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Jammed Contax II repair service.
Old 05-16-2015   #1
Sid836
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Jammed Contax II repair service.

My wonderful Contax II is jammed. Could you please advice me who could have it repaired?
I live in Greece, I would prefer sending it somewhere in Europe, but I would not mind sending it elsewhere. I have checked in the sticky thread, but I can find repair services for the modern Contax Cameras.
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Old 05-17-2015   #2
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I'm sure some RFFers will be able to help, as many here do use the Contax II, III, IIa and IIIa. You might also try a search of the forum, especially this sub-forum.

What are the symptoms of the jam?
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Old 05-17-2015   #3
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I have been shooting with it and mid roll the upper curtain remained up and the shutter rewind cannot be turned.
I will send it to Mr Henry Scherer for repair. I love it and no way I will let myself do any harm to it. It is most likely that I will make things worse.
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Old 05-17-2015   #4
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My recommendation would be Mark Hansen (though he seems to be as overloaded as Henry Scherer) or Uwe Kersten (of http://www.kamera-restauration.de/) - both Contax II experts within the EU, which will spare you quite a bit of hassle with the customs offices.
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Old 05-18-2015   #5
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Unfortunately Mark Hansen had responded that he is no longer servicing pre-war Contax cameras:
"I am sorry to say the only reliable repair source for the Contax I, II, and III line of cameras is Henry Sheerer.".
Is there anybody else in the EU that could repair it?
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Old 05-18-2015   #6
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Ed Trzoska in Leicester is the UK's Contax (and general Zeiss Ikon) expert:

http://europhotoservices.co.uk/
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Old 05-18-2015   #7
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O.k. Emailed to Mr Ed Trzoska. Fingers crossed!
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Old 05-18-2015   #8
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Ed serviced a Zeiss Ikoflex Ib for me 6 years ago. Very satisfied with his service, I would definitely recommend him.

Edit: You can contact Miles Whitehead too and see if you can get a better quote. Miles has serviced my Nikon F4 and he has done a great job. His webpage http://www.mwcamerarepairs.co.uk/
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Old 05-18-2015   #9
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Unfortunately most people in the EU seem to repair only Contax IIa and later cameras. I have emailed Ed too about my camera and await for his response.
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Old 05-18-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
Unfortunately most people in the EU seem to repair only Contax IIa and later cameras. I have emailed Ed too about my camera and await for his response.
Have you contacted Mr. Kersten? Going by his pages (http://blog.klassik-kameras.com/?cat=5) he does work on all Contax models from the I on.
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Old 05-18-2015   #11
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How can I contact him? Trying to get a contact, I get through http://www.klassik-kameras.com/ to http://www.classic-camera.de and use the form found under "Restaurationen" am I correct?
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Old 05-18-2015   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
How can I contact him? Trying to get a contact, I get through http://www.klassik-kameras.com/ to http://www.classic-camera.de and use the form found under "Restaurationen" am I correct?
Right. There is a contact form on his pages: http://www.klassik-kameras.com/epage...%2FContactForm
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Old 05-18-2015   #13
David Hughes
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I can't offer any help but I'll wish you luck. I know what it feels like when an elderly camera fails and no one seems able to help.

Regards, David
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Old 05-18-2015   #14
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Thanks David. I will definitely have it fixed. At least now I have set another goal to myself (finding somebody to repair it of course, no way I let myself doing any harm to it).
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Old 05-20-2015   #15
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Look for someone who services Russian cameras - postwar Kievs are nearly identical to Contax II and III (interchangeable parts in many cases), and were in production into the 1980s - there should be people in eastern Europe who have experience with them.
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Old 05-21-2015   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
I have been shooting with it and mid roll the upper curtain remained up and the shutter rewind cannot be turned.
I will send it to Mr Henry Scherer for repair. I love it and no way I will let myself do any harm to it. It is most likely that I will make things worse.
Good luck - there are now 383 people on Henry's waiting list. Can you do without your camera for 4-5 years?
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Old 05-21-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RObert Budding View Post
Good luck - there are now 383 people on Henry's waiting list. Can you do without your camera for 4-5 years?
That was my problem when I contacted him. I appreciate his desire to do the very best work possible, and that he is much sought after. But when I talked to him and realized the waiting time, I had to give him my thanks and decide to do it myself if possible. As I told him, at my age, I want to be able to use mine before I pass on.
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Old 05-21-2015   #18
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Fortunately Mr Uwe Kersten has responded and accepted to have my camera repaired. I will send my camera to him next week. I cannot wait for months and sending it within the EU will save me in customs trouble.
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Old 05-21-2015   #19
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What about Oleg Khalyavin? okvintagecameras.com is his site, I believe. He definitely works on the Contax II and III, since they are so similar to the Kievs. I have a III that was serviced by him for its previous owner and it has worked fine.
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Old 05-22-2015   #20
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I would second Oleg if the camera is to be a user .He is a wizard with Contax/Kiev even sorting out the later poorly made cameras which he states are less likely to have been messed with over the years.
I have two late Kievs , one of which came with a near new Helios which work exquisitely.
I know it's possible that you would not wish to have the camera contaminated by minor Kiev parts , but the difference in cost at around 80 plus shipping is considerable.
Collectors would probably not be comfortable with this , but in my view , this is a viable alternative to the expense of reviving such a classic camera .
That Oleg is still operating gives me confidence that my Contax IIs and Contax/Kiev hybrids will be kept operational.
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Old 05-22-2015   #21
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That would mean sending my Contax out of the EU and that could impose customs trouble.
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Old 07-28-2015   #22
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Finally, my Contax II is back to life with new Ribbons fitted. Many thanks to Oleg for repairing it. I have no words to describe how happy I am!
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Old 07-29-2015   #23
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Hi,

Can you hear us all cheering? I'm pleased you've got it back and pleased Oleg has another feather in his cap.

Regards, David

PS For others, it's normal for things to be sent overseas for repairs. You mark the customs form "Broken camera for repair" and - with luck it comes back with the green form marked "Repaires to camera"...

You might also add "film" to the description as digital may carry a different % tax and/or duty.
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Old 07-29-2015   #24
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Thank you David.

Just for the record, it took just a few days for Oleg to bring it back to life. The rest has been custom delays. I never knew I could hold my breath for that long.

I will try it again with a test roll. Half of it will be with the collapsible sonnar and the rest with a Jupiter-8, just for the fun of it.
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Old 07-29-2015   #25
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The more time is passing by, the more Contax II owners and users will have to learn how to repair their cameras themselves, for no pro repairer will want to tackle that camera - not that it's particularly complicated (although it is in some ways), but just because of the time consuming.

Overhauling that camera and installing new shutter ribbons (and, most of the time, a new lower curtain drum roller main spring) can take more than 40 hours of work if it's done properly and with the amount of care the camera deserves. No professional repairer can afford to do this at cost.

Plus, you'll probably have to re-cement the RF wedge prism, to clean and relube the focusing helix, to re-do the light seals of the whole top cover casting, to clean the VF optics inside and out, etc.

The DIY thing is possible - think of our RFF fellow Kevcaster out there who started from scratch and promptly began very handy at servicing those cameras.

Oleg more than probably installed a Kiev shutter unit in your Contax II but for a user it's probably the best solution. Not only did you get fresh shutter ribbons but a less tired lower curtain drum roller main spring, and the like. Broken shutter ribbons aren't the only illness of the original Zeiss shutter if this one has got an high mileage.
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Old 07-29-2015   #26
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I have asked Oleg to replace just the ribbons if that would be the issue, or else leave it as it was and this is what has been done. I did not want a Contax II with a Kiev shutter in any case. Do not take this as an insult to the Kiev cameras. I have also Kiev II,III and 4 cameras, and I like things to stay as close to being genuine as possible.
Besides that it has been CLAed and now focuses a lot easier, the focusing is smooth and not stiff as before, the viewfinder/rangefinder are no longer foggy and I am happier than ever with that.
I'd love to learn repairing it myself, but that would also require lots of free time that I do not have.
It will not be my all around shooter. I will be using it occasionally, so I hope it will take quite a while until the next repair.
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Old 07-29-2015   #27
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I haven't done any of these in a number of years, but I did quite a few while I was at it. I have a set of notes and sketches for some of the most common DIY tasks, which I will be happy to share with anyone who would like to send an email to [email protected] and ask for them.

(I replaced the ribbons in my own II in 1984, and it's still doing fine)

Also, there is the book by Peter Tooke, "Zeiss Contax Repair Manual, Models II and III" which is almost painfully thorough in its descriptions of how these cameras work and how to service them. I would recommend this book to anyone who owns a II or III (or Kiev), whether you plan on repairing it yourself or not.

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Old 08-08-2017   #28
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Hello,

I would like to revive this discussion and ask if Mr. Uwe Kersten would be still active in camera repair.

I've seen two Contarex (S and SE) very well serviced by him a few years ago and wanted to contact him for two similar cameras I have, in need of service.

Now, his websites are not active anymore, nor his email is still active.

Did he retire (he isn't that old...), or changed firm's name?

Any info would be most welcome,

Enzo (E.L.)
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Old 08-08-2017   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Wood View Post
Ed Trzoska in Leicester is the UK's Contax (and general Zeiss Ikon) expert:

http://europhotoservices.co.uk/
Ed repaired a Contax II for me. Good job.
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