Zeiss ikon Contax RF lens on an M3

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Someonenameddavid, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    So I have an immaculate Sonnar 50mm f1.5 that I would like to use on my M3 until I get my Contax fixed. Is there a reader of this forum who has experience with any of the adapters which are available?

    David
     
  2. vics

    vics Member

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    No experience, but everybody seems to love the Amadeo adaptors, and I'm thinking of that myself, though my Contax works great thanks to Henry Scherer. But my M3 with the Sonnar 1.5 would be great. I think they are $249 in plain brass.
    Vic
     
  3. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    The CameraQuest page on the topic seems to indicate that such adapters are spectacularly rare and correspondingly expensive (four digits). Is somebody making a new one now?

    If not, it seems like a Kiev body might be the more realistic alternative...

    -NT

    (Edit: I didn't know about the Amedeo adapters until now. They do seem significantly more expensive than a Kiev, though.)
     
  4. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    I am on Henry Scherer's waiting list. If you look at his website there are several impressions you get: firstly, he knows Contax in the way a neurosurgeon knows the brain. Secondly Zeiss manufacturing of cameras was fundamentally flawed In a way that doomed them to be overwhelmed by the Japanese. Thirdly, even though my Contax IIa color dial (which cost more than a new car in 1954) probably never worked properly, which is why it is_pristine_:it can be rebuilt, better than it was before, without spending six million dollars. Fourthly Kievs are a crap shoot with the emphasis on crap. There are a few voigtlander Contax mount cameras still out there. I was considering the adapter for non analog use also...

    David
     
  5. roboflick

    roboflick Member

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    Amedeo adapter is the way to go. I have one and it focuses perfectly wide open on my Leica m3 and m6 ttl. He has a store on eBay. Just search for Amedeo adapter
     
  6. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Well...

    Early Kievs arguably *are* Contaxes, made with the same machines, overseen by the same technicans and sometimes using parts made in Germany.

    I had 2 Kievs which worked perfectly and sold only because I went the "M" route for ergonomic and practical reasons.

    Undoubtedly there are many "Monday morning" Kievs out there, but also many good ones.
     
  7. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    The German made Zeiss cameras and optics are highly regarded, worldwide, and its like that for ages. Zeiss leading role in optics was a fact, long before the Japanese started to copy Zeiss and many others German companies.
    It might be interesting to know that Hubble's replacement, The James Webb Space Telescope optics are designed, integrated and tested by Carl Zeiss Optronics GmbH of Oberkochen, Germany.

    Zeiss is probably the only company that provides lifetime transferable warranty for their pro optics and its been like that for many decades.

    Absolutely!
     
  8. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    No arguments on the other issues---chacun a son gout and all that---but I'm curious about this statement. Are you just referring to the relatively high investment in hand labor on a complex product, which didn't scale well to compete with modern mass production (whatever its nationality) but which seems like it wouldn't matter from a user perspective today, or something else having to do with characteristics of the cameras?

    -NT
     
  9. Dismayed

    Dismayed Member

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    Scherer's site does contain a number of exaggerations. It was the SLR that overwhelmed Zeiss, not some fundamental flaw in the Contax cameras (Zeiss did come out with a pro-level SLR, but it was over-engineered, expensive, and late to the game). Their rangefinder cameras were highly regarded when they were manufactured, so you should treat Scherer's claims with skepticism. As for the pristine condition of your camera - the things are built like tanks, so they hold up well under use.
     
  10. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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  11. T42

    T42 Member

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    Hello David.

    As one who owns an M3 and a Kiev 4a, I must say that when my 1969 Kiev arrived from Ukraine in 2001, and for a whopping sum of USD $35, I was blown away at what it could do. The pictures are very good coming from its Sonnar Copy 50mm f2 Jupiter 8M.

    The M3 does indeed win on handling/ergonomics, film spacing, precision of fit and finish, smoothness of mechanical operation, quietness of shutter, lack of body motion from shutter, and corresponding pride of ownership.

    That long base rangefinder on the Contax/Kiev is excellent, but the viewfinder is miserable otherwise. The M3's finder is so much better than that wee little peephole excuse for a finder on the Contax/Kiev. I mitigated that finder problem with a Voigtlander Kontur, which allows one to shoot with both eyes open.

    And that "Contax hold" is a bear. All that said, I doubt if most folks could tell the difference between most images made with my "Kiev 4a + Jupiter 8m" and my "Leica M3 + Summicron."

    About a year into my use of the K4a, a ribbon came loose from my winding it too fast. I got some new silk ribbon from Oleg Khalyavin in Moscow. With that and instructions from Rick Oleson's website I replaced the ribbon. It has worked ever since, with no surprises. I have read that is about the only failure to expect from a good Kiev 4a. I read that it may need ribbons every ten or fifteen years or so in normal use.

    A Kiev 4a ain't no Leica M, but honestly the pictures are stunning, IMO. And it really is a fun experience to make the thing deliver them. Despite its 1936 Zeiss Contax heritage, and Soviet era reduction in fit and finish, it nevertheless gets the job done well and in good style.

    :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2011
  12. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    And price, of course. A broken M3 costs more than a working Contax!

    I think the Scherer article is totally fair, although in my limited experience the Contax shutters have been accurate enough for slide film. (The old selenium meters in the III/IIIa are another question---mine are mostly adequate, but I've been unusually lucky, I think.) You'd never mistake them for a modern camera, and they have some idiosyncrasies like the "Contax grip" that bother some users and not others. Personally I don't find any of that to be a problem, and for those who do, I'll be happy to take those pesky Contax bodies off your hands. :smile:

    -NT
     
  13. T42

    T42 Member

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    Hi Nathan.

    A working Leica M3 with Summicron will easily cost from 15 to 25 times as much as that $35 K4a I was talking about. A working K4a is a tremendous value for anyone with the interest and patience to use it.

    There has been talk about putting a Kiev/Contax mount optic onto an M3. Weren't the same Soviet era optics offered in M39? Wouldn't that go right onto an M3 with M39 adapter?

    :smile:
     
  14. daveandiputra

    daveandiputra Member

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    The original question were to use the OP zeiss lens on a M3, while his Contax is being repaired. I think the question has been answered with the use of adapters.
    But I do support the Kiev choice (being an owner) a good Kiev from Oleg or fedka will cost at most 150 dollar with lens. While amadeo adapters cost at least 200 dollars.
     
  15. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

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  16. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Scherer has his supporters and detractors. Some view him as a source of knowledge and the No. 1 Contax repair person. Others view him as a bombastic hack. And that's all that I will say.