I dont think Contarex was the best camera at 1958 , M3 Leica released at 1958 with 35 mm Summaron , f:1.5,2,3.5 50mms,
90mm and 135 mm. Contarex cameras were ugly like Minoltas , Praktinas ,Kodak Retinas and Kalimar Aires 35 iii l , last camera was coming with f:1.9 lens and price was 99.50.
Zeiss introduced 4 cameras at 1958 , Contaflex , Contax , Contina and Ikoflex , all with Sonnar , Tessar , Anastigmat lenses.
I saw many Leica bodies were using Nikon lenses and Nikon had a primitive Leica copy.
Polaroid cameras were big at 1958 and Ansco was racing with Ektachrome and Kodachrome where Ansco claiming that their users will not get flat deep blue skies.
The best camera is the one you happen to have with you at the time. ...think about it.
All siriusness aside, in 1958 there were very few SLRs available and most of those including the Conterex went through a learning curve to "get it right". That said the Conterex is both butt ugly and fascinating.
The big breakthroughs in SLR design came in 1959. In 1958 the Contarex could arguably lay claim to the "best SLR" title. Its competition at the time would have basically been the Exakta. The Exakta despite being an old design by this point was the more flexible system and better suited to laboratory and scientific uses.
I think the Contarex Special is actually a very attractive camera too: http://www.pacificrimcamera.com/pp/z...ex/special.htm
The Contarex Super and Electronic also have their own interesting aesthetic appeal.
Nar! rolleiman's got it right! But isn't it the photographer who makes the picture not the camera?
Here is a much cheaper alternative:
Oh virtualmerch they list just about anything for $999. I asked them once if they were mistaken, but never got an answer. So I'm going to have to guess they're just daft.