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  1. #1

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    Contaflex -gem or garbage?

    I was given one of these today:



    Needs a good CLA, but is it worth it? I've only seen them repaired at Essex Camera and they charge $110 to start. Is this lens amazing or pedestrian?
    In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.

  2. #2

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    The Pantar lenses were average, not as good as the Tessar.

    The Contaflex is a good camera. Well built and very sturdy. It lacked a lot of modern features, such as lever wind, a rapid return mirror, a meter, a hinged back and a single-push rewind button.

    I see that your camera has some loss of chrome and a Prontor, rather than a Compur shutter. The only downside is that some Prontors don't have a full range of shutter speeds, and in earlier Prontors, the top speed was often 1/300, rather than the Compur's 1/500.

    The value of the camera is probably around $35-$45. You would have to think hard about paying more than twice that to have it serviced.

    By the way, it's not a knock on the camera. I'm a big fan of the Contaflex.

  3. #3
    Jeff L's Avatar
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    Should be a good camera. The lens, I believe, triplet by Rodenstock. Stop it down and it should produce good images though maybe not on par with a Tessar lens.

  4. #4

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    I don't know the Pantar lens. My Contaflex Super had the Tessar lens & Compur shutter. I didn't have it cla'd & it had very inconsistent exposures. But when it hit the exposure right it produced good pics.

    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v5...t=FH000024.jpg
    "If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time." G.K.Chesterton

  5. #5

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    only the 1st pic is from the Contaflex
    "If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time." G.K.Chesterton

  6. #6
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Yours is one of the lower-end models. The Pantar lens is a triplet - more or less P&S quality (i.e. fairly pedestrian).
    Personally, I wouldn't spend much on it, as for the price of a CLA you could get a good example of a top Contaflex model (with better lens & shutter). Unless its gift value (and the person who gave it to you) make it special.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  7. #7

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    My first SLR was a used Contaflex with f2.8 Tessar lens, certainly a very nice lens. After 20 years the shutter needed a CLA but other than that it worked fine. It was replaced by a pair of Nikon F's.-Dick

  8. #8

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    Thanks for all the replies. I put a roll of Tmax 400 in it. To me the shutter sounds about right at 1/30-1/60th sec, so I'm shooting a bunch of unimportant indoor shots at f2.8 to see if I'm right. I'm not above spending far more than a camera's market value on a CLA - did it recently on two Canon AE-1's - but if this Pantar lens is junky I won't spend anything on this body.


    It's a pretty lil' guy in it's own way. Everything still seems to work.
    In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.

  9. #9

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    A few shots

    I developed the roll this morning and scanned it. I'll print at least the fist image shown here. The lens seems ok, but not stellar, as folks have said. It seems ok at max aperture, 2.8, and a bit better at f8.











    All in all not too bad for a free camera with a wonky shutter. No clue what the shutter speed actually is but my by-ear guess of 1/30th to 1/60th seems pretty good based on these images. The aperture is a bit sticky too so it doesn't stop down very fast, so most of these were taken at f2.8

    Now, what to do with it?! I'm a "collector" so I'm happy to keep it, but if someone would really like to use and own this camera, send me a PM. If you could find someone to do a proper CLA on it, this would be a capable and fun camera.
    In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    I was given one of these today:



    Needs a good CLA, but is it worth it? I've only seen them repaired at Essex Camera and they charge $110 to start. Is this lens amazing or pedestrian?
    As I recollect the Pantars were only found on the Alpha, Beta and Prima. Is the front element removeable? Stopped down to f8 they are very useable.
    However the lazy diaphragm is a problem. I have one apart here trying to flush the oil out and it is still lazy.
    Mark
    Mark Layne
    Nova Scotia
    and Barbados

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