Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

300/4 Zeiss Sonnar for Contax

One of the rare 300/4 Sonnar lenses for Contax finished in chrome.

The 300/4 Sonnar was the big brother of the 180/2.5 Sonnar. Like the 180, it was a five element in three group design. But it was twice as heavy as the 180, weighing in at over six pounds. It was the first lens designed for a 35mm camera to be equipped with a preset diaphragm. The aperture was set by pressing a button and rotating a ring, with the aperture number visible in a small wondow on the top of the barrel. It was only offered in Flektaskop mount until the very end, when it could be found in Panflex or Flektometer housings as well.

A very small number of them were produced in 1940 with chrome barrels, probably between 50-100 of them. The used 77mm threaded filters, or 80mm slip on filters.

Later in 1940 a batch of fifty were produced with a black paint barrel (or known serial numbers would suggest). There was also a differnece in the milling on the focus ring, from the earlier singe ring of milling to the later three rings.

After the war, Carl Zeiss Jena resumed production in 1949. The focusing ring has single milled grip towards the front. They are easy to identify as their serial numbers are higher than 3xxxxxx.