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Soon after its launch, the large, round Selenium cell meter mounted over its lens gained the Contarex the nickname of the Bullseye or Cyclops.


If you want a light, compact 35mm SLR, this is not the camera for you. If you require basic controls and rugged reliability backed by a maker renowned for high quality workmanship, read on.


An aperture scale is inset into a curved window above the meter, with f-stops controlled by a thumb wheel beside the lens. Focal plane shutter speeds of 1-1/1000 second are set on a ring around the film advance lever. As each is adjusted, match-needle metering shows the correct exposure with indicators in the viewfinder and in a top plate window. A split image rangefinder aids focusing


Bayonet-mount interchangeable Planar, Distagon, Sonnar and Tessar lenses were originally advertised with focal lengths from 21mm to 500mm.


Also available is an interchangeable film back with darkslide, which enables film to be safely changed mid-roll. A specific sequence must be followed when removing it: pull out darkslide, advance film, push back darkslide, release back.

1960: Zeiss Ikon Contarex


The Contarex, also known as the Bullseye or Cyclops.

Top plate of the camera, showing the shutter speed control and match-needle metering window between the pentaprism and the rewind knob.

Left: The interchangeable film back with darkslide partially withdrawn


Above: Breaking down the Contarex: film back, body, lens, UV filter and lens hood.

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