Germany 1939 – Compact – 35 mm – Rare.
The Contax II emerged as a pivotal element in Zeiss Ikon’s concerted effort to challenge Leica’s dominance during the 1930s.
Manufactured starting from 1936, the Contax II’s innovative prowess is believed to have vaulted it a decade ahead of the Leica III. At its core, it introduced an amalgamation of a range finder and viewfinder, ingeniously housed within a single prism that occupied the entirety of the camera’s upper section. In this groundbreaking design, the absence of moving components eliminated the risk of misalignment, rendering the system incredibly precise, user-friendly, and robust. Furthermore, the shutter mechanism offered a novel approach, featuring a solitary transport mechanism that operated both curtains. This distinct advantage allowed the Contax shutter to function at an unprecedented top speed of 1/1250 second with impeccable reliability.
The Contax II stands as a testament to the pinnacle of German engineering, a remarkable creation. Sadly, production was halted at the close of World War II when Dresden suffered destruction, and much of the infrastructure fell into Soviet hands, prompting Zeiss to commence anew in Stuttgart.