Zeiss-Ikon Contax

Cameras of Ansel Adams

The Contax was Zeiss-Ikons answer to the Leica from Leitz, meant to outperform the Leica in all ways. It was considered to be the finest 35mm camera produced up to that time, but it has flaws in reliability. Nevertheless, the Zeiss lenses were superb, and the range of options exceeded the Leicas of the time in 1932.

Ansel acquired a Contax in 1935, only a year before the far superior Contax II was released. Regardless, he was tremendously impressed with the camera. Shortly after receiving his Contax he took it for a month in the High Sierra shooting 2 dozen roles about 864 exposures. He touted the Contax as “…the single piece of equipment most responsive the the hurly-burly of real life.”

The photos below were taken by Edward Weston in November 1936.