1951 Classics – Contax & Tower (Nicca)


Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa and Tower (Nicca) Type-3

Two extremely different cameras that accomplish the same thing – recording an image on 135 film. The Contax is a much bigger camera and for the most part, it is an original design by Zeiss Ikon of Stuttgart. The Tower was made by Nicca Camera for the Sears, Roebuck Company for sale in the US and Canada. The Nicca was inspired by an original design by Leica and it’s often considered to be one of the better Leica “copies”.

Both cameras feature interchangeable lenses and both are rangefinders. The Contax has an attached exposure meter (non-coupled) and with the Tower, you would use a separate meter for determining proper exposures.


The Contax is a slightly larger camera and it’s a tad bit heavier due to the additional weight of the exposure meter. The Contax weighs 773 grams and the Tower weighs 591 grams.


The standard lens on the Contax is a Carl Zeiss Sonnar f/ 1.5 50mm and the Tower has a Nikkor H.C f/ 2 5cm.


What’s interesting is that back in 1951 these cameras were considered to be “miniature” 35mm cameras per their advertising of the time.

contax iia clip 1

contax IIIa and IIa

Tower Ad Page Logo

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – Chris

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2 thoughts on “1951 Classics – Contax & Tower (Nicca)

  1. Hi there Chris – I hope all is going well with you. I have copies of a British camera magazine from 1939 called Miniature Camera World. They considered cameras taking 120 and 620 film as miniature cameras, as well as 35mm.


    Liked by 1 person

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