Contessa Nettel Cocarette with Carl Zeiss Tessar (camera mod)

Craft & Design
Contessa Nettel Cocarette with Carl Zeiss Tessar (camera mod)

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MAKE Flickr photo pool member Arkku writes –

This is a 6×9 rollfilm camera made by Contessa Nettel (one of the companies which merged to form Zeiss Ikon in 1926). The lens is a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 105mm f/4.5, in a dial-set Compur shutter. The camera has rack focusing, meaning that the entire lens assembly moves for focusing. This gives higher image quality than front-element focusing, where only the front element of the lens is moved.

The camera’s back doesn’t open, but rather the film is first loaded onto an insert that slides into the camera. The back, however, has a small circular door for cleaning the back of the lens.

I removed the circular door from the back of the camera and glued a short (11mm) M42 extension tube in it’s place. Now the entire camera can be attached to my DSLR with an M42 adapter, and pictures can be taken through the lens. Thanks to the rack focusing mechanism, infinity focus is possible by not fully extending the bellows. For close-up photography, the bellows work really well for macro extension.

In my initial test shots, the lens has proven to be very sharp.

Based on the serial number of the lens, this camera was probably made in 1923. It was certainly before the Zeiss Ikon -merger in 1926.

Contessa Nettel Cocarette with Carl Zeiss Tessar 105mm f/4.5 on Flickr – Photo Sharing! – [via] Link & more.

6 thoughts on “Contessa Nettel Cocarette with Carl Zeiss Tessar (camera mod)

  1. ballooney says:

    This is cool, but the old fashioned bit of me would like nothing more than to load up a roll of Ilford HP5 and go and take some photos, then spend a happy evening in the darkroom doing it the old fashioned way. Chemicals are actually far cheaper than printer ink, and I can do an A1 enlargement for about $2 :)

  2. RonGiuntini says:

    Very nice. I admire the old lenses, and you have done a nice job of putting one into use. If only you did not have to cut up the old camera back…but this might give new life to many old lenses available.

  3. Arkku says:

    The camera was not damaged in the making of this mod, the back port is supposed to be screwed off for cleaning the back element of the lens, so no cutting was done. It’s even still possible to use film in this camera, just put a rear cap on the extension tube and it works just like before. =)

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