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Wednesday, 10 May 2023


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Don't know what your experience mechanically was with these, but I was still in the retail photographic industry when these were around and they had a bad rep. for shutter problems. Other than that they were gorgeous cameras.

I have to comment that while I never cared for Leicas, and never had a CONTAX, I did have a Yashica Electro-35 and really liked it. (There's a "near-mint" one on eBay for $109.) Did it have a relationship with Zeiss rangefinders?

Can’t wait for the totally insane, perhaps in a good way, RTSIII solution to making the film as flat as possible and the manual focus as accurate as possible. I always wondered what they sounded like.

I miss Contax.

Aihhh this reminds me of my TOP film camera tragedies of 2009. Bought a Contax RTS based on your rec (unaware that your rec was for the ii) and two Zeiss lenses for it. This was early in my TOP-related explorations, and I was new to a lot of camera thinking. I got that and a Leica CL with the Rokkor 40/90 lens duo.

One early summer weekend, just when I was getting free time to use them, someone broke into my apartment and took them, and several other things. I never really got to shoot many rolls with them. Only got to love them as neat objects to look through and to practice focus with.

I did get a few nice photos-- both creamy and sharp-- using those Zeiss lenses on the just-released digital Pen and a Yashica mount adapter.

I hope some photographer benefited from their malfeasance. Meth-related crimes were really happening then in Portland. I lost a laptop around the same time that was returned back to me after a major police raid, and the thieves upgraded its operating system and left me a CD in the player. Maybe the camera thieves set up a darkroom and found a nice Zeiss portrait lens for it??

After grad school in 1974, and with my first decent paying job, I bought my first SLR. I considered a Contax (it was good enough for Ansel in the mid-30’s), but opted instead for the Canon EF, which preceded the A-1 and had an electronic shutter for speeds above 1 sec, to 30 seconds. It was loaded with clever features for the time. But that was before I bought my first Leica M and discovered the joys of operational and design simplicity. Fond memories.

Every once in a while, I consider picking up a Contax body now that the prices are quite low, but I'm quickly reminded of how much the lenses cost. There was a time early in the digital era when they were cheap, as few people wanted a manual focus lens that was difficult to adapt, but now it's easy to attach to a mirrorless camera, easy to focus on a mirrorless camera, and also having a lot of cachet for use in filmmaking. The Yashica ML lenses used to be a hidden gem, but thanks to the internet and social media means that nothing is a secret anymore.

Please do continue telling us fascinating stories of these cameras, hopefully in a way that satisfies all I want to know without making me want to try to buy one!

Thoroughly enjoyed reading the CONTAX history! My first 35mm camera was a Yashica Electro 35 rangefinder, which was quite advanced for it’s time, right down to the “atom” logo emblazed on the front and is quite a cult-cam these days… Big honkin’ 45mm f1.7 lens on the front, stellar. Sadly, sold it to get a hot SLR, Nikkormat FTN, as a teenager I couldn’t afford an “F” on a paper-route budget and as you pointed out just one of the many that ran the RF’s out to pasture… Many of us consider our dream camera to be a digital CONTAX G1/G2 which sadly will never happen (yeah, the Fuji X-Pro3 is nice, but not really the same thing as Porsche/CONTAX design…)

Wasn't there a Contax 35 that autofocused by moving the film back or something wild like that?

The RTS III was a spectacular piece of heavy and big uber-engineering with the clever vacuum back. When new they were fantastic. Have they aged well?

I always fancied one of those but it was way beyond my means at the time. I did however eventually acquire a Minolta Xd7 (XD11 in the US), which was a little jewel of a camera, with several firsts in its design. Smaller, cheaper and more advanced than the Contax.

Yashica has faded, unfortunately. I'd like to know what happened with them. I still enjoy their film point-and-shoots with the Zeiss lenses.

Still miss my 167MT and Zeiss 85mm.

Photographers in the '60s didn't want to emulate David Hemmings' character in Blow Up because of the cameras - it was the girls.

With my M3 Leica-

However, I preferred the M6 model, with the built in exposure meter.

I dabbled with Contax almost 15 years ago when suddenly film gear was cheap as chips… but Contax was still pricey. I could only afford a bargain 139 Quartz. The only lenses I could afford were Yashica branded.

Nowadays the price of the cameras has come down - but the lenses are still very expensive compared to other marques. The digital adapter crowd has driven lens prices up, ironically making the actual camera bodies less desirable.

Sold all my Nikon gear in the 90's for a Contax G2 and Zeiss glass: 28, 50, and 90 and loved it. Sold the G2 after 5 years because I started shooting a lot of indoor flash and Nikon just introduced the SB-80 flash with fill capabilities.
BTW- DC's Nikon repair king was Jorge Mora, a former Nat Geo repair manager. Mora Camera and Repairs was located at Wisconsin and Brandywine Sts NW.

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