Contaflex III

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by chip j, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    Just got a Contaflex III w/50 & 85(f4) lenses today. Any tips on using it? thanks, Chip
     
  2. elekm

    elekm Member

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    First and foremost, make sure it works. Make sure all of the shutter speeds work, particularly the slow speeds. Check that the viewfinder isn't too dirty.

    When the shutter is released, the shutter closes, the mirror flips up, the aperture closes to the desired opening and the shutter then fires. All of this should happen almost simultaneously.

    If the shutter needs to be serviced, the shutter will close, the mirror will flip up, the aperture will close and then nothing. Or the shutter will fire after a short delay.

    See if the selenium meter still works. If it's snappy, then it probably works. If it is sluggish, use a handheld meter.

    The camera does not have a rapid-return mirror. When the shutter is released, the mirror flips up and stays up until you wind on to the next frame.
     
  3. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    yeah, sadly, those cameras have shutters that have not aged well, mostly because of all the mechanical things that go on when you push the button -- if anything in the series is not working smoothly it gums up the works.

    Open the camera back and, while looking through, fire the shutter at various speeds. You should see the shutter opens and closes at all speeds (although if the slowest speeds don't work, don't worry too much -- how often do you use one second?) for what looks like the appropriate amount of time. If the mirror flips up, the shutter blinds close and stay shut, ur screwed, and servicing is very expensive.
     
  4. r-brian

    r-brian Subscriber

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    Actually, the III is meterless, the VI has the meter.
     
  5. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    It wa s all checked out by the camera store owner, and everything seems to be fine. I will put a roll of C-41 thru it soon and take it to a 1-hr lab. The view thru it is Pretty, just Like a Hasselblad.
     
  6. Buzz Kimball

    Buzz Kimball Member

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    Hi Chip,
    Just wondering how things turned out with the Contaflex III. I inherited one myself about 9 months ago, and I've really enjoyed it. I had it CLAd and it seems to work like a dream now. The lens is sharp and I like having to use some muscle to operate the machine. I shot Sunny 16 and had spot-on results. People ask me questions about it all the time while I'm shooting.

    Buzz
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The front element is removable and there are several lens enhancements that can be added. Also, there are add on WA and Telephoto lenses that can be added directly to the front element. I have several from a past life, coinciently associated with a person named Chip.

    PE
     
  8. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    My Contaflex Super remains one of my favorite cameras. The camera may be a bit complex but the lenses are absolutely wonderful. Zeiss Ikon knew their optics, that is for sure.
     
  9. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Lovely lens, too bad most shutters are dead and I have no idea who will repair them
     
  10. Pioneer

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    Henry Scherer at Zeiss Camera repairs them but it is costly and the wait time is longer than most members of our instant society want to live with. But he does good work.

    I have two ebay purchases that work fairly well. With one I had to use a hair dryer to warm it and then work the shutter a lot to get it to start working again. As long as I use it every couple months it seems to work okay. Like a lot of old cameras, without regular exercise the shutters begin to slow down. But it does need a good overhaul to be reliable again so I will have to get it on Henry's list.
     
  11. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Ahh, I thought Henry wasn't touching them at all.
     
  12. JW PHOTO

    JW PHOTO Subscriber

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    Years ago Konica had an ad that stated the 48mm f2 Hexanon on the Konica III camera was very good. The ad read, "The lens alone is worth the price"! At least I think it was stated that way? I had one and it was great, but I'd take the Contaflex glass for the way it renders shots, over the Koni lens. I have several Contaflex cameras and have learned how to get them "up and running" again if the shutters are hanging up. IT AIN'T EASY, but well worth it. They say the later recomputed Tessar lenses are better than the Tessar's on the Supers on down, but I really can't see any difference. The best advice I can give any Contaflex camera owner is to use your camera even if you have no film in it. Another words, exercise it as often as possible or you'll be sorry. These cameras do not let you know they are not working until you get your film back and then it's toooooo late. Everything can sound just fine, but don't believe it. I always check mine when I load a roll of film in it. You have your back off anyway so hold it toward a light source and run the slow speeds on up while looking through the back. My biggest problem is with the accessory film backs and the light seals in the dark-slide slot. It was a camera made for the "Zone System" since you could carry one back for N-normal, one for N-1 and one for N+1 development. Oh, and fit and finish are superb, but you have yours so I don't have to tell you that. Enjoy it and "USE" it or you'll be sad one day. JW
     
  13. Pioneer

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    Absolutely. Number one piece of advice is not to put it up on the shelf and forget it. Load some Kodak Ektar and go for a walk. Find some flowers or something else colorful and start shooting. The results will have you hooked the minute you get the prints back from the lab.