The Contessa has arrived, I'm waiting for the film from the freezer to warm up enough to load. KEH had rated the camera as EX, but the use it had received since the early '50s looks minimal. I'd guess it had been kept in an everready case based on the marks in the wind knob where the case's rewind knob would engage. A few tiny paint chips, essentially no chrome damage, the leather is undamaged, even the "Contessa" on the door is intact. Amazingly the tripod socket cover is still there. I'd have expected that to have disappeared.
If it had the original packaging, etc, I could imagine it as having been used for store demonstrations.
Viewfinder/rangefinder is clear and bright, the lens is spotless, the shutter sounds about right at 1 sec, so the other speeds should be about right. Mirabile dictu, the exposure meter responds, although I think its lost some sensitivity.
The feeling of quality of the Contessa is impressive. Better than my Retina IIIc, comparable to the Vitessa L. I wonder what new cameras are made to this standard of fit and finish. Leica?
In any case I almost feel that I am now a curator of a piece of history and have a responsibility to use it wisely.
Thursday postman delivered a Samoca 35 LE with working meter. Have already started a roll of film through it. The double stroke film advance will take some getting use to, viewfinder seems bright enough and focus patch will work. Was not able to find a lot of information on the web, and a few comments about its so so lens to it has a great lens. Anyone ever use one, would be interested in your take on the camera?
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
Prior to visiting France, found this 1937 vintage 6X9 folder on e-bay-france and had it shipped to a friend in France. I arrived in France Aug 21 and picked up the camera at my friend's house. The camera was a family heirloom that from my inspection is in pristine condition. Bellows looks to be light tight, apperture adjusts smoothely, and limited shutter speeds (100, 50, 25) seem right. There is a funny characteristic in the focus; after 8 meters there is a red dot. When adjusting past the red dot, there is a light resistance to advance to infinity. Anybody got a clue what that tactile feed back might indicate? There is another unique feature to this camera; nestled in the bellows chamber there is a shutter release plunger in a spring loaded keeper.
I cleaned the front and rear outer lens surfaces, but I can still see some little dirt spots which I guess are on the inner surfaces. They will stay and contribute whatever character they add to the image.
I shall attempt to capture some iconic French landmarks with this vintage French camera. Then, . . . . . . ?
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