Contax rf

Front view of a lens mount for Contax and Kiev rangefinder film cameras.

What’s that? 

The Contax rangefinder mount is actually two bayonet mounts in one. 

What makes this mount interesting, is that it has a focusing helicoid build into it.

  • An external mount used to mount lenses with their own focusing helicoid.
  • An internal mount used to mount lenses with no focusing helicoid of their own. 

History… in short

Developed by Carl Zeiss in 1932 for their Contax rangefinder cameras, the Contax cameras were aimed to be an advanced cameras system and a flagship for Zeiss, boasting complex features for it’s time.

The lens mount was later used by Japan’s Nikon and Russia’s Kiev. Russia acquired the plans and tools to make a Contax clone after WWII.

I personally do not prefer to shoot a Contax (or Kiev in my case), since the controls are somewhat weird. 

Focusing is done via a dial on the camera body as opposed to a lens focus ring.

Front view of a lens mount for Contax and Kiev rangefinder film cameras.
Contax Rangefinder mount on a Kiev 4 camera
My favourite lens, the Carl Zeiss Jena 5cm 1.5 Sonnar

Notable cameras:

  • Contax II, III & IIa, IIIa
  • Kiev II,III, 4
  • Nikon S3, SP 

Notable lenses:

  • Carl Zeiss lenses (Sonnar, Biotar)
  • Jupiter lenses (Jupiter-3, Jupiter-8, Jupiter-9, Jupiter-12)
  • Nikon RF lenses