the distance meter; lenses of longer focal length are focused with the mirror reflex attachment "Flectoscop". The ingeniously constructed all-metal focal plane shutter functions almost noiselessly, is resistent to climatic influences and permits long exposures of 1, 1/2, 1/5, and 1/10 sec, the mostly used 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, and 1/200 sec action photograph exposures and, in addition, has the top shutter speeds of 1/500 sec and 1/1250 sec. It also permits time exposures of unlimited duration.

Manufacturer description #3

Finest and most versatile design in 35mm. precision cameras.

Interchangeable bayonet (inside and outside) lens mounting.

Combined view-finder and range-finder with solid glass, long-base prism of highest accuracy.

One-finger focusing and shutter release control.

Shutter speeds ranging from T, B, 1 to 1/1250th second on a single speed-setting dial.

All-metal focal-plane shutter impervious to climatic conditions.

Internal flash synchronization.

Completely detachable back for easy, quick film loading and cleaning.

Built-in variable delayed-action release.

Automatic frame counter and film type indicator.

Uses standard 35mm. film cartridges or bulk film (in CONTAX cassettes).

Allows two cassettes to be used, in which case film does not have to be re-wound after exposure. Different films may also be interchanged at will without losing too much film in the process.

Notify of

Copy this code

and paste it here *

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Table of contents
Instruction manual
Contax system cameras

Copyright © 2012-2023 Evgenii Artemov. All rights reserved. Translation and/or reproduction of website materials in any form, including the Internet, is prohibited without the express written permission of the website owner.

35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

1051 / 20.0601

Dust cap for CONTAX without lens. Slips over outer bayonet mounting. Made of alloy metal.

Unable to follow the link

You are already on the page dedicated to this lens.

Cannot perform comparison

Cannot compare the lens to itself.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.