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Zeiss Contax Forum for the classic Zeiss Contax I, II, III, IIa, IIIa , G series, and if you want to push it, the nice Contax point and shoots. Some spill over from the Kievs, the Soviet copy of the Contax II/III can also be expected. Plus the ONLY production camera ever made in classic Zeiss Contax Rangefinder mount WITH TTL metering ... the Voigtlander Bessa R2C.

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Options for replacing Contax II?
Old 06-05-2018   #1
contaxNewb
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Options for replacing Contax II?

Hello again...


So I am the original poster of the thread below about "Advice for Getting Started with Contax II," and definitely bad news. Just found out the shutter straps/cloths on mine are indeed broken. The advice I got from the shop was to treat it as a "parts" camera or a "shelf sitter." The first option seems undesirable, because I got this from the original owners family, and it has a great history of use in the War that I can document from the original owner. Seems it should be honored in some way rather than parted out.



That said, I am not a collector, and am really looking for one like this to use, and another person suggested perhaps I opt for tracking down a Contax IIA since their opinion was the shutter would be a bit more reliable? And not huge difference otherwise with prewar Contax IIs?


Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas? Again, in a perfect world, this Contax II from '36 which I own would be my ideal camera for some personal reasons, but since I am looking for use mainly to recapture the experience and spirit behind war era-ish Contaxes, I suppose if the IIA would indeed be a better option for use and function and reliability, I could go for that.



Look forward to any thoughts or guidance!
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Old 06-05-2018   #2
Swift1
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One option would be one of the early Kiev-2 or Kiev-2a cameras, which are basically Contax cameras anyway.
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Old 06-05-2018   #3
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by contaxNewb View Post
Hello again...


So I am the original poster of the thread below about "Advice for Getting Started with Contax II," and definitely bad news. Just found out the shutter straps/cloths on mine are indeed broken. The advice I got from the shop was to treat it as a "parts" camera or a "shelf sitter." The first option seems undesirable, because I got this from the original owners family, and it has a great history of use in the War that I can document from the original owner. Seems it should be honored in some way rather than parted out.



That said, I am not a collector, and am really looking for one like this to use, and another person suggested perhaps I opt for tracking down a Contax IIA since their opinion was the shutter would be a bit more reliable? And not huge difference otherwise with prewar Contax IIs?


Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas? Again, in a perfect world, this Contax II from '36 which I own would be my ideal camera for some personal reasons, but since I am looking for use mainly to recapture the experience and spirit behind war era-ish Contaxes, I suppose if the IIA would indeed be a better option for use and function and reliability, I could go for that.



Look forward to any thoughts or guidance!
The ribbon thing is really not that big a deal. Because (a) they are not that hard to replace, and (b) it’s not like they fail every six months. They should last for many years if quality silk material is correctly installed. Get the ribbons fixed and live happily ever after. The II is a superior camera to the post war IIa in almost every way except the quality of chroming.
Cheers
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Old 06-05-2018   #4
BillBingham2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
The ribbon thing is really not that big a deal. Because (a) they are not that hard to replace, and (b) it’s not like they fail every six months. They should last for many years if quality silk material is correctly installed. Get the ribbons fixed and live happily ever after. ....
+1

Get-her fixed and enjoy. Check posts here (RFF) and send it to the best place you can afford (cost, time) and keep us in the loop as to how you make out.

B2 (;->
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Old 06-05-2018   #5
xayraa33
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A good pre 1973 Kiev 4a would be my choice.

Available, with plenty around and very affordable and if lost or stolen or dropped off a cliff it would not be a big deal.
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Old 06-05-2018   #6
Larry Cloetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
The ribbon thing is really not that big a deal. Because (a) they are not that hard to replace, and (b) it’s not like they fail every six months. They should last for many years if quality silk material is correctly installed. Get the ribbons fixed and live happily ever after. The II is a superior camera to the post war IIa in almost every way except the quality of chroming.
Cheers
Brett
+2. Better to have that one repaired than to get something else, for a whole host of reasons, even if it didn’t have the history.
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Old 06-05-2018   #7
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Some people keep having their Leica M film bodies serviced every now and then. This is just ridiculous.

On the other hand, starting to use a Contax II in original condition and not very recently serviced and blessed with new ribbons, and thinking that it will work is a bit candid. The infamous prewar Contax shutter ribbons problem cannot be ignored.

What happened to you is normal 100%. Now have it overhauled and fitted with new ribbons then enjoy it. Of course if you can't perform this yourself (something any Contax II owner should learn, because few repairmen would now tackle this camera) you have to find an honest guy who would do the job first. There is one person in California claiming he's the only one etc but he's just close to be a genuine crook and that's it.

The Contax IIa is (almost) immune from the shutter ribbons failure problem indeed but it's plagued with many other design flaws. It's not really a better option unless you find one of the few which will work perfect and each day that will come. This is a kind of a lottery. On most you will encounter high speeds shutter problems which will be quite impossible to sort out for good.

At the end of the day the only really reliable vintage rangefinders with that lens mount are the Nikons. A Nikon S2 in particular while being no Contax will have that "Contax feel". Of course the S2 ain't a prewar Contax and you may encounter some minor focusing accuracy problems with your Zeiss 5cm lens at close distances and wide apertures (or not, that's a kind of a lottery too).
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Old 06-05-2018   #8
David Hughes
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I've got to agree with the others and say get it repaired. The Contax and Sonnar are a pleasant combination and ribbons don't fail every couple of years. Some have even got the original ones in them and are still going strong but after 80 years or so it might just be expected.

In the meantime there are plenty of other film RF's available at silly (high and low) prices; so you can play with film & sort out everything else whilst waiting for your vereran's return.

Regards, David
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Old 06-05-2018   #9
contaxNewb
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Thanks for the encouragement to repair it everyone! I think I will indeed go with the plan of sending it for a proper repair, and in the meantime find a cheaper rangefinder for continuing to learn and play with. I am not "in" to the camera for very much, so I'll invest in bringing it back. Now to find someone who can do the shutter....



Question-- since my lens is good, I am thinking maybe to find a IIA or IIIA with a different lens-- maybe swapping between them later? Are prewar Zeiss lenses compatible with post war IIA or IIIA cameras? And vice versa?
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Old 06-05-2018   #10
KoNickon
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Oleg Khalyavin seems to me to be an excellent option for the repair. I'll let others chime in here -- maybe he doesn't use exactly the right ribbon, or maybe even swaps in Kiev parts judiciously, but he fixes the cameras quickly and for a reasonable price. I have a III that I got from a guy here on RfF some years ago, which Oleg had repaired. Works great. I'm sure it's not as smooth as it might have been if it had gone to that fellow in California, but I am happy.
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Old 06-05-2018   #11
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As far as i know all iia lenses fit the ii but not vice versa. The ii's 35 Biogon doesn't mount on the iia..
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Old 06-06-2018   #12
David Hughes
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Hi,

OK, but why get a similar camera to the Contax as it means you'll then have two when the first one is repaired? (And then the saga might start all over again with the second one...)

In your shoes; given your interest in history, I'd look for a Leica model II. That was the camera that really started the battle between Contax and Leica and so would also be interesting from a historic point of view. Also the lens to compare with the Sonnar is the Summitar. Or you could spend more and find a post war Leica IIIc and Summitar but the post war lenses are coated...

The cheap option is a FED 1 or Zorki 1 (almost identical to a Leica II but tweaked slightly) and a Jupiter-8 (Sonnar development) or the f/3.5 FED or Industar. Regardless of what people say the FED and Zorki are real RF's and just need a fraction of the love Leica and Contx get to be enjoyable.

There's another option as we have been discussing manual unmetered cameras; that's to jump into an auto or semi auto RF like Konica, Olympus, Ricoh and so on made. Most of them are dirt cheap and have excellent lenses by pre-war standards.

Anyway, have fun and don't have too many sleepless nights thinking about it.

Regards, David
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Old 06-06-2018   #13
leicapixie
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I have been offered Contax, pre war and post war.
I have never tried any!
The Nikon RF however, is a whole different ball game!
Almost every "Life-Time-Fortune" photographer used them.
This in addition to the mandatory 2-1/4 in Rollei or similar.
Nikon solved the shutter problem by using the Leica type shutter way improved.
The Nikkor lenses are superb, as used by many on their Leicas!
Buying OLD cameras mean they do NOT include a Lifetime warranty.
Look at the Nikon RF sites and wonder of wonder, they don't all need services! (Leica) .
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Old 06-06-2018   #14
Erik van Straten
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I agree with leicapixie that the Nikon RF-cameras are great. The Nikon RF 35mm lenses are very good too. But the 50mm lenses? The best 50mm lens for the Nikon RF is the VC S Skopar 50mm f/2.5! The Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 has very weak corners. The Nikkor 50mm f/2 has distortion. The Nikkor Olympic 50mm f/1.4 is way too expensive as is it's new version.

I bought the S Skopar 50mm f/2.5 in mint condition for less than EUR 100! It is always on my S2.

Erik.
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Old 06-09-2018   #15
leicapixie
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I agree with Erik 100%!
About a week ago I added (why, why) a Nikon-F original body 1966,
with 50mm f 2.0 lens!
The 50mm looks almost like the RF version but made for the mirror box.
It's awful, weird backgrounds, flares easy and has distortion.
It is clean!
The lens totally different from my 50mm f2.0!
I shall have loads of fun with all the faults.:-)
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