Friday, February 25, 2011

Contaflex Super BC

My last post stirred things up. It made me realize that there is a lot of people out there curious about these cameras.

Wonderful pieces of machinery, made with the last breath of the German camera industry.
The Contaflexes are the perfect example of the sophistication achieved by the above mentioned industry.

About one year ago I bought a quite comprehensive Contaflex Super BC kit, the peak of the series.

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super BC Kit

The kit included the camera, right angle finder, close-up lens kit, regular back, 2x interchangeable backs, Tessar 50mm 1:2.8, Pro-Tessar 35 1:4 an 35mm 1:32, the previous owner was fond of 35mm lenses. All in a Zeiss Ikon original bag.
Latter I bought the Pro-Tessar 85 and 115mm 1:4 lenses, to complete the kit lenses wise.

The Super BC with the Tessar 50mm 1:2.8

Contaflex Super BC & Tessar 2.8/55

with the Pro-Tessar 35mm 1:4

Contaflex Super BC & Pro-tessar 4/35

with the Pro-Tessar 35mm 1:3.2

Contaflex Super BC & Pro-Tessar 3.2/35

with the Pro-Tessar 85mm 1:4

Contaflex Super BC  Pro-Tessar 4/85

with the Pro-Tessar 115mm 1:4

Contaflex Super BC & Pro-Tessar 4/115

with the right-angle finder and the close-up lens kit

Contaflex Super BC & Close-up kit

Interesting detail, on the back of the close-up lens kit box, the distance/DOF calculator

Contaflex Super BC & Close-up kit

The interchangeable back with the dark slide removed and the right-angle finder

Contaflex Super BC, Interchangeable back and angle viewfinder

This is a SLR, 35mm camera, with interchangeable front lens element made circa 1965.
The, between the lens, shutter is a Synchro-Compur 1-1/500 s, flash synchro M, X and self timer V.
It has a TTL CdS light meter powered by a 1,35 V mercury cell, I use a zinc-air battery to replace it.
The exposure might be automatic, shutter speed priority, selecting A in the aperture ring, or manual.
The aperture/light meter information is displayed in the viewfinder and in the small window on the top plate.

The interchangeable backs were a very useful accessory, one could change ISO or film type in the middle of a photo session.
Unfortunately I have three and all of them have severe light leaks.

The lens change is very easy, just push the release button and turn it 1/4 of a turn CCW and replace it by the lens of your choice.

The light meter is very precise and the viewfinder quite bright.

What I can tell you about it is that is a very pleasant to use camera, with great results from it's great lens.

Some shots taken with it:


XVIII Encontro Nacional e VI Aniversário 4.clube.portugal

Me and Contaflex, me and Contaflex and me and Contaflex

Lately and thanks to my friends Hugo and Nuno the Contaflex family counts with two more members a Contaflex IV and a Super, folowing the family photo:


I have both new members loaded with film to show you soon what they are capable of.

Stay tuned (o;


  1. Hi,

    Wonderful as always. Could you give us some hints on shooting camera porn?




  2. @ grouchomarx:
    Thank you.
    The best hint: Keep it simple.

    In a future post I'll show you how I do it.

  3. Hi, I've mentioned you in my blog today...!




  4. @ grouchomarx:
    Nice blog. We have to meet and make a safari on our home town.

  5. In my collection of nearly 200 Zeiss and other top German,Swiss and Swedish camreas, (35mm to 8x10) I have twenty two of these nearly complete systems -- absolutely super cameras and sharp optics. Have even figured a simple and effective way to solve the broken battery door latch problem for the Super BC's --simply drill bottom left hole in door and set inside screw through the outside door. or modify screw to fit -- paint screw top black (nail polish) and hardly even seen. These cameras are worth keeping and typical their zeiss glass is tops!

  6. Hi Raúl! I have found your blog while I was looking for this camera. I was thinking to buy a Super BC because I suppose that the CdS meter could be better than Selenium metter. But, How Can be solved the problem with the battery? I Know that exist at list four possibilities: S625PX (silver constant 1,55v), LR9 o V625 U (alkaline 1.55v no constant),WinCell MRB 625 (Zinc 1,35v), and the expensive MR9 adpapter for the cheaper one battery Oxide 386. What of this options are you using?
    Saudos da Galiza, meu vizinho câmaraólico!;)

  7. Hello Raul, I'm trying to find out about a Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Prima it come's with extra interchangable backs three different lenses filter's practually like one of your pictures above, it was my dad's he is nolonger with us and as I am digita it needs to go he bought it in the eary 60's and even though it is in a camera case and not boxed it looks mint, can you give me some idea of it's value I have seen the lenses in their case on e.bay for $350 what would the camera be worth.
    Many thanks Steve U.K.

  8. Hi there

    I have a similar camera. The shutter cocker is loose and the shutter seems to have jammed half open...

    Aby suggestions on how to fix it?