Zeiss Ikon Contarex

35mm MF film SLR camera • Discontinued


35mm full frame
Film type:
135 cartridge-loaded film
Contarex [46mm]
1 - 1/1000 + B
Exposure metering:
Through the separate window
Exposure modes:
Aperture-priority Auto
Shutter-priority Auto
Physical characteristics:

Manufacturer description #1

Acclaimed as a striking achievement in 35mm camera design. A new high in versatility, automatic operation and precision control.

Contarex, with its standard Planar f/2, 50mm lens is ideal for a great variety of subjects. Five additional Zeiss lenses provide virtually unlimited range - from wide-angle coverage of 90 deg. to striking telephoto pictures taken at an angle of only 10 deg. Just a few accessories are required for micro and macro photography.

Light meter has unique interlock which lets you pre-select either the shutter speed or lens opening for automatic exposure control. Normall loss of light at close distances is automatically compensated for in the lens. To intentionally over or under expose, you simply disengage the interlock.

Exposure meter has provision for reflected and incident light readings. Its sensitivity can be increased 16 times by simply removing the baffle.

Viewfinder gives natural size image of incredible brightness, and incorporates a split-image rangefinder in ground-glass ring for ultra sharp focusing.

Focal-plane shutter has speeds to 1/1000 sec. and is fully synchronized. Each speed is color coded and synchronization adjusts automatically as a speed is selected.

Manufacturer description #2

The CONTAREX is a new conception in camera design obtained by combining the best features of the Contaflex and the Contax to form a new type of camera with the advantages of both: in fact a camera with a new approach to practical photography. It has taken some two years of development work for the ZEISS IKON designers to turn this idea into an accomplished fact. Some 2,450 engineering drawings with over 25,000 measurements and specifications covering every detail of the CONTAREX were needed, and the result surpassed all expectations: the novel features and improvements in the CONTAREX put it in a class of its own among single-lens reflex cameras.

Following the perfection of every detail of the CONTAREX design, it is now in full production. Every CONTAREX consists of some 1,100 individual parts - not counting the lens! - and needs almost 4,000 tooling operations with an accuracy to 0.001 mm. (1 /25,000 of an inch). Carefully selected and specially trained mechanics guarantee the highest ZEISS IKON precision workmanship, from the body casting to the final assembly.

That is why every CONTAREX is a special achievement in modern camera manufacture.

You will rarely find a subject - pictorial or scientific - that the CONTAREX cannot handle with utmost precision. And some of the unusual features of the interchangeable lenses are of special advantage. For instance, the 35 mm. DISTAGON and the 50 mm. PLANAR lenses include automatic compensation for the change in effective aperture due to the extension at close distances. Interchangeable lenses with smaller lens openings than f/2 automatically stop the built-in exposure meter down to the available iris opening and supplementary focusing bellows permit close-ups down to 2 1/2 times magnification on the film.

As a result of careful planning the CONTAREX owner requires very few accessories.

There is only one special viewfinder for the f/4.5, 21 mm. BIOGON super wide-angle lens, for instance.

Before a CONTAREX is despatched, it must pass through nearly 80 tests in the final inspection. ZEISS IKON experts have developed special ultra-modern instruments for these tests. The exact shutter speeds, for instance, are determined electronically with a crystal controlled oscillator.


Standard CONTAREX lens is 2" (50 mm.) ZEISS PLANAR f/2 (or 55 mm. Planar f/1.4). This 6-element lens with an angle of view of 45° was designed by Dr. Paul Rudolph, the inventorof the world-famous ZEISS TESSAR. lt has an amazingly flat field and is considered one of the world's leading lenses. All CARL ZEISS lenses for the CONTAREX are outstanding, i.e. they are carefully matched with regard to colour correction, with the result that each lens performs equally well from the point of colour rendering and picture quality. All lenses interchangeable by bayonet mount... range of 6 focal lengths available from 21 mm. to 250 mm.


CONTAREX pentagonal prism gives an erect and laterally correct viewing image. There are no parallax errors as is the case with the normal type of twin lens reflex... actual image seen on the screen comes out in the CONTAREX negative, sharp and brilliant right into the corners. Circular focusing screen and split-image rangefinder form two independent focusing systems. The subject can be followed in the finder right up to the moment of exposure... as soon as the exposure is made the mirror automatically returns to the viewing position.


The coupled exposure meter can be set for film speeds up to 1350 ASA, it is more sensitive than most exposure meters and gives exact readings even in very poor light. With the light-baffle removed, the sensitivity is increased by four lens stops. The exposure meter is controlled by a convenient setting wheel, and the needle is visible adjacent to the viewfinder field as well as on top of the camera body. The exposure meter is coupled automatically with the shutter but if necessary the interlock between the exposure meter and the shutter can be disengaged.


The CONTAREX focal plane shutter coupled to the exposure meter is unique. A single setting adjusts both exposure time and aperture. The focal plane shutter provides speeds of 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1,000. For flash use the synchronisation is automatically adjusted as you select the shutter speed, both for flash bulbs and electronic flash. Built-in self-timer with adjustable time delay.


One stroke of the lever advances the film, winds the shutter, fully opens the lens diaphragm, and advances the frame counter.


Falls conveniently to hand on top of camera body. Release cannot be depressed until film is advanced, unintentional double exposures impossible.


On top of camera body.


By folding crank, normally flush, for fast rewinding.


Accurately made to permit use of interchangeable backs.


Zeiss Ikon precision die cast construction built for a lifetime of reliable service. Finish black leather for comfortable handling with durable satin chrome trim.

Manufacturer description #3

The Contarex is the top-ranking Zeiss Ikon camera, a camera of distinction in performance as well as in appearance. It combines the features of two leading designs: the famous Contax with completely interchangeable lens mount and the unique Contaflex single-lens reflex camera. Needless to say, such a combination of two outstanding camera designs sets new standards in versatility, precision and convenience, and it lends prestige to its owner.

The Contarex camera is designed for the most rugged conditions, made of carefully selected materials and finished to utmost perfection. It is a piece of equipment you will admire for its workmanship and dependability. Its versatility makes it the ideal tool for the advanced and discriminating photographer. With a complete set of lenses, you cover anything from 90 degree wide-angle pictures to amazing telephoto shots. Photomicrography, macro photography and copy work can be done with a few inexpensive accessories. There are indeed numerous applications for the Contarex in medical, industrial, news, studio and sports photography.

The unique single-lens reflex principle

With a single-lens reflex camera you sight and focus through the camera lens, and it does not matter if it is a standard, wide-angle or telephoto lens. In addition, you can fit a supplementary close-up lens or any other attachments over the lens, and the viewfinder image will still be parallax corrected. You also retain the convenience of the built-in rangefinder, the most important advantage of the single-lens reflex camera over regular 35mm cameras. In the Contarex, this single-lens reflex principle has been brought to unsurpassed perfection.

The camera body

A strong, die-cast body, from a light metal alloy, makes Contarex impervious to all kinds of climatic conditions. Outside metal parts are black anodized or satin chrome finished for greater durability. The camera body is handsomely covered with fine morocco leather. For fast loading and easy cleaning, the camera back is completely removable. The Contarex without lens weighs 32 ounces and measures 2 1/2 x 4 x 6", a truly compact, well proportioned and perfectly balanced camera.

Viewfinder and rangefinder

A large parallax-corrected eye-level viewfinder provides an extra bright natural-size image, always sharp to the edges for instantaneous compositions. You see and focus through the lens, wide open. It also features an instant-return mirror which returns to viewing position after each exposure. The Penta roof-type prism makes the subject appear upright and unreversed, which is an essential point in sports photography and various other fields. The Fresnel lens guarantees an amazing overall brightness which is a necessity for available light photography. Simultaneously with viewing the subject, you focus the lens on either the split-image field or the surrounding extra fine focusing screen. This combined view and rangefinder is ideal for full-frame compositions of action shots. At the same time, you have complete control over the built-in exposure meter as the indicating needle is placed adjacent to the viewfinder image.

Exposure meter

Zeiss Ikon exposure meters have proved to be most reliable for over 25 years, and the Contarex meter is, indeed, outstanding in performance as well as in its special features. Built into the camera for protection and for greater convenience, this exposure meter couples to all interchangeable lenses with automatic preset diaphragms (35mm to 135mm). The ingenious interlock system gives the choice of pre-selecting either a shutter speed or a lens opening, and the other setting is then adjusted with the exposure meter. Most other single-lens reflex cameras do not provide this alternative, and with these designs, the shutter speed must be pre-selected at all times. The Contarex exposure meter also permits conventional shutter speed and f/stop setting for non-preset lenses (21mm and 250mm). Furthermore, the automatic interlock can be temporarily disengaged to use individual settings for deliberate under or over-exposure (green dot setting). There are provisions for reflected and incident light readings.

To increase the sensitivity of this exposure meter under poor lighting conditions, simply remove the light baffle in front of the photocell, and the exposure meter will be 16x more sensitive than under ordinary conditions. This is equivalent to four full lens stops (yellow dot setting). The exposure meter can be adjusted at waist level or eye level. The indicating needle is adjacent to the viewfinder image. The 35mm Distagon and 50mm Planar automatically compensate for the natural loss of light at near distances.

The focal plane shutter

There are 12 shutter speed settings on a single dial, including B, 1-1/1000 sec., and each speed operates with amazing smoothness. The built-in self-timer can be adjusted to various time delays, and the shutter is fully synchronized fo flash bulbs and electronic flash units. Each speed is color coded and you adjust the synchronization automatically as you select a particular shutter speed.

Color code for flash synchronization

Black speeds (X-contact) 1-1/30 sec: Class M bulbs, electronic flash units.

Yellow speed (X-contact) 1/60 sec: Electronic flash units only.

Red speeds (M-contact) 1/125-1/1000 sec: Focal plane (FP) flash bulbs.

All speeds from 1-1/1000 sec. operate with the built-in self-timer for flash exposures.

Rapid film advance lever

One stroke with this lever advances film, cocks shutter, then opens lens diaphragm and shutter blades for viewing.

Rapid rewind crank

A collapsible crank permits fast rewinding of 20 or 36 exposure loads into the cartridge.

Manufacturer description #4

The name ZEISS IKON is synonymous with photography because ZEISS IKON has contributed with innumerable inventions and many new technical developments to the rapid growth of the photographic industry and has been a pioneer in revolutionary camera designs over several decades.

Among the great achievements of the world-renowned ZEISS IKON organization, the CONTAREX camera ranks first. This model is the ultimate in perfection of 35 mm single-lens reflex cameras.

The CONTAREX is a remarkable technological achievement. lts brllliant peformance is quickly appreciated by the photographer, for it easily handles the most difficult photographic problems of the amateur, the professional, or the scientist. The CONTAREX has more built-in features and advantages than many cameras offer as additional accessories.

New ! Sensational automatic flash control

Flash without calculation! What could be easier - adjust the focusing and the aperture is automatically set. Special stops are fitted to the ring which effectively prevent any setting being made which would result in under or over exposure. This system works just as efficiently with expendable flashbulbs as with electronic flash.

This unique ZEISS IKON feature is fitted to both the ZEISS B-PLANAR f/2, 50 mm and the ZEISS B-DISTAGON f/4, 35 mm - the most suitable lenses for flash photography.

The Viewfinder System

The picture is always seen as it appears on the final print or slide.

NEW! The standard focusing screen with split-image rangefinder can now be interchanged with a plain ground-glass screen or a clear-glass screen with engraved cross-lines. When it is a question of judging the overall image sharpness (important for close-up and macrophotography) the ground-glass screen will be found extremely useful. The clear-glass screen is recommended for photomicrography. There is a special focusing screen with split-image rangefinder and ground-glass ring for 250 mm and longer telephoto lenses.

Whether photomicrograph, close-up or telephoto shot, the CONTAREX finder always displays the exact framing of the sublect - radiantly bright, sharp, upright, unimpeded and perfectly free from parallax.

The CONTAREX embodies two focusing systems, a split-image rangefinder and a ground glass ring. The operation of the two is simultaneous. Focusing subjects with clean vertical lines is easiest when the split-image rangefinder is used, while the ground glass is ideal for focusing on subjects of a more uniform pattern - lattices, fishing nets, etc. With either system precise focusing is simply and rapidly achieved.

The pointer of the coupled exposure meter appears at the side of the viewfinder image. lt does not interfere with subject observation and is easily adjusted while using the viewfinder.

The instant return mirror is another enhancing feature. lmmediately after the shutter is released, the subject reappears in the viewfinder. In short, the simple to use viewfinder system of the CONTAREX is your guarantee of picture perfection.

Exposure Automation

For the very first time! A focal-plane shutter is coupled with built-in exposure meter.

The CONTAREX is the first camera with focal plane shutter ever produced in which shutter speed and aperture settings are coupled with the exposure meter. You can pre-select either setting (shutter speed or aperture) and then find the other setting by lining up the exposure meter pointer in the viewfinder. For special work, the exposure meter can be quickly uncoupled.

The CONTAREX exposure meter has an unusually wide metering range. In most cases, it is used for reflected light readings. By simply removing a light baffle in front of the photo-electric cell, the meter can be converted to incident-light readings. This will also make the exposure meter 16 times more sensitive than with a light baffle, a special advantage for measuring in extremely poor light. The pointer of the exposure meter can be seen in the viewfinder, as well as in a window on top of the camera body. This built-in exposure meter is extremely dependable under all kinds of conditions.

Available shutter speed settings range from 1 to 1/1000th of a second, including B. The delayed-action device can be adjusted from two to ten seconds. The CONTAREX shutter is fully synchronized for flashbulbs and electronic flash. M or X type synchronization is automatically selected as you set a shutter speed. To guard against possible errors in flash synchronization, all shutter speed settings are colorcoded.

Ease of Operation

Conveniently located controls guarantee fast operation

1. The CONTAREX is designed to offer maximum readiness for action shots. Rapid wind lever, exposure meter adjustment, shutter speed settings and focusing are always at your finger tips for instant operation or last-minute corrections.

2. When using the CONTAREX at waist-level, all important camera scales and dials such as shutter speed, aperture, focusing, depth of field, frame counter, film type inclicator, and exposure meter pointer can be checked at a glance without moving the camera.

3. A handy rewind crank speeds up rewinding of exposed film and reduces your reloading time considerably. There's much less chance of you missing a picture wth the CONTAREX.

The viewfinder is designed so that most spectacles wearers can see the entire field of view without removing their glasses. There are also corrective lenses available for those who wish to adapt the viewfinder to their own eye prescription.

The frame counter indicates the number of unexposed frames.

No calculations are required to determine the number of pictures remaining. This holds true regardless of the number of exposures in the magazine.

The Interchangeable magazine back

From Black-and-White to Color in a few seconds

Every amateur has experienced the disappointment of missing a perfect color shot because his camera was loaded with black-and-white film; or when there was a good opportunity for a good artificial light shot, his camera was loaded with daylight film.

Those disappointments are over. The novel interchangeable back for the CONTAREX makes it possible to exchange partially exposed rolls of film in seconds, in full daylight and without the loss of a single frame!

The interchangeable back provides a flexibility which heretofore was obtainable only by using additional camera bodies. With interchangeable backs you save the cost of complete camera bodies and have less equipment to carry.

In industrial and scientific photography, several lab technicians may use the same camera. By using interchangeable backs they can retain their film and have it processed at their own convenience.

Manufacturer description #5

The Contarex by ZEISS IKON AG. Stuttgart is a single-lens miniature reflex camera for the 24x36mm negative format. The camera has a parallax-free viewfinder, a photo-electric exposure meter coupled to the focal-plane shutter, a rapid film wind lever and interchangeable lenses.

The CONTAREX is a most suitable instrument for the professional photographer, the scientist, the press photographer, the technician and also for the discriminating amateur, all of whom will be able to obtain excellent photographs with it even under the most difficult conditions. The viewfinder will always show the upright and laterally correct image which will be depicted on the film no matter which lens is used. This applies also for close-ups, close-up magnifications, photo-micrographic ond other specialised work. The reflected image seen through the taking lens will always be completely free from parallax.

Many practical accessories widen the scope of the camera in all fields of photography; in short, the CONTAREX is an extremely versatile camera which meets all requirements, since even the most diificult photographic problems can be solved with its aid, with amazing speed and simplicity.

The special features of the C0NTAREX

All the advantages of both the famous ZEISS IKON cameras, the CONTAX and the CONTAFLEX are combined in the CONTAREX. The most popular features of the CONTAREX are these:

  • The all-metal die-cast body which ensures the highest possible precision and rigidity.
  • The built-in photo-electric exposure meter with its wide measuring range and colour-corrected photo-cell.
  • The automatic exposure control. The diaphragm and the shutter speed settings are coupled to the exposure indicator in such a way that, starting with one component, the other one is determined automatically. The indicator can be seen in the viewfinder adjacent to the actual finder image and, in addition, also on top of the CONTAREX.
  • The parallax-free reflex viewfinder with its bright, large, uniformly-illuminated image field and two types of rangefinder: a split-image rangefinder and a micro raster ring, which are both coupled to the focusing device.
  • The interchangeable CARL ZEISS lenses which have been especially computed for the CONTAREX, are in rapid-change bayonet mounts. The range of interchangeable lenses extends from the 21 mm super-wide-angle lens to those of extremely long focal lengths. The CONTAREX lenses from 35 mm to 135 mm have pre-set spring-diaphragms which are coupled to th exposure meter.
  • The shutter speeds from 1 sec. to 1/1000 sec. and "B" for time exposures can be set with a ring and are also coupled to the exposure meter.
  • The focal-plane shutter runs smoothly and is free from vibration. It is synchronized for both flashbulbs and electronic flash and automatically selects the correct moment of ignition if the shutter speed is correctly set for the type of flash in use. A delayed action device is built into the shutter.
  • All settings - distance, aperture, depth of field, shutter speed and exposure indication can be read off from above at a single glance.
  • Standard 35 mm miniature film is used with the CONTAREX, in the form either of commercial cartridges or daylight-refills in CONTAREX cassettes, which can also be used with bulk film or darkroom refills.
  • The twin-cassette system makes it possible to remove the film without rewinding. Black-and-white and colour films can also be exchanged without rewinding.
  • The detachable back helps considerably in dusting and cleaning the spool chambers and makes loading and unloading an easy matter.
  • Only a few accessories are needed to simplify the mastering of difficult photographic tasks, such as close-ups, close-up magnifications, photomicrography, copying and tele-photo pictures.
  • The highest possible precision in the mechanical construction, the unsurpassed efficiency of the lenses and the absolute reliability of the built-in exposure meter make the CONTAREX the top-ranking camera for the professional photographer, the scientist, the technician and the discriminating amateur.

From the editor

The Contarex was announced at the Photokina 1958, but it took an year (September 1959) to hit the dealer's shelves. The camera had many greatly admired features, but also had a tremendous drawback. It weighted 900g without a lens, and you could add another 230g for the new standard Planar lens. It did not sell particularly well because of the great weight and high price - due in part to the need for skilled hand assembly of all the complex parts (the camera contained more than a thousand individual parts).

But there was also new competition from Japan. There cameras were smaller, more compact and had fairly aggressive new lens systems as well. Yes, the Zeiss lenses were still remarkably better than those of the competition but, for the money, the Japanese combination of less expensive cameras and lenses were thought to be a better value. These new cameras were rapidly approaching the Contarex in their features, with the Nikon F of 1960 being particularly successful.

The original Contarex was upgraded in February 1964 to use interchangeable focusing screens as well as a data strip accessory, which allowed a small message about the exposure or subject to appear on the negative.

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Chromatic aberration

There are two kinds of chromatic aberration: longitudinal and lateral. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is a variation in location of the image plane with changes in wave lengths. It produces the image point surrounded by different colors which result in a blurred image in black-and-white pictures. Lateral chromatic aberration is a variation in image size or magnification with wave length. This aberration does not appear at axial image points but toward the surrounding area, proportional to the distance from the center of the image field. Stopping down the lens has only a limited effect on these aberrations.

Spherical aberration

Spherical aberration is caused because the lens is round and the film or image sensor is flat. Light entering the edge of the lens is more severely refracted than light entering the center of the lens. This results in a blurred image, and also causes flare (non-image forming internal reflections). Stopping down the lens minimizes spherical aberration and flare, but introduces diffraction.


Astigmatism in a lens causes a point in the subject to be reproduced as a line in the image. The effect becomes worse towards the corner of the image. Stopping down the lens has very little effect.


Coma in a lens causes a circular shape in the subject to be reproduced as an oval shape in the image. Stopping down the lens has almost no effect.

Curvature of field

Curvature of field is the inability of a lens to produce a flat image of a flat subject. The image is formed instead on a curved surface. If the center of the image is in focus, the edges are out of focus and vice versa. Stopping down the lens has a limited effect.


Distortion is the inability of a lens to capture lines as straight across the entire image area. Barrel distortion causes straight lines at the edges of the frame to bow toward the center of the image, producing a barrel shape. Pincushion distortion causes straight lines at the edges of the frame to curve in toward the lens axis. Distortion, whether barrel or pincushion type, is caused by differences in magnification; stopping down the lens has no effect at all.

The term "distortion" is also sometimes used instead of the term "aberration". In this case, other types of optical aberrations may also be meant, not necessarily geometric distortion.


Classically, light is thought of as always traveling in straight lines, but in reality, light waves tend to bend around nearby barriers, spreading out in the process. This phenomenon is known as diffraction and occurs when a light wave passes by a corner or through an opening. Diffraction plays a paramount role in limiting the resolving power of any lens.


Doublet is a lens design comprised of two elements grouped together. Sometimes the two elements are cemented together, and other times they are separated by an air gap. Examples of this type of lens include achromatic close-up lenses.

Dynamic range

Dynamic range is the maximum range of tones, from darkest shadows to brightest highlights, that can be produced by a device or perceived in an image. Also called tonal range.

Resolving power

Resolving power is the ability of a lens, photographic emulsion or imaging sensor to distinguish fine detail. Resolving power is expressed in terms of lines per millimeter that are distinctly recorded in the final image.


Vignetting is the darkening of the corners of an image relative to the center of the image. There are three types of vignetting: optical, mechanical, and natural vignetting.

Optical vignetting is caused by the physical dimensions of a multi-element lens. Rear elements are shaded by elements in front of them, which reduces the effective lens opening for off-axis incident light. The result is a gradual decrease of the light intensity towards the image periphery. Optical vignetting is sensitive to the aperture and can be completely cured by stopping down the lens. Two or three stops are usually sufficient.

Mechanical vignetting occurs when light beams are partially blocked by external objects such as thick or stacked filters, secondary lenses, and improper lens hoods.

Natural vignetting (also known as natural illumination falloff) is not due to the blocking of light rays. The falloff is approximated by the "cosine fourth" law of illumination falloff. Wide-angle rangefinder designs are particularly prone to natural vignetting. Stopping down the lens cannot cure it.


Bright shapes or lack of contrast caused when light is scattered by the surface of the lens or reflected off the interior surfaces of the lens barrel. This is most often seen when the lens is pointed toward the sun or another bright light source. Flare can be minimized by using anti-reflection coatings, light baffles, or a lens hood.


Glowing patches of light that appear in a photograph due to lens flare.

Retrofocus design

Design with negative lens group(s) positioned in front of the diaphragm and positive lens group(s) positioned at the rear of the diaphragm. This provides a short focal length with a long back focus or lens-to-film distance, allowing for movement of the reflex mirror in SLR cameras. Sometimes called an inverted telephoto lens.


A photographic lens completely corrected for the three main optical aberrations: spherical aberration, coma, and astigmatism.

By the mid-20th century, the vast majority of lenses were close to being anastigmatic, so most manufacturers stopped including this characteristic in lens names and/or descriptions and focused on advertising other features (anti-reflection coating, for example).

Rectilinear design

Design that does not introduce significant distortion, especially ultra-wide angle lenses that preserve straight lines and do not curve them (unlike a fisheye lens, for instance).

Focus shift

A change in the position of the plane of optimal focus, generally due to a change in focal length when using a zoom lens, and in some lenses, with a change in aperture.


The amount of light that passes through a lens without being either absorbed by the glass or being reflected by glass/air surfaces.

Modulation Transfer Function (MTF)

When optical designers attempt to compare the performance of optical systems, a commonly used measure is the modulation transfer function (MTF).

The components of MTF are:

The MTF of a lens is a measurement of its ability to transfer contrast at a particular resolution from the object to the image. In other words, MTF is a way to incorporate resolution and contrast into a single specification.

Knowing the MTF curves of each photographic lens and camera sensor within a system allows a designer to make the appropriate selection when optimizing for a particular resolution.

Veiling glare

Lens flare that causes loss of contrast over part or all of the image.

Anti-reflection coating

When light enters or exits an uncoated lens approximately 5% of the light is reflected back at each lens-air boundary due to the difference in refractive index. This reflected light causes flare and ghosting, which results in deterioration of image quality. To counter this, a vapor-deposited coating that reduces light reflection is applied to the lens surface. Early coatings consisted of a single thin film with the correct refractive index differences to cancel out reflections. Multi-layer coatings, introduced in the early 1970s, are made up of several such films.

Benefits of anti-reflection coating:

Circular fisheye

Produces a 180° angle of view in all directions (horizontal, vertical and diagonal).

The image circle of the lens is inscribed in the image frame.

Diagonal (full-frame) fisheye

Covers the entire image frame. For this reason diagonal fisheye lenses are often called full-frame fisheyes.

Extension ring

Extension rings can be used singly or in combination to vary the reproduction ratio of lenses. They are mounted between the camera body and the lens. As a rule, the effect becomes stronger the shorter the focal length of the lens in use, and the longer the focal length of the extension ring.

View camera

A large-format camera with a ground-glass viewfinder at the image plane for viewing and focusing. The photographer must stick his head under a cloth hood in order to see the image projected on the ground glass. Because of their 4x5-inch (or larger) negatives, these cameras can produce extremely high-quality results. View cameras also usually support movements.

135 cartridge-loaded film

43.27 24 36
  • Introduced: 1934
  • Frame size: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2
  • Double perforated
  • 8 perforations per frame

120 roll film

71.22 44 56
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 56 × 44mm
  • Aspect ratio: 11:14
  • Diagonal: 71.22mm
  • Area: 2464mm2
  • Unperforated

120 roll film

79.2 56 56
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 56 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Diagonal: 79.2mm
  • Area: 3136mm2
  • Unperforated

120 roll film

89.64 56 70
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 70 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 5:4
  • Diagonal: 89.64mm
  • Area: 3920mm2
  • Unperforated

220 roll film

71.22 44 56
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 56 × 44mm
  • Aspect ratio: 11:14
  • Diagonal: 71.22mm
  • Area: 2464mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

220 roll film

79.2 56 56
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 56 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Diagonal: 79.2mm
  • Area: 3136mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

220 roll film

89.64 56 70
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 70 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 5:4
  • Diagonal: 89.64mm
  • Area: 3920mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

Shutter speed ring with "F" setting

The "F" setting disengages the leaf shutter and is set when using only the focal plane shutter in the camera body.

Catch for disengaging cross-coupling

The shutter and diaphragm settings are cross-coupled so that the diaphragm opens to a corresponding degree when faster shutter speeds are selected. The cross-coupling can be disengaged at the press of a catch.

Cross-coupling button

With the cross-coupling button depressed speed/aperture combinations can be altered without changing the Exposure Value setting.

M & X sync

The shutter is fully synchronized for M- and X-settings so that you can work with flash at all shutter speeds.

In M-sync, the shutter closes the flash-firing circuit slightly before it is fully open to catch the flash at maximum intensity. The M-setting is used for Class M flash bulbs.

In X-sync, the flash takes place when the shutter is fully opened. The X-setting is used for electronic flash.

X sync

The shutter is fully synchronized for X-setting so that you can work with flash at all shutter speeds.

In X-sync, the flash takes place when the shutter is fully opened. The X-setting is used for electronic flash.

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, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance (distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane) is also different.

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. Magnification is expressed as a ratio. 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 lens element 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.