Sonnar 40mm Rollei 35S Fuji 200 ASA
Leica IIIC Elmar 5cms on Plus X
That makes a significant difference in sharpness, and both Sonnars perform exceptionally at that aperture.
The Sonnar's signature, to me, is the way it draws extremely sharp photos stopped down and draws the creamy, impressionistic out-of-focus areas at wide apertures.
Makes it such a versatile lens you can take it anywhere. And attached to a Contax, a real pleasure to use.
I see , thank you,
I have and use both a Contax IIa and a Leica IIIf. Both were overhauled by the best -Don Goldberg did the Leica and Henry Scherer did the the Contax. Both are superb cameras.
I mostly use the Contax with a CV 25mm lens when I'm using my Nikon SP with the the 35mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens. The Leica IIIf most often has the CV 21mm lens on it when my Leica M4-P has the CV 28mm Ultron f/1.9 on it.
Both have good 50mm lenses - the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and the Sonar f/1.5. I'll flip a coin to see which one I'll take when I want just one body and a 50mm (sometimes the M3 with the ZM 50mm Planar f/2 wins).
As for teles I have a 105mm Nikkor for the Contax. The Leica has a 135mm Canon that never gets used on it as the rare times I use the 135 it's on the M3.
I am still have not enough experience about soft creamy and high contrast and sharper images depends on aperture. I did not experience that with my Leicas but because of buying them , less money had been left for film.
To add my two pennyworth, I love all of these cameras - Leica Zeiss Nikon Canon.
I have just finished stripping and servicing two dysfunctional Contaxes, a lla and a lla. Both had multiple problems, shutter not firing on some speeds, other speeds awry, viewfinders dull and hazy, helical mounts rattling and dry.
These cameras are easy to access and very well made making the job of restoration predictable and straightforward, at every stage I was totally impressed with the design, manufacture and materials.
With ultrasonic cleaning of the slow speed escapement and self timer mechs, flood cleaning of the wind on and speed changing assemblies the speeds were revived. Further work on the shutter tensioning and general lubrication and thorough cleaning has brought both cameras back to full operating condition with bright viewfinders, focusing is smooth and accurate, speeds accurate and the wind on train is silky and frame spacing spot on. Each camera took about two days of work and while the shutter mechanisms and complicated they are not difficult to service and require very little regular adjustment once setup, if any at all - they just work.
This was a fine post-war design (as was the Leica M), that was built to be serviced and not built to require repair or frequent adjustment. I would say that the Contax was better engineered, and handled better than the Leica screw cameras but was out performed by the later M series in terms of handling.
As for the lenses, I have never been able to exploit the outer limits of lens performance -Leitz or Zeiss - on any picture I have ever taken with any lens I have ever owned. My own shortcomings with camera shake, film choice and development, focusing technique have always been the limiting factors. In addition all the pictures I have dared show others have never produced the comment, "the definition is a bit soft at the edges".
With analogue love.
The only thing questionable about the Contax II or IIa was they had more piece parts than a Leica III. So they cost more to make, less profit for Zeiss.
They (Contax or Kiev) are nicer to maintain until you need a spare part.
All mine (including Kievs) with meters are still working accurate enough for Kodachrome - alas not needed.
Nikon copied the mount and rfdr from Contax sticking an N in front of the Ikon... rather cheeky. But cloned the Leica shutter. Replacing the rubberized fabric with titanium part way through SP production.
Leica went to M series viewfinder.
Canon cloned the Leica III until the VI and P (again steel shutter) then afterwards they went to Canonets, simpler, higher volume more profit, though they still did LTM professional models and lenses to '72
Yashica/Nicca ditto they even cloned the M back door.
They all went to SLRs for high volume sales, some sold better than others.
Cosina made modern lenses for Contax, Nikon and Leica (clones). Nikon did memorial cameras.
If you don't need fast reportage with a fast 35mm the knob wind and bottom load is not a problem.
If you do need fast then Nikon S3, or SP, Canon VI, P or 7, or Leica M all have lever winds and non rotating dials to not snag, (though the M is bottom load)
From 60-75 most hot news pros carried a Nikon F motor drive and 5cm /1.4 and a rfdr (from last para) with fast 35mm.
If you don't need fast reportage any of the old cameras are ok, but not all lenses are completely interchangeable
The old lenses produce lower contrast images pastellising colours, indeed many old lenses live on dig&@&@ cameras using adapters and many Contax and Nikon lenses live on M cameras, there is a cottage industry turning Kievs into (cheaper) M adapters, and parts Kievs are cheap if you don't need a lens mount.
Buying one of each is an option... oops
Both camera makers understood that a Contax or a Leica would neeed to be serviced. Today, both are reasonably simple to service.
A Contax isn't that complicated, although it does take time to disassemble and reassemble.
I don't believe any of the parts are interchangeable between a Contax I or II and a postwar IIa/IIIa. The only thing that is the same is the specifications for the lens mount to ensure lens compatibility between models. Except for the prewar Biogon, which shouldn't be used on a postwar Contax.
Some prefer the viewfinder of the Contax II. My own preference is for a postwar IIa. The IIIa is a good camera, but I find that the meter addds noticeable weight to the camera.
The early Nikon S rangefinders are well made, but I think that they are heavier than they neeed to be.
The J12 the FSU clone of the 35mm Biogon should not be mounted on the IIa or IIIa either the optic will hit the shutter baffles. It is very close to some Kievs and Contax II.
GOOGLE before you buy a lens.