The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

The History of the Pentacon Six

The Contax D & E

The Zeiss Ikon factory in Dresden responded by adding a small-sized capital letter D (for Dresden) under the Zeiss Ikon logo.

Contax “Small D”
The exact date of manufacture of this particular camera is not clear,
but the lens on it was completed in August 1954.
As always with interchangeable-lens cameras, we cannot be sure if this was the original lens.
Note that by now the parts for the delayed-action lever were available!

In 1952 the Contax S had another change to the name on the faceplace.  Instead of just “Contax”, the name was “Contax D”, with the D appearing after the name Contax, on the same line (known as “Contax Big D” by collectors).  The letters VEB were added under the Zeiss Ikon logo (except for in some overseas markets, for which the VEB was deliberately not engraved on the camera).

“Contax Big D”  Note another subtle change: the shape of the letter “a” in “Contax” has been simplified.
The lens is a Carl Zeiss Jena f/2.8 50mm Tessar with the “T” coating invented by Zeiss.
This particular lens was completed on 22nd December 1953.

The Contax E

Over the course of nearly ten years, there were various improvements, indicated by slight changes of name (Contax E, Contax F, etc).  In 1955, the Contax E was produced.  This had an uncoupled selenium exposure meter mounted above the prism – scarcely a new idea, as the 1936 Contax III had exactly the same kind of metering system, though of course without the prism.

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05 A new name for the mirror Contax camera: The development of the name Pentacon

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© TRA August 2010  Latest revision: October 2018