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  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    In its present condition the Contax is worse in every respect except the lens. The rangefinder, despite its theoretical advantage, is much more difficult to use in low light especially, and the focussing is readful with the painful wheel and the locking device. The shutter is unreliable... But I'm in love with its quirks. When finances allow I will get it restored. I will also get a Contax to leica adapter. Then I will see how good the sonnar is. Inevitably other lenses will follow: the russian 85 f2 and 53 f 1.8 and whatever zeiss lenses I can stumble across

    David

  2. #12
    michaelbsc's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    South Carolina
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    Focusing is actually pretty easy once you learn the "Contax grip" to do it. Assuming there's not something actually wrong with yours that is.
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    New Jersey (again)
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    I rarely the focusing wheel. I simply release the lens via the lock and focus as I would any SLR. I don't think that I've had a problem focusing a Contax in low light. I like the smaller size of the IIa, and for me it's the ideal camera.

  4. #14
    aoresteen's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    Newnan, GA, USA
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    About 5 years ago Heny rebuilt my Contax IIa. Back then the wait wasn't that bad (4 months?) and he did an absolutely great job on my IIa. Not sure what his back log is now.

    We need more qualified Contax repair shops!
    Tony
    Newnan, GA

    Cambo 23SF, Hasselblad, Mamiya M645, Rolleiflex 2.8C
    Rollei 4x4 Grey
    Leica M4-P M3 IIIf RD Contax IIa Nikon SP
    Olympus OM-1 OM-2

    http://www.oresteen.com/ROLLEI4X4.htm

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Tacoma, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by aoresteen View Post
    About 5 years ago Heny rebuilt my Contax IIa. Back then the wait wasn't that bad (4 months?) and he did an absolutely great job on my IIa. Not sure what his back log is now.

    We need more qualified Contax repair shops!
    Wait list is about 3 years now...give or take a year... I've been on it 6 months, think I'm somewhere around number 185. Henry said it's about a week turn-around per camera when I signed up. Latest update though is health issues are slowing him down somewhat.
    Up side is it gives me plenty of time to save up the money to pay for the overhaul!

  6. #16
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Switzerland
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    Quote Originally Posted by Someonenameddavid View Post
    However I consider my Leica to be my "princess Grace" camera: flawless, demure and appropriate for elegant situations. The Contax is my "Marlene Dietrich": a little older, angular, very fast in the dark.

    Neither of them would you take backpacking
    That made my day

    Quote Originally Posted by Someonenameddavid View Post
    ... When finances allow I will get it restored. I will also get a Contax to leica adapter. ...
    Those adapters are expensive but they show up on the 'bay not that infrequently I think.

    One thing I've found nice about using the Contax system is the lack of lenses. There were/are only 14 original lenses, and not that many 3rd party ones (Russian + Voitlander.) A friend of mine went so far as to say he sees the Contax as a fixed-lens RF. While I don't agree, I'm also a Leica user and there are zillions of lenses out there just waiting for you to mortgage your house for.

    I like to think being a Contax user helps prevent GAS (maybe)
    Those who know, shoot film

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    New Jersey (again)
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    I've thought about the lenses, and really -- how many lenses does one person need? The one downside is the gap in the postwar offerings between 21mm and 35mm. Perhaps, there should have been a 25mm or 28mm. Otherwise, I have no problem with what I have in my lineup: 21, 35, 50/1.5, 50/2.0, 85/2.0, 85/4 and 135/4.

    I've shot with the Contax IIa plenty at night and never had a problem focusing. I would say that the one downside is the lack of parallax-adjusting framelines. Otherwise, I've not really had any problems with this camera.

    But that's why there are so many cameras on the market. Everyone has their own preferences and thoughts about what works best for them.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Downers Grove Illinois
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    I would not use any camera in that condition for fear I would damage something that would be difficult to replace.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    New Jersey (again)
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    I would never wait three years for someone to service my camera. There are other credible alternatives available -- for less money and a much quicker turnaround.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Tacoma, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by elekm View Post
    I would never wait three years for someone to service my camera. There are other credible alternatives available -- for less money and a much quicker turnaround.
    True, but Henry doesn't just service, it's a top to bottom restoration. You get back an as new (or better) camera.
    Everything gets pulled, cleaned, checked for tollerance (down to the individual screws) and reassembled to factory specs (with original Contax parts or ones he fabricates himself - no Kiev bits sneeking in). For that I am willing to wait whatever time it takes.
    Or maybe I'm just a sucker...but since I'm already on the list I may as well stick it out.

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