Switch to English Language Passer en langue franšaise Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 75,156   Posts: 1,658,257   Online: 938
      
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2,286
    Images
    21

    Bit of GAS for a folding Contessa

    I've been out shooting with my little Ikonta 35, an incredibly compact little scale-focus camera with a Novar lens, and rediscovering two things. The first is that it's a really fun camera to use, in that "everything you need and nothing you don't" manner---typical Hubert Nerwin design.

    But the second thing is that scale focus is a pain! I end up relying on small apertures to shoot hyperfocally a lot, which means slow film is out of the question in anything but full sun, and anything close-up, even at portrait distance, is dicey.

    So naturally I'm experiencing some GAS for the Contessa, which is basically the same chassis with a meter, a rangefinder, and a Tessar. They don't seem much discussed here---does anyone have experiences of them that I should hear about? (I know the meter won't work; don't care.)

    Thanks

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  2. #2
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Bega N.S.W. Australia
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2,335
    Images
    410
    Hi Nathan. I do have one and can vouch for it's quality. Really nicely built camera, and the Tessar on those is really top class...think "honey I shrunk the Super Ikonta". They don't seem to come up for sale that often, and are quite cheap when they do, and that is surprising for such a handy and classy little camera.
    When I bought mine the seller said that it didn't work at all, but of course they need a film inside before the shutter will cock.
    If you find a good one, go for it, you won't be sorry.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Live Free or Die
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    4,763
    Images
    96
    Don't own one, but have examined a few. They are very sweet looking cameras. They look to be more robust than Retinas, and I'd probably be more serious about buying one if I didn't already have a few Retinas.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Hartford, Connecticut USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    417
    Lovely cameras, though definitely not as fast in action as a Retina of the same vintage, since you have to cock the film manually. Also, the shutter release (mounted at the base of the lens) is not as easy to use as the body-mounted release of the Retinas. The Retina lenses focus as a unit while the Contessa lens is front-element focusing.

    As a piece of fine phtographic machinery it's a work of art, truly. And regarding the meter, there's a good chance it actually isn't dead, and if you search Mike Elek's website (he's a regular here) he will tell you how to get at it and see if indeed it can be rejuvenated.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Lower Earth
    Shooter
    Medium Format
    Posts
    1,885
    Blog Entries
    2
    Images
    45
    I used to have the same problem, but no more. The solution is very simple and elegant. Buy yourself an inexpensive Federal rangefinder on the auction site.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-IDEA...item3cde5a117d

    Now go out and shoot the camera (with no film) by first guessing the distance, then checking it w/ the rangefinder. Pretty soon you'll see that 3' is quite a bit different than 6', 10' is different from 15', etc. In a short time you will be very proficient at this. Then, sell the rangefinder for what you paid for it, or keep it around in case you get rusty. Works a treat, and once you get the hang of it, it's as fast or faster than using a camera w/ an internal rangefinder. Also, f8 is your friend, especially w/ the Novar.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2,286
    Images
    21
    The shutter release is the same as the Ikonta 35/Contina, right? You cock the shutter independently, and fire with that kind of bulky lever on the upper right? I don't mind that; it's consistent with the MF folders I'm used to.

    If I stumble on a working meter, so much the better, but it's easy enough to live without it. That said, Zeiss does seem to have a better track record than others about meter survival. Does the Contessa's meter have a cover like the Contax RFs, or is that just the bright/dim mask?

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    720
    I have a Contessa that works pretty good, though the rangefinder is a hair off. Think 1950's Luxury! Think Jules Verne!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Shooter
    35mm RF
    Posts
    66
    I have a Contessa and it's an excellent camera! It's Tessar is one of he sharpest lenses I've ever used.

    Have you looked at getting a Contaflex instead? It's uses a similar, if not the same, Tessar lens. It's an SLR, so you wouldn't have to fiddle with RF focusing and it has a bigger viewfinder. They come up for sale a lot more frequently, too.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    720
    I just got a Contaflex, too. I like it more than the Contessa.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New Jersey (again)
    Shooter
    35mm RF
    Posts
    2,057
    I've owned maybe a dozen of these at one time or another.

    These use the rotating-wedge rangefinder, which is very accurate and shouldn't fall out of calibration unless the camera is damaged.

    The intermediate camera is the folding Contina II with the uncoupled rangefinder. This was my introduction to Zeiss Ikon. Mine had a Novar. I eventually bought one (and a number of others) with the Tessar, which is the same lens as on the folding Contessa and the Contaflex I and II.

    The folding Contessa always has a Tessar. The early version has a Compur Rapid shutter. The second version has a Synchro Compur. It never used the EV system.

    The folding Contessa is a well thought-out camera. It's very easy to use, which is typical of the Hubert Nerwin (the Zeiss Ikon camera designer) approach.

    There are many of these on the used market, and I wouldn't buy one that shows physical damage.

    I've shot with this quite a bit.

    Here's my mini-review of the folding Contessa.

    And here's a little shootout I did with the Contessa and the Contarex. The Contessa was no slouch.
    Last edited by elekm; 03-26-2014 at 03:59 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: My Web host seems to be OK now.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  Ś   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin