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  1. #1

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    contax IIa erratic shutter?

    I recently bought a contax IIa camera from keh.com. I just opened the box like an hour ago but I think that my shutter is erratic.

    I checked the 1 second shutter speed and sometimes it works and sometimes it is way too fast. The bulb works but the slower shutter speeds (maybe all) seem erratic..they are either seem normal or they are way too fast. Before returning this camera I was just wondering if I was missing something? I don't have experience with contax cameras so maybe it is an operater error?

    Is this "normal" erratic shutter behavior or am I missing something? I've never had a shutter behave like this...usually it is too slow.

  2. #2

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    There's no such thing as "normal erratic"... it's erratic. Send it back.

  3. #3

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    Thanks! I guess there is no such thing as normal erratic. I will send it back.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by puketronic View Post
    Thanks! I guess there is no such thing as normal erratic. I will send it back.
    Good luck! I had a plain II. They're very nice cameras once you get used to the "splayed finger" grip. I used it as a walking-around camera in the late 80s/early90s.

    I've no doubt KEH will take care of you.

  5. #5
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    What did the description say.
    Almost EVERY Contax RF they sell either says Inoperative (snapped shutter cords for the early models) or Speeds Off (for the A series).

  6. #6
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    If you buy a precision camera that's around fifty years old that's probably never been serviced, I think it's naive to expect it to be in perfect working order any more than it would be a car of that age to expect take on the road without some attention.
    Ben

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    If you buy a precision camera that's around fifty years old that's probably never been serviced, I think it's naive to expect it to be in perfect working order any more than it would be a car of that age to expect take on the road without some attention.
    Yeah, but what the OP describes I would expect KEH to indicate as "speeds off" or "slow speeds inop" or the like. It seems like a return is justified, though they're such nice cameras that it might be worth getting a CLA instead.

    -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_

  8. #8
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    Yeah, but what the OP describes I would expect KEH to indicate as "speeds off" or "slow speeds inop" or the like. It seems like a return is justified, though they're such nice cameras that it might be worth getting a CLA instead.

    -NT
    I agree a return is justified, but well maintained cameras of that type and age with accurate shutters are as rare as hen's teeth, I personally if the camera is in otherwise good condition and I wanted a reliable usable camera I would get it CLA'd, and have the light seals replaced. I have a Contax 11 that I've owned for more than 50 years, and in that time It's been CLA'd 3 times.
    Last edited by benjiboy; 06-21-2013 at 06:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Ben

  9. #9
    jimjm's Avatar
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    KEH usually specifies any shutter problems in the item description, so you have the option of returning or exchanging it. Most of their Contax bodies in inventory now seem to have some type of problem. Contax repair techs seem to be scarcer than those for Leica, so that may be one reason why there are so many bodies in need of repair.

    I purchased a IIa from KEH earlier this year and it has functioned perfectly, so I suspect it has been serviced recently. It's extremely clean inside and out.
    You can also try exercising the shutter a bit to see if the speeds even out, but the camera probably needs to be serviced as other problems may start cropping up.

    They are very nice cameras to shoot with and the postwar Zeiss lenses are great.

    Good Luck!

  10. #10

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    thanks.

    it wasn't labeled as slow or inop. and so I would expect it to work just fine. I don't think that is naive thinking. I've bought maybe a dozen 50+ year old cameras from keh.com and most of them have worked fine.

    Well, I understand that things like this happen and so I am not upset at keh.com. I've never had a contax camera so I was just checking if I was doing something stupid. With the Retina IIIc cameras you have to reset the film advance to fire the shutter...maybe this camera had some weird quirk. I have no idea but that is why I asked. I will fire it a few times to see if it will be consistent.

    I'd probably just return the camera or look into servicing it. I sent my TLRs for CLAs in the past but I have no idea who services Contax cameras outside Henry Scherer. I mostly use Leica M but I had the urge to try the Contax, for fun.

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