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  1. #1
    daveandiputra's Avatar
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    contax II / Kiev and IIa viewfinder difference

    i'm currently using my first rangefinder a 1983 kiev 4a and enjoying it, even with it problems. one of the things that i find quite hard is the small viewfinder, and really having the chance to use a friend M8 recently it was very diffrent indeed. but admitedly i still love the feeling of the kiev / contax design compared to the leica.

    so i would like to ask to someone who used both the contaxes how does it compared?

  2. #2
    mrred's Avatar
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    I have a 4a, vintage 1978. I just did a quick look on google for a Contax II and they literally look identical. I could only assume the viewfinder is identical too.

    I enjoy mine. Aside from my experiences in MF, I think it is the most important purchase I have made. It's the perfect size for walking around, perfect capability for the control I need, and I can shoot from the hip when needed.

  3. #3

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    From reading a few articles, the VFs are the same.

  4. #4
    daveandiputra's Avatar
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    Just to be sure what I meant here is the II / kiev compared to the IIa?

  5. #5

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    The Contax IIa is mechanically a different camera, sharing no parts with the Contax II. The mount is identical, although not physically interchangeable between the two cameras.

    Being a 1950s camera, the viewfinder eyepiece is still rather small, especially when compared with a Leica M, the new Carl Zeiss Zeiss Ikon or any of the Cosina Voigtlander Bessa models.

    For many people, the viewfinder in the Contax IIa seems darker than the Contax II, and it has to do with the type of prism that the cameras used.

    I prefer the Contax IIa, mostly because of its smaller size.

    My own opinion is that if you find the viewfinder on the Contax II to be too small, you will also not be too happy with the viewfinder eyepiece on the Contax IIa.

    Here's the back of a Contax IIa.



    And the front of that same camera ...

    Last edited by elekm; 10-10-2010 at 11:34 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6

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    Look into a Nikon S2, which has a 50mm. 1:1 viewfinder. And has Contax layout.
    I still use one regularly.

  7. #7
    daveandiputra's Avatar
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    That's exactly i want to find out Mike, so no go on the IIa then
    I wolud love to own one of the nikon S rangefinders, especially the legendary SP, but the prices are out of my league right now

  8. #8

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    If you're not tied into one brand, you could always look into a Cosina Voigtlander Bessa camera. They have excellent viewfinders and should be less than a Nikon SP. Some of the Nikon rangefinders are very expensive.

    One option: You could always use a small accessory viewfinder. Not perfect, of course, but just an option.

  9. #9
    daveandiputra's Avatar
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    nothing about the bessas mike, but never liked their look i just love the contax kiev nikon style of design in a way..
    looking at the big bad bay, used nikon s2 sells for roughly the same as a new R2C, albeit maybe having a better viewfinder, i'll pick the S2 if i had the chance and money
    just constructed my DYI 35mm viewfinder for my soon to arrive J12, it's quite a hassle shifting eyes to focus and compose, hopefully the J12 DoF is wide enough for hyperfocal focusing..

  10. #10

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    I always found it to be enough. Enough so that I don't think I ever got a badly focused photo with it. Note that I almost never shot closer than 2m, but that I did shoot wide open quite a lot.

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