Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex 126

The final model of Contaflex SLR was the most different of the bunch. Not only did it has a focal plane shutter and completely interchangeable lenses (not just interchangeable front cells, but it did not even use 35mm film. It was the Contaflex 126. It started out as a project Voightlander was working on when Zeiss took over the company. It was developed as the Icarex 126, but went into production as a Contaflex.

It used the Kodak Instant Load (Instamatic) cartridge. It was a simple design, with a very limited range of shutter speeds (1/30 to 1/500, but no bulb. It has a CdS meter providing shutter speed priority automatic exposure. The camera also set the film speed automatically, a feature designed into the Instant Load cartridge.

The camera accepted a new line of lenses from 25mm to 200mm which were compatable with no other models. The Contaflex 126 was most commonly sold in chrome finish, but black paint was also available. It was introduced at Photokina in 1966 and was available until early 1971.

Like most high end 126 cameras, it was not a great success. The preception was that the plastic 126 cartridge could not keep the film flat enough (and the design precluded a pressure plate). Also, I think the square format may have been a contributing factor. There really have not been many square small format cameras that have been successful. The Rollei SL26 was created in the same vein, and also was not really successful. The Kodak Instamatic Reflex was more so, but Kodak had a bigger marketing budget.

The Contaflex 126 in chrome finish.