The Zeiss Ikon Contessa – A Unique 1950s Foldable Camera

1955 Zeiss Ikon Contessa

1955 Zeiss Ikon Contessa


A Nashville-based photographer, Benjamin Perlin has a passion for traditional film cameras and enjoys exploring darkroom techniques in creating images. Among the traditional cameras Benjamin (“Ben”) Perlin owns is a 1955 Zeiss Ikon Contessa that he purchased at a bookseller’s stand.

One of the more unconventional cameras of its era, the Contessa has a folding design that makes it eminently portable. Folding offers the additional advantage of creating a rigid case that protects delicate components such as the shutter and lens.

The folding design necessitated several innovations, including a rangefinder with contra rotating prism optical technologies. Housed above the lens, the prisms linked to the rotating lens allowed clear focus to be achieved at distance, despite a compact lens. Another unusual element is a large-sized shutter release knob right of the lens that is not pressed inward, as is standard, but sideways.

The Zeiss lens action was controlled by an advanced-for-its-era Synchro Compur shutter and MX sync. The sturdy construction features chrome and brass, making it a long-lasting model that easily outlasts many of its modern plastic-molded digital counterparts. The Zeiss Ikon Contessa stands as a classic model that is still treasured by classic camera enthusiasts.

Sparring Martial Arts pic

Three Tips for Better Sparring in Martial Arts

Sparring Martial Arts pic

Sparring Martial Arts

Benjamin “Ben” Perlin volunteers for multiple charities and organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Tennessee State Veterans Home. Outside of his volunteer efforts, Benjamin Perlin practices karate and is close to earning his black belt.

Whether you are just starting out in martial arts, or on track to become a black belt, sparring is one of the most important aspects of learning. Here are three tips to get the most from your sparring sessions.

1. Relax – Your body’s natural reaction to a threat is to pump you full of adrenaline and emotion, which often helps in fight or flight situations. While you know you are in no real danger, your body might not realize that. Keeping your cool will help you avoid mistakes and prevent a sparring session from becoming an actual fight.

2. Be Serious – While sparring is not a full-on fight, it should be taken seriously. One of the goals of sparring is to encourage good habits and form, while also challenging you to think on your feet, as you would in a fight. Do not be afraid to try combinations and tougher moves, as sparring offers the perfect opportunity to try them out and develop your technique.

3. Let Go of Your Ego – If you have ever sparred with somebody at a far higher skill level, it can hurt the ego more than the body. Instead of looking at it as a superior showing you up, see it for the learning opportunity it is.