Posts Tagged ‘contax’

Contax G1 with a Zeiss Planar 2/45mm

Friday, September 7th, 2018

This time a beau­ti­ful Con­tax G1 found its way to me, accom­pan­ied by three legendary Zeiss lenses. All parts are in good shape, so let’s see what comes out when the first film is pushed through.

On the one side, the Con­tax G-Sys­tem (i.e. the G1 and even more its sib­ling the G2) is said to be the world’s most advanced 35mm rangefind­er cam­era sys­tem. On the oth­er side its said that beside all its mer­its, it has its rough edges too. More on that later 😉

Here are the three stel­lar lenses I meant, start­ing with the Carl Zeiss Biogon 2.8/28mm …

… the Carl Zeiss Planar 2.0/45mm …

Contax Zeiss Planar 2/45mm

… and the Carl Zeiss Son­nar 2.8/90mm.

All three are rated as superb from a wide range of review­ers on the web — all far more exper­i­enced pho­to­graph­ers than I will ever be 😉

But now, film is loaded and on we go — an Agfa Vista 200 will do the job.

The Con­tax G1 body has been reviewed on sev­er­al web-loc­a­tions — just check my web­site to name some — so there is no need to repeat. There are some points which are widely cri­ti­cized — things like a hyper sens­it­ive shut­ter but­ton, a small view­find­er, too slow max­im­um shut­ter speed and an unre­li­able auto­fo­cus — so I’ll have an eye on these.

The first lens I’ll try is the Carl Zeiss Planar 2.0/45mm, which is said to be  one of the best lenses of all times.

Puh, … film is done and in the lab. In the mean­time I can talk about how it went, shoot­ing this combo.

To me, this cam­era is a little gem. It fits in the hand like it was made for … me. Reminds me some­how on its SLR sib­ling — the 159MM. All dials and switches and but­tons are simply where they should be. As I was shoot­ing in aper­ture pri­or­ity mode with auto­fo­cus, the only thing to adjust was the aper­ture.

First point, the max­im­um shut­ter speed of 1/2000s was nev­er an issue.

Shoot­ing ISO 200 film there is plenty of room for adjust­ments for play­ing with depth of field. Using film with ISO 100 or ISO 400 or even ISO 800 makes it easy to work when the envir­on­ment makes it neces­sary. I do not know how some claim this 1/2000s to be an issue — too slow and not fast enough. Dur­ing their time, 1/2000s was not that bad, when most SLR and Rangefind­er offered 1/1000s — and yes I know there were SLR offer­ing 1/4000s already … at least some.

Maybe com­ing from mod­ern DSLR or Mir­ror­less Cam­er­as (I really like this term as it describes an object with its miss­ing fea­ture) with their max­im­um shut­ter speed of 1/4000s or 1/8000s or even elec­tron­ic shut­ter with 1/32000s is some­how chal­len­ging for those old cam­er­as, but really .… it’s nice hav­ing it, but who need this?

Second point, the hyper sens­ible shut­ter but­ton.

When ‘half-pressed’, it trig­gers auto­fo­cus and auto­ex­pos­ure meas­ure­ment. To call this ‘half-pressed’ is some­what funny as you do not really need to ‘press’. I com­pare it more with the shut­ter but­ton of my Min­olta X-700, where a slight touch trig­gers the meas­ure­ment. That’s it.

You get used to it the more you use it. Is this not the same with all things you learn? Learn­ing to ride a bicycle is tricky in the begin­ning, but once you got it, it’s pretty easy for the rest of your life as you know how to keep the bal­ance.

Third point, the auto­fo­cus.

I can remem­ber my Yash­ica T5 which too has a cent­ral auto­fo­cus field only. Not hav­ing the inten­ded object in this focus field gives a missed focus … les­son learned.

Same for my Can­on AF35 MKII. Cent­ral auto­fo­cus field and if you miss your inten­ded object it res­ul­ted in a missed focus … les­son learned. Easi­est to be seen when shoot­ing two people, fram­ing that both are placed well and point­ing the cent­ral focus field in the middle between them. Wow … get’s the back­ground sharp and in focus then.

And yes, if you place ver­tic­al lines in this focus field it helps a lot. So there’s noth­ing spe­cial with it. Learn it and then do it — it’s like rid­ing a bicycle. That the pass­ive auto­fo­cus is not that good in really low light does not bear a big sur­prise. No con­trast, no auto­fo­cus. If you keep this in mind, auto­fo­cus works like always — and it’s fast enough.

If you come from the digit­al age with your DSLR and Mir­ror­less Cam­era car­ry­ing tril­lions of focus points spread over the whole sensor and work­ing with arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence like algorithms to auto detect everything … yes, then you per­haps might get a little bit lost with a single cent­ral focus field.

I learned, that many pro­fes­sion­al pho­to­graph­ers often deac­tiv­ate their auto­de­tect everything auto­fo­cus and use the cent­ral focus field only. Guess why?

Fourth point, a small view­find­er … can we please skip this and go to the next point.

Indeed it’s small — the smal­lest I’ve ever seen, besides some very old cam­er­as like my Zeiss Ikon Ercona II. Once you know how to best look through it (i.e. pos­i­tion your eye), you see all things neces­sary. The info pan­el on the bot­tom, the cent­ral auto­fo­cus field and the full frame (pun inten­ded). Noth­ing more is needed to frame and focus.

Shure, if the view­find­er would be like on a Min­olta Dyn­ax 9 this would be fant­ast­ic (more on that in a later post). But finally it shows what it should and its suc­cessor made it bet­ter with a lar­ger view­find­er — on the G2.

Next point … my con­clu­sion:

If you can find one — get one and enjoy it.

Point one, two, three and four show to me that you do not need to worry using this cam­era. Those were the most cri­ti­cized top­ics and none is a show stop­per. The oppos­ite is the case — this cam­era fells into hand as it was made for and it’s hand­ling is so easy.

Besides all that tech­nic­al stuff, this cam­era is a real beauty — as beau­ti­ful as a cam­era can be. To me, this is a won­der­ful piece of tech­no­logy and worth being used to take pic­tures without any doubt.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to vis­it my web­site or my flickr page too.

So long … and thanks for all the fish.

P.S. Just to men­tion, the full film can be found on flickr in col­our and in black and white.

The Beauty and the Beast III

Friday, August 10th, 2018

From time to time I take a pic­ture show­ing two cam­er­as side by side where I think it’s worth it. The first and the second image can be found here, show­ing two Can­on bod­ies (a Can­on EOS 3 vis-a-vis a Can­on EOS 5D) and two Con­tax bod­ies (a Con­tax Aria vis-a-vis a Con­tax AX).

This time two Min­olta bod­ies found their way into my focus. They both make a very good job as pho­to­graph­ic tools and both still look like new.

The Min­olta X-700 was the end­point of the manu­al focus SLR from Min­olta and served many years as my pre­ferred cam­era dur­ing the 80s. Besides a manu­al mode it offered aper­ture pri­or­ity mode and a pro­gram mode. It is equipped here with my goto lens — a MD Rokkor 1.4/50mm.

The Min­olta Dyn­ax 9 was Minolta’s final film auto­fo­cus SLR. An extreme pro­fes­sion­al body with tons of premi­um fea­tures nev­er matched by any of the  com­pet­it­ors. Some say it was the best film auto­fo­cus SLR ever made. It is equipped here with an AF Macro 2.8/50mm lens.

They are both excel­lent tools from two dif­fer­ent peri­ods in the devel­op­ment of cam­era tech­no­logy — manu­al focus vs auto­fo­cus.

Just to men­tion … the shot was taken with a Sony A7R2 and a Con­tax Carl Zeiss Planar 1.4/50mm lens attached.

In case you’d like to com­ment, it’s appre­ci­ated … and maybe, you want to vis­it my web­site or my flickr page too.

So long … and thanks for all the fish.

Contax 139 Quartz and … the rise of the Phoenix

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

I thought it might be a good idea, to tell the story of  a Con­tax 139 Quartz being dressed in a new leath­er cov­er. Here is how the hid­den beauty — Con­tax 139 Quartz — looks like before treat­ment …

Front Cov­er

Back Cov­er

Left Front Cov­er

Right Front Cov­er

And now let’s start with some beau­ti­fic­a­tion 😉

There are some resources on the web where you can find new cov­ers — one of them is Mor­gan Sparks from

Mor­gan offers loads of stuff fit­ting per­fectly for a whole bunch of cam­era types. Deliv­ery from the US works flaw­less … per­fect ser­vice!

The cov­er for my Con­tax 139 Quartz is about $19.50 plus ship­ping and it’s worth it. My first two Con­tax 139 are real beau­ties now.

You can find an excel­lent how-to on his web page for both meth­ods — dry and wet.

Step 1: Remove old cov­er
As one knows, Con­tax used real leath­er for its old SLR. Unfor­tu­nately this cov­er det­or­i­ated over time and what remains is quite ugly.

Before we can apply the new cov­er, the old one needs to be removed com­pletely. Some­times the old cov­er can be pulled off quite eas­ily … let’s see … ups, this time it was quite a dirty job and I used some stain remover.

I use a brand from East Ger­many called Nuth … the best I found for a lot of clean­ing pur­pose.

After remov­ing the old cov­er, take some clean­ing alco­hol and clean the cam­era sur­face care­fully so that no dirt or fat (from the fin­gers) remains.

Step 2: Apply the parts
There are three parts pre-cut — the back, the left front and the right front.

The cov­er has a top side and an — very adhes­ive — back side. DO NOT TOUCH THE ADHESIVE SIDE — as this might ruin its cap­ab­il­ity to adhere!!!

So let’s start with … the back. First pull the part off from the sheet and put it with the front side on a tab­let.

Pre­pare a small cup with water, add a drop (!) of deter­gent — see hint on Mor­gans’ webpage .

Now take a small brush and put some water on the adhes­ive side — this will reduce adhe­sion until the water evap­or­ates.

Next, take up the part care­fully and apply it onto to the cam­era. As long as it is wet, you can slightly move it to cor­rect its pos­i­tion until it fits.

Care­fully apply some pres­sure to the cov­er by smoot­ing.
Now do the same for the oth­er cov­er parts.

Step 3: Have fun
The final res­ult should look like this.

Back Cov­er

Front Cov­er

Now … I’m keen to load a first film into that beauty.

Enjoy 😉

P.S. In case you’d like to com­ment … it’s appre­ci­ated!
P.P.S. … and maybe, you want to check out my web­site too.
P.P.P.S. … and don’t for­get my Flickr page.

Homeland — Amaryllis

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

That day the weath­er was cold but sunny — at least  in the morn­ing. Sun was com­ing in through the large win­dows and gave some beau­ti­ful light­ing.
This Amaryl­lis is going on now since Christ­mas and it’s still not at it’s end.

As I’m cur­rently exper­i­ment­ing with a Sony A7R2 and old glass, I had moun­ted a Con­tax Carl Zeiss Planar 1.4/50mm.
This lens gives some very very beau­ti­ful res­ults. As often, I have tried a black&white ver­sion too.

I applied some pre­sets in Nik’s Col­or Efex and Sil­ver Efex applic­a­tions and I’m get­ting more and more pleased with the res­ults.

Enjoy 😉

P.S. In case you’d like to com­ment … it’s appre­ci­ated!
P.P.S. … and maybe, you want to check out my web­site too.
P.P.P.S. … and don’t for­get my Flickr page.

New Kids on the Contax/Yashica Block …

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Some new kids arrived today to play with.

First — and hope­fully the last of the kids — is a Con­tax Aria.

Second — try­ing to com­plete the C/Y lens lineup — are three Yash­ica ML kids. One is the Yash­ica ML 2.8/35mm — one of my favor­ite focal lenghts.

Yashica ML 2.8/35mm

Anoth­er one is the Yash­ica ML 2.8/24mm — a highly regardes lens.

Yashica ML 2.8/24mm

And the last one is a Yash­ica ML 3.5/21mm lens — the pre­de­cessor of the legendary and highly expens­ive Zeiss 21mm lens.

Yashica ML 3.5/21mm

Hope, that soon I’ll have time to push a roll of film through the Aria with each of the new kids.

Enjoy 😉

P.S. In case you’d like to com­ment … it’s appre­ci­ated!
P.P.S. … and maybe, you want to check out my web­site too.
P.P.P.S. … and don’t for­get my Flickr page.