Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Zeiss Ikon SL 706

The last camera of the Icarex line was originally destined to be labeled Contaflex. It was part of a greater scheme to combine all three of their 35mm SLR systems, the Contaflex leaf shutter SLRs, the mid-range Icarex and the flagship line Contarex, all into one line. This would allow for a more flexible and versatile system, and reduce the overhead from production and management of three entirely different camera systems with practically nothing in common. The rest of the system never reached the market, and the new camera was not badged with any of the old labels. It was simply marked SL 706.

Their is little doubt where the design came from. It is essentially an Icarex 35S camera with full aperture metering and a hot shoe. Like all of the Icarex line, it was very well made. The one oddity about the camera (and with Zeiss there always seems to be something that defies reasoning) is that it was only built with the 42mm thread lens mount. It was introduced in 1971, the same year Pentax (the company who had made that mount so popular) came to Zeiss to ask them to design a bayonet mount to succeed the thread mount.

Production ended in 1972, and while it was in production it was poorly marketed, and therefore sold poorly. As a result, the SL 706 is fairly uncommon today.