35mm SLR system • Discontinued


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

Among the great achievements of the Zeiss Ikon, the Contarex cameras ranked first. They combined the features of two leading designs of the time: the famous Contax rangefinder camera with interchangeable lens mount and the unique Contaflex SLR camera. Contarex models were the ultimate in perfection of 35mm SLR cameras.


  • Contarex ("Bullseye") - a high-class SLR with mechanical focal plane shutter with top speed of 1/1000th of a second, a built-in exposure meter of the non-TTL type, aperture-priority and shutter-priority exposure modes, but also with rather large dimensions and heavy weight, which, together with the high price and strong competition from Japanese camera manufacturers, greatly limited its popularity;
  • Contarex special - a model designed for scientific photography, without a built-in exposure meter but with interchangeable viewfinder components;
  • Contarex professional - a more compact and lightweight model, also without a built-in exposure meter;
  • Contarex super - a model with CdS exposure meter plus a match needle system in the viewfinder;
  • Contarex super electronic - the most sophisticated and advanced piece of camera engineering available at the time, with its electronically controlled focal plane shutter and new electronic accessories;
  • Hologon ultrawide - a unique camera for ultra-wide angle photography, with fixed Carl Zeiss Hologon 15/8 lens and a special viewfinder on top of the camera.


Contarex series cameras were equipped with some of the finest lenses as far as workmanship, material and performance are concerned. The interchangeable Carl Zeiss lenses especially computed for the Contarex were in rapid-change bayonet mounts and ranged from the 16mm fisheye to the super telephoto of 1000 mm focal length. All air-to-glass surfaces were hard coated for increased light transmission and greater image contrast. The lenses were carefully matched for color rendition.

Highest precision in camera construction and the unsurpassed performance of the Zeiss lenses made the Contarex system the acme of photographic development and suitable for use by the most exacting professionals, scientists and ambitious amateurs.

Camera list

Model Shutter Metering Modes Year
35mm film SLR cameras with the Contarex mount (5)
Zeiss Ikon Contarex M, 1/1000 Window ASM 1958
Zeiss Ikon Contarex special M, 1/1000 -- M 1960
Zeiss Ikon Contarex professional M, 1/1000 -- M 1966
Zeiss Ikon Contarex super M, 1/1000 TTL • OA ASM 1967
Zeiss Ikon Contarex super electronic E, 1/1000 TTL • OA ASM 1968
35mm film viewfinder cameras (1)
Zeiss Ikon Hologon ultrawide M, 1/500 -- M 1970

Contarex mount lens list

Accessories list

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