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  1. #1

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    Original Contax I how unreliable is it?

    I've read many things about contax on the internet. I like to get some personal views not one regurgitated from website I bought contax I ver C somewhat working I'll send off to be cleaned. I've owned many cameras over the last thirty years I have leicas and contax both. I actually prefer contax II and IIa over leica screwmount cameras I think there simply better. I have a contax II I used for a long time and never snapped a ribbon yet. And you can get contax body and lens much cheaper then Leica. Anyone out there with personal experience with A Contax I ?

  2. #2
    Pioneer's Avatar
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    I don't have a Contax I, but if it works anywhere near as reliably as my Contax II, I would be happy.

  3. #3
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Just like the previous post I can only say the same, as one of my cameras is a Contax II, which although I never use seems to be a very nice camera. However, I do note you title your original post in a negative way. Would not how reliable be better, or are you inviting negative comments about the Contax I?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  4. #4
    pstake's Avatar
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    I'm no help. I could regurgitate what I've read, but you are not wanting that.

    I would be interested to know your experience after you get it CLA'd and use it for a while.

    Congrats on the new toy!


    Quote Originally Posted by randy6 View Post
    I've read many things about contax on the internet. I like to get some personal views not one regurgitated from website I bought contax I ver C somewhat working I'll send off to be cleaned. I've owned many cameras over the last thirty years I have leicas and contax both. I actually prefer contax II and IIa over leica screwmount cameras I think there simply better. I have a contax II I used for a long time and never snapped a ribbon yet. And you can get contax body and lens much cheaper then Leica. Anyone out there with personal experience with A Contax I ?

  5. #5

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    Sorry I read all these nagitive things so I was expecting something negative from user's Thanks

  6. #6

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    I have two of these cameras. The first is a very early model with no slow speeds. I replaced the shutter straps when I bought it. It has been reliable since, although not the easiest camera to use and a bit crude. The second is a later model, is more refined and easier to use. It needs new shutter straps. I look forward to loading it with some film and shooting with it.

  7. #7
    Simon Howers's Avatar
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    Hi Randy
    I've owned several examples of this camera over the years, mostly using them for reportage. They are solidly built and reasonably robust. The one area where I think you should take care is in the shutter mechanism. This is a 'roller blind' arrangement made of interlinked slats. These are more inclined to fail than the more common Leica-style fabric blind type shutter. Repairs (here at least) are expensive, so it is best to ensure that the camera body is in full working order before buying. (Or negotiate an appropriate price).
    The other point to watch is the lens mount. They are a bit prone to damage if handled clumsily. The Contax and Nikon cameras I've owned (same lens mount) required the adjustment ring on the body to be set correctly before offering the lens up.
    Don't forget that although Nikon and Contax shared the mount rings, the focussing is different so some lenses are not interchangeable.

    Good luck

    Simon

  8. #8

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    Nice observation thank you Simon. Do you think the shutter is fragile to the touch of a thumb or fragile in general use?. I know it would not be a good thing to poke a finger at a fabric shutter either. What is fragile about about the mount? I seen Nikon lenes stamped with a C meaning it was made to use with a contax different foussing then nikon without the C stamped I could be wrong. Lets talk about repairs for a moment not to get off the subject. I would think Russian repair people would have a great deal of knowledge on these cameras. Just trying to keep poorly made kiev 4s just running. I should be a breeze for them to work on a nicely machined contax. I'm sure in most cases ribbons are rotted and the camera just needs cleaned not really requiring parts I understand the russian kiev uses thick shutter ribbons and inferior parts for poorly machined kiev 4 cameras. (not all bad I hear) The one I had was. The shutter would open while changing the shutter speeds. I think there could be a savings with the right ribbons and repair person instead of a pricey 2 year wait here in the US. I don't think contax camera can never be recreated today in a modern factory to the same qaulity of the past. Once the older skilled repair people disappear this will spell the end of some of these great creations.

  9. #9

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    There's nothing overly complex about the Contax shutter. The same shutter is used in the Super Nettel and Nettax, and you don't read about those being fragile cameras.

    Camera repair isn't that much different than other mechanical repairs. You really have to have an understanding of hand tools and be able to work fearlessly.

    The guy with the two year wait isn't a magician. And when he passes from the scene, there will be others to fill the void. There already are. He simply is the most visible, although some of his claims are false, particularly the one regarding the Kiev shutter being found in most Contax II cameras.

    Getting back to the Contax I, the early cameras are crude. I will go into detail later when I am using a proper computer and not an Android tablet.

  10. #10
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    If you need any camera that's around fifty years old to be a reliable working tool you need to add to the price you pay the cost of a full service by a professional not just a CLA, I have a Contax 11 that I've had for 60years that's been serviced twice in that time. The roller blind slatted metal shutter is held by two silk cords that over the years tend to perish over time and probably will need replacing.
    Ben

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