1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Contaflex

Discussion in 'Classic Cameras before 1970' started by george_mann, Jun 20, 2003.

  1. george_mann

    george_mann Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Anybody have any experience with this body/lens system?

    I currently use a Contax 139 Quartz with a Zeiss 50mm f1.7.

    I am interested in the Super BC model.

    Is there any issue's with this system?

    I know about the front element seperation with the 35mm and 85mm.

    I have also heard about a possible issue with the film spool.

    Nonetheless, I think that this is a unique and interesting model.
  2. aristharcus

    aristharcus Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Hi George,

    A second hand Contlaflex (1954 model) was what introduced me in photography when my father gave me it back in 1974 as a gift. Please, visit the following pictuers, all taken recently by me with a Contaflex:

    http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=1330726&size=lg http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=1330774&size=lg http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=1330992&size=lg

    Any model of Contaflex will produce excellent pictures, although the Super BC model has an improved, recomputed Zeiss Tessar lens, yielding even better images.

    Watch out for cameas not used since long ago. This can produce some problems with the shutter, specially at low speeds. Also always verify that the diafragm stops-down quickly enough when shoting. For this, select the B position for speed and f/22 for diafragm. Just when shooting, it must stop-down instantaneously.

    Later, after buying the camera (I can tell you it will give you a lot of satisfactions) never let it more than a month without shooting at every speed -no film inside-, just to keep it in shape!

    Best from Oviedo, Spain, Luis Argüelles Owner of Contaflex (1954) and Contaflex Super .
  3. writing4me

    writing4me Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    > Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your post, Luis. I'm enjoying learning about some of the older contax gear, and this was quite interesting! The photos you linked are quite nice. They have considerable depth and richness which seems to be from the fact that the shadows are so deep but clean, the whites are crisp but not blown, and the blacks are sharp. Life pops off the images. Very nice. (My favorite is the first image) That contaflex is doing some nice work with you [​IMG] Out of curiosity, what does a working Contaflex go for on average? Best, Lynn L.
  4. aristharcus

    aristharcus Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Hi Lynn,

    Thank you very much for your comments about the pictures (I also like the first one the most!). Ok, about prices, Contaflex cameras can be had between 50 and 100 Euros on E-Bay. Models Super B and Super BC are in the upper limit, while a Contaflex Super can be had for about 75 Euros. The 1954 model can run for 50-60 Euros. All are real bargains!

    Cheers, Luis
  5. writing4me

    writing4me Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

  6. highlander

    highlander Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Do both the Super B and Super BC models have the re-computed tessar lens?
  7. aristharcus

    aristharcus Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Hi Michael,

    >>> Do both the Super B and Super BC models have the re-computed tessar lens? >>>

    As far as I know, yes, both the Super B and Super BC have it. Anyway, other previous models of Contaflex have great Tessar formulations, too.

    Happy "Contaxing", Luis Argüelles
  8. aristharcus

    aristharcus Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Great address!. Thank you, Lynn.

    German manufacturers of cameras always include one trick or two in the manuals that make you aware you have yet something to learn!

    Cheers, Luis
  9. highlander

    highlander Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Many thanks Luis.

    My affection for the Tessar goes back to the 1940's when my father passed on his love for photography in general and Zeiss lenses in particular (well he also loved the Heliar). I was struck by the quality of the pictures you posted.

    When you eliminate the obvious high quality of you technique there is still a lot of lens character evident - in hope of acquiring a similar lens and because of the ridiculously low price a bought a Contaflex super B. I look forward to seeing the results.

    I have little interest in lens tests - for me a lens cannot recreate reality, only provide that combination of distortions that fits my creative vision. Your images were just great.

    Regards,
  10. aristharcus

    aristharcus Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Hi Michael,

    Many thanks for your words about my pictures. Thanks to the Contax forum, not only it is a pleasure for me to take pictures, but also sharing them with people here!

    >>> My affection for the Tessar goes back to the 1940's when my father passed on his love for photography in general and Zeiss lenses in particular >>>

    This was exactly my case, also. I've just uploaded two pictures taken with the Contaflex and Tessar 45mm lens:

    http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=1566935&size=lg http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=1566936&size=lg

    About the Tessar, I remember that Zeiss introduced the use of "rare lands" in the formulation of the Tessar lens' glass at the first of the 60s last century, very much like Leica did with the Summicron.

    >>> When you eliminate the obvious high quality of you technique there is still a lot of lens character evident - in hope of acquiring a similar lens and because of the ridiculously low price a bought a Contaflex super B. I look forward to seeing the results. >>>

    I'm completely sure it will give you a lot of satisfactions. As you know, there are some Pro-Tessar lenses to use with the Contaflex (35, 80 and 115mm, I think to remember), but I would say that the Contaflex was designed specially to be used with a normal lens.

    >>> I have little interest in lens tests - for me a lens cannot recreate reality, only provide that combination of distortions that fits my creative vision. >>>

    I can't agree more!. In fact, when taking pictures with a Contaflex, I have the feeling that despite what I'm photographing, the image will result interesting. I think this attitude helps a lot also in trying to get good images.

    Cheers, Luis
  11. writing4me

    writing4me Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Just found another link for those of you who have or are interested in the Contaflex Super.

    This site not only talks about the camera in considerable detail, but it has operating instructions AND diagrams.

    http://fotophile.tripod.com/cameras/contaflex-Super.htm

    If all goes well, I *might* be the owner of a nice Contaflex Super in a few days.

    Enjoy, Lynn L. PS: I'll cease posting to the list for a while since I've been over-posting lately.
  12. magnolia70123

    magnolia70123 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Luis I want to thank you for stimulating this thread on the Contaflex B. I happen to have one for 3 yrs. and its has been outstanding. Needless to say I've been looking for a manual all this time. Your friend Lynn offered a site link which gave me what I had been looking for. Believe it or not my family is from Asturias, via Oviedo to a little village on the coast called Soto de Luina which as you may know is right by Cudillero. Take some pictures of those areas so your readers can marvel at its beauty and the quality of Zeiss lenses. Saludos from New Orleans, Manuel M. de la Rua.
  13. magnolia70123

    magnolia70123 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Ms. Lynn I would like to thank you for posting the link which provided me with the Contaflex manual I had been looking for so long. Wishing you many wonderfull fotos with your camera, Manuel in New Orleans,LA,USA
  14. writing4me

    writing4me Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    You're very welcome Manuel, and thank you for the kind wishes. -Lynn
  15. aristharcus

    aristharcus Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Hi Manuel,

    >>> Luis I want to thank you for stimulating this thread on the Contaflex B. I happen to have one for 3 yrs. and its has been outstanding. Needless to say I've been looking for a manual all this time. Your friend Lynn offered a site link which gave me what I had been looking for. Believe it or not my family is from Asturias, via Oviedo to a little village on the coast called Soto de Luina which as you may know is right by Cudillero. Take some pictures of those areas so your readers can marvel at its beauty and the quality of Zeiss lenses. Saludos from New Orleans, Manuel M. de la Rua. >>>

    It's a real pleasure for me to speak about one of the finest reflex cameras ever made. Although not immediately, I will try to load two rolls of XP2 in the Contaflex and then go from "Cudillero" to "Luarca". Incredible places where, stangely, I have never taken a picture with the Zeiss-Ikon cameras. Before the end of this summer the pictures will be done! [​IMG]

    Cheers, Luis Argüelles
  16. george_mann

    george_mann Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Thanks for all the info.

    There is also a 135mm f4 lens that few seem to be aware of. I've even got a picture of it on a Super BC.

    KEH.com has one in excellent condition for only $23 US.

    It will probably be awhile before I purchase another camera.

    What do you think about the Contarex?

    Any experience with it? Should we start a thread on it?
  17. writing4me

    writing4me Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    George, I'm not expert on the Contaflex models by any stretch of the imagination, but I *think* I read that the 135/f4 is strictly for the one-and-only 126 film version of the Contaflex, not the 35mm versions. If someone knows more about this, I don't mind being corrected.

    As for starting a Contarex thread ... that sounds like a very good idea with only one problem for me. I'll want to buy one. ;) That wasn't such a problem with the Contaflex at their bargain prices, however, the Contarex is considerably more dear (in price).

    -Lynn
  18. highlander

    highlander Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    I received my Contaflex Super B today but have been thwarted in using it. While those of the Age of Plastic praise the Contaflex for its solid (and stolid) quality, Zeiss apparently took a page from the Zorki 4K with the same disastrous results. Many of the scales on the lens barrel (including the manual f-stops and the aperture priority f-stop scale) are printed not engraved. Mine arrived worn clean so it is impossible to set f-stops. As the meter isn't working the camera is not useable. So now in addition to checking for a sticking diaphragm you have to check all numerals printed on the controls. Say it isn't so
  19. writing4me

    writing4me Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Michael, I hope some of the others respond to your post here. I don't have my Super in my hands yet, but the seller did provide detailed photos of all sides angles of the camera I just bought. Did the photos you were given of the camera before you purchased show any or all of the scales on the lens barrel? The seller should have provided good pictures (I assume you bought at a distance? like on Ebay?) I just looked at the photos of mine and all are on there clear as a bell.

    Did the seller tell you the meter was working?

    Did they tell you that it was a fully functioning working camera?

    If they did say yes to either or both of these questions but the camera doesn't behave as promised, tell them you want a refund. Even if they did not say yes to these things before the sale, tell them you are disappointed in the sale and want to know how the situation can be corrected.

    On a side note, I know the Super has the selenium cell meter, which I would guess doesn't have a lot of life left if any. Your Super B was the first to edge away from the Selenium meter if I am correct, and it takes a battery in a very difficult to access little spot on the front of the camera. Could the battery need changing?

    I'm a new Contaflex-ian... mine isn't in my hands yet, but I'm trying to help. Hope these aren't stupid suggestions. If I can help in any way please let me know. I hope the others who are more experienced with the Contaflex Super B will chime in.

    Best, Lynn
  20. highlander

    highlander Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    Hi Lynn,

    The Super B is selenium and not much can be expected (albeit I have a pre-war Weston meter still going strong). I didn't think to check the photos for missing inscriptions (who knew?). Like most eBay sellers he knew nothing about cameras. Like most eBay sellers he promptly offered a refund - so there was only a half day turn

Share This Page