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Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126 (10.1103) favori envoyer Print
Photos by Sylvain Halgand text by Sylvain Halgand. From the collection of Sylvain Halgand
France Version française

Chronology of the Zeiss Ikon brand  New window

Manufactured in Allemagne from 1968 until 1971.
Index of rarity in France : Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
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Inventory number: 1016

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Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126

As Rollei with its SL 26 reflex cameras, Zeiss Ikon associated the reflex camera with interchangeable lens with the 126 cartridge.
The review “Play-Magazine” (by Photo-Plait) of May 1968 presented it in a test bench:
“It combines the highest technical performances with a remarkable ease of use.

It is undoubtedly because of the prestige attached in the name of “Contaflex” that this new “126” (indicative of all the cameras receiving the instapak invented by Kodak) which was to be called Icarex 126, was baptized “Contaflex 126”. The two cameras however in common have only their system of measurement of the exposure.

Finder

It is a mirror reflex camera, with top prism rectifying the image completely. It is of a remarkable luminosity on all the surface of viewfinder. The center, a stigometer, surrounded by a dulled ring, allows a rigorous control of the focusing and depth of field. In the finder, we can also read the diaphragm chosen by the automatic exposure system. Red zones indicate the limits of “on” and “under-exposure”.

Exposure setting

It is automatically assured, after choice of speed being appropriate for the subject, by a photoresistive cell, with CdS, which regulates the diaphragm with the necessary aperture. Measurement operate behind the lens. It calculate exactly on what will be recorded on the film. The cell is placed above the eyepiece of the finder. At the time of the installation of the charger, the cell is regulated automatically, according to the emulsion which it contains, by a system of standardized notches.

The shutter

It is a film gate shutter, especially studied for Contaflex 126. It goes from 1/30° to 1/500° of second. Very astute innovation, the indication speeds in split seconds is doubled symbols appearing the circumstances of optimum use.

Lenses

The basic lens is marvellous Tessar F/2,8 of 45 mm from Carl Zeiss. its focusing distance goes down to 50 cm. The very brought closer shootings are thus possible without accessories. Four optics is also available:

Wide-angle Carl Zeiss Distagon 1:2,8 of 32 mm Mise at the point up to 30 cm.
Normal, Zeiss Ikon Color Pantar 1:3,8 of 45 mm especially corrected for the color. Focusing up to 50 cm.
Small-Telephoto: Carl Zeiss Sonnar 1:2,8 of 85 mm particularly recommended for the portrait, at the house or in the open air.
Telephoto - Carl Zeiss 1:3 Tele-Tessar of 135 mm.

All these lenses are equipped with the automatic preselection of the diaphragm. Their installation by fast bayonet is instantaneous. They are equipped with a frontal bayonet 50 mms in diameter for the fixing of the front lens and the filters; this system is in all points excellent.

Drive of film

By fast cursor behind of the camera. In two blows of thumb, it ensures at the same time the raising of the mirror and the winding of the shutter. Also let us recall that charger 126 removes the rewinding.

With the flash

For the shootings with the flash, a pressure on a lever uncouples the automatic system of exposure. At the same time, the shutter is regulated itself over the required duration, that is to say 1/30° of second and a signal “flash” appears in the finder. With lenses 32 and 45 mm, the diaphragm is regulated automatically with the necessary aperture according to the distance from focusing. A red signal ignites in the finder when the selected distance is too weak for the power of the flash. It is seen that there too, Zeiss sought to discharge the operator from all concern.
The scale of the number-guides goes from 12 to 65 and the body comprises two independent flash contacts, for “X” and “M”, i.e. electronic flash and lamp magnesium.

Our opinion

It is necessary to admire in this camera, not only the meticulous care taken to its manufacture - quality Zeiss Ikon Voigtländer is legendary - but the concern of the originators of losing sight of the fact only the idea first system 126: to simplify the life of the user all while offering to him very wide possibilities in the fields of the composition ( viewfinding reflex camera and interchangeable optics) of the sporting views (high shutter speeds and luminous optics) of the photograph of interior and night (automatic flash). The realization of Contaflex 126 put at stake the most advanced techniques, but finally the amateur has nothing any more but one single concern: to centre its subject and to press on the button at the good time. “

Note: do not forget that Photo-Plait, author of the test bench, was a salesman of this camera.