04 December, 2015

Contax FB vs. Contaflex Super B

Contax FB vs. Contaflex Super B
Today a little bit about the cold war of Zeiss (Ikon) East and Zeiss (Ikon) West. The whole history is quiet complicated and long to tell, therefore here the short version from wikipedia:
"At the end of the war Jena was occupied by the US Army. When Jena [Carl Zeiss] and Dresden [Zeiss Ikon] were incorporated into the Soviet occupation zone, later East Germany, some parts of Zeiss Jena were relocated by the US army to the Contessa manufacturing facility in Stuttgart, West Germany, while the remainder of Zeiss Jena was reestablished by the (Eastern) German Democratic Republic as Kombinat VEB Zeiss Jena. [...] The western business was restarted in Oberkochen (in southwestern Germany) as Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH in 1946, which became Zeiss-Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH in 1947, but was soon renamed to Carl Zeiss. West German Zeiss products were labelled Opton for sale in the Eastern bloc, while East German Zeiss products were labelled 'Zeiss Jena' for sale in Western countries." (source)
Later Zeiss West prohibited Zeiss East to call itself and their lenses Carl Zeiss and the cameras Zeiss Ikon resp. Contax: "The Contax S was the first SLR with built-in Pentaprism. The Contax/Pentacon models were developed during a period which was dominated by the lawsuit between VEB Zeiss Ikon Dresden and Zeiss Ikon AG Stuttgart. As a result the name 'Pentacon' was created from Pentaprism Contax." (source)

Of course, I've always wanted a wonderful Eastern Contax S, but also a Western Contaflex.
Some weeks ago I've found at ebay a wonderful Pentacon FB, the export version of the Contax FB, for little money and bought it. It was just the body and the original leather case. I attached a Schacht Edixa-Travenar-A 2.8/50mm to it. Okay, it is a West German lens and originally made for a Edixa SLR, but the Pentacon and Praktica export versions often gained lenses from West German manufacturers like Isco, Steinheil, Enna and Schacht. Therefore it is almost historically correct.
picture from the ebay seller

Two weeks later I also found at ebay a Contaflex Super B with the original leather case and original lens hood for little money, too.
picture from the ebay seller

Both cameras are single lens reflex cameras, but there is a big difference. The Contax/Pentacon has like allmost all 35mm SLRs and DSLRs a focal-plane shutter.
Another focal-plane shutter SLR, the Voigtländer VSL 1 TM

But the Contaflex has like many (view)finder cameras and the Medium Format SLRs a leaf shutter. A leaf shutter in a 35mm SLR was very complicated to make and only a few manufacturers like Agfa, Kodak Germany, Voigtländer, Aires, Kowa, Mamiya and of course Zeiss Ikon made them, but also Pentacon.
Another leaf shutter SLR, the Voigtländer Bessamatic de Luxe (from my girlfriend)

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