Originally Posted by Ste_S
I've received a Contaflex III as a present and one of the (many) nice things about it is the viewfinder and screen. Certainly one of my faves in an SLR.
Hopefully mine is a worker, it seemed ok at stopping the lens down. Running a roll through it at the moment, if it turns out fine I'll probably be getting the Pro Tessars. Such a nice camera.
Is their any compatibly issues with the Pro Tessars ? Will my III accept the f3.2 versions as well as the f4 ones ?
Congratulations. The Contaflex III was the first model to implement unitary lens focusing. It's one of the less common models, too. From memory perhaps 20,000 units?
There are some incompatibilities to be aware of relating to the lenses from the Contaflex III to S. Zeiss did make changes to the bayonet mount in the body but these were very subtle and short of close examination all appear identical.
The 35mm f/3.2 & f/4, 85mm f/3.2 and f/4 and 115mm f/4 Pro Tessars should be fine for all the unit focus Tessar models. The lugs on those lenses were specifically made to be of a dimension that's universal.
What won't work for instance (supposing you misplaced the standard front 50mm component from your III for example) is trying to substitute a front 50mm from models such as the Super B onwards. Maybe even from the Super and Rapid. III to IV or vice versa front cells ought to interchange, these two models were very similar and released close together. But the lugs on early and late 50mm components won't interchange, so if you were unfortunate enough to lose the 50mm component from your III, don't think you could just replace it with one from a Super BC or Super B—they won't fit.
The other incompatibility to be aware of relates to the M1:1 Macro Pro Tessar. These were made in early and late versions because the standard 50mm Tessar lens was re-computed for late model Contaflexes and the Macro had to be adjusted to suit. Again, the lens lugs have different dimensions, not visibly obvious, but just enough to prevent interchangeability to the wrong bodies.
The Macro is the only Pro-Tessar I don't have yet but it's said to be very good. This image on Flickr (not my own) is a valuable reference because it shows early and late M1:1 versions side by side and the comments have some helpful details.