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 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.
Wouldn't the "best" camera be the one that sells the most copies? Could be the canon AE-1? Hehe
I wouldn't have even offered this guy $100 for that ugly thing, I don't care how great a picture is if I feel like I look like a weirdo holding it I don't want it. Some photography is about perception, if they perceive you to be good, you have more options with your subject.
The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic