I bought this last week for £1.04 on Ebay. I wasn't really sure what to expect - either design wise or condition wise. I am delighted. The camera is both nicely designed and nicely made. Even my large fingers have no trouble with the various adjusting rings around the lens (a major complaint I have against Japanese technology).
Coupled rangefinder, coupled light meter (no obsolete battery required), reasonably large viewfinder, Tessar lens
I am still on my first film so i don't know how well the camera is working yet, but it seems to be ok. Certainly no light seals to let me down.
I believe this is one of the later Contessa models. It's not quite as solidly built as the earlier models.
This carries a front-cell focusing Tessar, whereas the earlier rigid-lens models were unit focusing. Nothing wrong with that. The folding Contessa and first Contaflex models were front-cell focusing designs, and I've taken plenty of nice photos with them.
As long as the lens is clean, you should get some nice photos.
There were several different models with this body platform. Some had slow speeds. Some didn't. Some had unit-focusing lenses (the entire lens moves). Some had front-cell focusing. I believe all of the Contessa and Contessamat models had meters. Most had a rangefinder, although there was at least one model that didn't.
Thanks for the info, to my knowledge Zeiss Ikon didn't use the character I, but J and L are established letters. As you know the dates of the Tessars I suppose you have the Thiele books? Please join your lens and body list with me, then I can cross correlate them with known history data. Hans P.S. look at www.holoceen.nl of directly hanszeiss at gmail.com
Looking really carefully under X10 magnification, it appears to be a "L", so the body number is L 82180.
I have no body number data (I would love to, mind) and my lens serial number list came from a book by M Wilkinson and C Glanfield. For post WWII lenses it is rather vague - it gives dates in four year blocks.
Your L82180 is the bodynumber. Zeiss Ikon in 1926 continued the ICA numbering system consisting of one letter followed by max 5 digits. In 1926 ICA was at letter L. After ZI reached Z they started all over again. Your L is 3rd generation. your lens is from a batch of 5000. The precise production year is not clear, but I assume end 1965, early 1966. At the demise of Zeiss Ikon they didn't kept the production records but put them outside as garbage... which gives us now the challenge to recreate history!
Post by yashica1943 on Jun 28, 2017 3:21:15 GMT -5
This morning I found a very nice clean Contessa LKE at my local car boot sale for the sum of £5. The shutter sounds correct and the focusing is smooth. However, on inspection at home, the rangefinder doesn't work, nor does the exposure meter. Not too worried about that as it is just going on display.. The lens is a Tessar f2.8 50mm serial 4160975. The camera serial is not very distinct although the covering material is not at all worn. it appears to be I or J then a big gap and 1934 or 1944.