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Zeiss Ikon Contessa was the name of a whole series of upper range cameras, produced by Zeiss Ikon, started in 1950. The S310 was the last model of the series and it was made by Voigtländer. It was released in 1971 when Voigtländer belonged to the Zeiss Ikon group. There was a rangefinder model, the S312. The Voigtländer company was sold in 1972 to Rollei. The camera was continued as Voigtländer VF 101 until 1976. The "Zeiss Tessar" lens of the S310 is a renamed Color Skopar.

Its main features are:

40mm F2.8 Tessar lens, F2.8 -F22, min. focus 0,9m
Prontor 500 S electronic shutter, 4sec.-1/500s
Size 100 x 74 x 53 mm,  Weight 451 gr. with batteries
25-400 ISO, hot shoe, cable release socket, distance, aperture and exposure time visible in the viewer


Back view. Viewer. Film movement control.

Seen from above. Hot shoe, battery control (push the little red button, it should light for 5s), film counter, shutter button with cable release socket and film advance lever.

Lens barrel. Aperture ring and distance setting. Next to the lens: "A" (automatic) setting and flash mode.

To change the ISO setting, grab the camera from the back with one hand and hold the aperture ring firmly with one finger from below. Then lift the front part of the aperture ring with the other hand by putting your thumb on the tiny little knob (near the "22" on the picture) and putting a finger on the opposite side. It only lifts half a mm on the knob side, but then you can turn the front part and adjust ISO. Sounds complicated, but isn't.

Seen from below. Battery compartment with tripod socket, back release lever and big rewind lever.

Battery compartment, battery holder unscrewed. The camera was built for PX 625 mercury batteries, no longer available. I use 4 simple PX 625a batteries. I have no problem with it, others may. Please note that the + pole is in the middle. As there is no switch to shut the circuit when the camera is not used, there is a simple trick to prevent battery draining. Just turn the little knob next to the lens from "A" to the flash symbol and the meter is off.

Film compartment open. To do so, lift the lever and make half a turn. Pull and the cover comes off.

Film pressure plate open.

It is possible, that the advance lever doesn't come back. Do not force anything, this is OK. It's the case when the film leader is not completely out of the film plane. Just push the shutter button and it comes back. If this happens at the end of the film, same procedure: just push the shutter button. The shutter will not open and ruin your last photo. Film rewind will only work after a shutter release.

If you want to advance a half exposed film, there is anothe trick. Release the shutter once and advance again. If you push the shutter button and keep it pressed, you can advance your film freely to the desired number.

The Zeiss Ikon S310 is a very compact aperture priority camera with all settings and functions, well designed and easy to handle. As
distance, aperture and exposure time settings are visible in the viewer, handling is easier than with most of the others.The lens gives superb sharp and contrasty pictures, the exposure system works well. The camera provides you with all you need if you are looking for a non-automatic camera.