Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

35/3.5 Zeiss Stereotar C for Contax

The Stereotar C mounted on a Contax IIa.

Zeiss redesigned the Stereotar for the Contax, and in 1952 released the 3.5 version. It differed from the pre-war version as the lens contains part of the rangefinder optics in an arm, similar to that which was found on the pre-war Nettax camera. Because the rangefinder base was shortened of the post-war cameras, it will only rangefinder couple with them.

It was provided with a prism for distances over 2.5 meters, providing the greater stereo separation needed. It also came with a separate viewfinder and a Contameter close up set. There were also accessory close up lenses mounted to a frame to define the focus and frame. They were available in lengths of 6, 9 and 13cm.

Looking at a 1960 dealer catalog, I find it interesting to note that the Stereotar was sold with the beamsplitter for $164 (although they were also offered separately for $125 and $39 respectively). The viewfinder ($10), the Contameter rangefinder (without Proxars, $66), the Proxars ($16.50 each) and the case ($29) were all sold separately. So if you have an outfit that is incomplete, pieces may not have been lost, but rather never purchased originally.

1200 were made in two batches, serial numbers St12201 to St12700 and St15001 to St15700. This is still an expensive and desirable addition to any Contax collection.

The same outfit, but with the prism attached for distances of over 2.5 meters.

The back of the lens, showing the septum.

The back of the prism, with it's two specialized caps.

The fitted case that holds it all.

A boxed outfit! The finder was sold separately and would not be in the box.

Another look at the Stereotar in it's box.

The Stereotar instruction book.