The History of the Pentacon Six
Contax decided to build the Flektoscope
mirror housing into the camera body. This would in
fact convert the rangefinder Contax into a 35mm Single
Lens Reflex Contax – a “Spiegel-Contax” (“Mirror
Contax”) or “Contax S”. A 35mm SLR had of course
been produced by Exakta & the oddly-shaped Russian
Sport in 1936, but the new Contax was to add to the body
a fixed pentaprism, giving eye-level viewing with an
image that was the right way-up and the right way
round. During the war, the company was unable to
produce the camera, but in 1948 the Contax S was finally
produced by the original Contax factory in
Dresden. The camera itself bore the Zeiss Ikon
logo but only the name “Contax”, with the “S” being
added only in printed literature. (Hummel
p.207) It abandoned the bayonet lens mounts of the
pre-war Contax (there were two of them on each camera!),
and adopted the M 42×1 screw thread that had been
developed by another firm, Kamera-Werkstätten,
Niedersedlitz, Dresden, for their Praktica cameras.
The camera was a world-wide success, but
the new Contax company in Stuttgart, West Germany was
getting ready to re-start production of Contax
rangefinder cameras which were only slightly modified
from the pre-war versions.
Zeiss Ikon West Germany initiated legal action to prevent the Dresden factory using the Zeiss Ikon and Contax names on their new camera.
For information on a special, probably
unique, Contax S, see here.
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© TRA August 2010 Latest revision: May 2017