Quote Originally Posted by Steve Mack View Post
Has anyone used this camera as a regular user, and not merely as a curio? What is your opinion of it? I am thinking of buying an outfit.
I had a Contax IIIa with a Sonnar 50/1.5 a few years ago. It gave me some trouble because of a weird light leak that eventually went away. Also lenses would rattle slightly in the mount, but I never found out what that was. I'm pretty sure it was isolated to mine, and it never affected pictures. Ergonomically it was okay - not wonderful - but it was fun to use. The viewfinder is very small by today's standards, but usable. Advance was done by a knob which took a little effort to turn, but was smooth. Rewind was annoying because my fingers would bump-up against the meter block. The meter in mine worked, but I believe most now are either inaccurate or dead (they can be fixed if you really want to.)

It took some fantastic pictures - the Sonnar 50/1.5 is a killer lens. Mine had severe balsam separation that had people running for the hills, but it worked great - even in direct sunlight, and produced nice color photos, too. Contax lenses are hard to come by, and of course on eBay many are extortionately priced. Voigtländer (Cosina) made some good lenses, and Russian KIEV mount lenses are good, too - especially the Jupiter-12 35/2.8. You could also try Nikon rangefinder mount (S-mount) lenses, as long as they're wider than 50mm.

Check to make sure that Bulb works properly, and that 1/1250 actually opens - I believe those are the two speeds that can give trouble. Also see if you can run a test film through it, and check the fast speeds to make sure they're exposing the film properly.