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  1. #1
    tjaded's Avatar
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    Zeiss Ikon Contax II

    After a crazy day in the old camera world, I was very fortunate to become the owner of a Zeiss Contax II rangefinder! I am trying to dig around online to find serial number information for the body but so far cannot figure out when the camera was made. The serial number starts with the letter M and I can't find any mention of that letter code. Based on the serial number on the lens, I think it dates to 1939. The lens is a Sonnar 1:2 f5cm (Carl Zeiss Jena) with the number 2587***. The body number is M302** (same number on the back.) If anyone can help me figure out what year the body is I would love the help! Other info that may or may not be useful, shutter speeds marked: B 2 5 10 25 50 125 250 500 1250. Photos of the camera to follow in a day or two...
    Thanks in advance,
    Matt
    --------------------
    "Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it." -Paul Strand

    www.glasskeyphoto.com

  2. #2
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Isn't that "garage door" shutter an amazing sight? Reminds me of the advice my great uncle gave me. Don't point your camera at the sun it'll burn a hole in the shutter curtain. Nope. It's a Contax.

  3. #3
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    I have a list of Zeiss numbers but when I checked they are only for post war. The Contax is a lovely thing, the ergonomics are a bit odd, but the build quality is sublime. The pre-war Contaxes are a bit prone to shutter problems, does yours work OK?
    Also, the uncoated Sonnars are excellent performers, even by today's standards, and the lack of coating doesn't seem to affect these lenses as badly as some others. The contrast is still really good.

  4. #4
    X. Phot.
    According to this, it's a 1940/42, maybe.

    http://www.cameraquest.com/zconrf2.htm

    I recently picked up a pristine IIIa "Color Dial" w/the 1:1.5 50mm Sonnar from a local junk store. I love this camera.
    Last edited by X. Phot.; 11-11-2011 at 11:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    tjaded's Avatar
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    Wow...made during the war. Crazy. The garage door shutter is wild for sure! The camera seems to work decently, though it could stand a CLA (sometime.) The lens has a bit of haze and oil on the blades, but I'm still very happy with it.
    --------------------
    "Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it." -Paul Strand

    www.glasskeyphoto.com

  6. #6

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    The 50/1.5 Sonnar usually isn't absurdly expensive, and it's one of the best 35mm lenses on earth. Well worth picking up if you get half a chance. (There's one at KEH now for US$119, but it's in UG condition.) The 85/2 is a real winner as well.

    Congratulations!

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  7. #7
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    I have a III (1939) and a black dial IIa.
    I prefer the earlier larger bodies and the rangefinder is a bit better if in good shape.

    The only drawback is the earlier II/III series uses the ribbon style shutter connections that do snap.
    There is great info on the net to replace the ribbons if needed.

  8. #8
    Pumalite's Avatar
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    Mine is from 1936:
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    " A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~

  9. #9
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pumalite View Post
    Mine is from 1936:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	41534Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	41534
    Click image for larger version. 

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    With all due respect that copy looks like a postwar Stuttgart IIa/
    Unless you are speaking of the lens which I cant decipher from the web rez.

  10. #10
    Pumalite's Avatar
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    JA,JA,JA
    Lente Sonnar f/1.5
    " A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~

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