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Any tips for using a Contax T3 in the cold

G

Guest

Hello,
I'm pretty close to buying a Contax T3, mainly for taking landscape photographs while out hill/mountain walking.

My main concern is how the camera will perform in a cold environment (i.e. sub sero). I don't want to wake up in my tent to find out that I can't get that sunrise picture because the camera's stopped working!

I presume the best option is to keep the camera at ambient temperature (to prevent condensation or misting when it comes out into the cold), but to keep the battery in an inside pocket to keep it warm (as modern batteries don't like the cold... or is that just rechargables??)

Many thanks,
Jon
 
G

Guest

Hi Jon,
Yes, doing it that way would give you a few minutes grace before the cell became affected by the cold. You would probably have to keep on unloading and re-loading your cell or cells which might be a bind.

My own advice would be to buy a Rollei 35S and Weston Master meter. The Rollei has a mechanical shutter so would be unaffected by the cold and the meter is not battery dependent.

The Rollei has a Carl Zeiss designed Sonnar lens so you would not be betraying the cause too much......

Clive
 
G

Guest

Hi Clive,
I think the Rollei 35S may be a bit too far on the manual side for a point and shoot camera! I've never used one, but by all accounts it's a fantastic piece of kit... I just need something a little more automated


I guess that in the cold, as long as the battery works, the camera should work, although I may need to carry an extra battery or 2. If the electronics do suffer, I can always stuff it in my sleeping bag for a bit.

Speaking of Rollei cameras, the AFM 35 is also on my short list, a 38mm f2.6 lens, good features, good reviews, and 2/3rds of the price of the T3..

So now it's down to Contax T3, Rollei AFM 35, Leica Minilux (though I'm worried by reliabilty of the Leica).

I really need to find a shop that will lend me all 3 so I can test them side by side.

Thanks,
Jon
 
G

Guest

Hi Jon,

Yes, the Rollei 35S is fully manual. That said it has a reliable meter (in normal weather)and a useful depth of field scale on the lens barrel. In use you would simply point the camera at a suitable area of mid tone, set the aperture / shutter combination so the needles matched and fire away. Not too difficult and no harder than having to compensate for light or dark scenes on an automated camera. Given your stated desire to photograph sunset and mountain scenery you are going to need some sort of manual over ride tpo get a correct exposure. Also the Rollei can accept a UV filter, useful in higher altitudes - can the others?

For cold weather as you describe then the camera meter would be little use, but a none battery meter like the Weston would allow you to carry on shooting because the shutter would be unaffected.

They go for around $200 on eBay - far less than a T3.

It is your money - just my two penneth.

Clive
 
G

Guest

Hi Jon,

why a P&S at all? is the size so important if you have a tent/sleeping bag with you anyway?

I would recommend you to look also at a Conrax S2 (mechanical-460g) with a 45/2.8 (90g) or with a small zoom like the 3.4/35-70. You are more flexibel then without carrying to much weight etc.

additional you have the option to go even more into wideangle/tele, if you want that for your landscape shooting..

dirk
 
G

Guest

I'll have a look around for an old Rollei 35S, although the availablity in the UK may be somewhat less than in the the US.

I do want a 'point and shoot' camera too, so maybe I'll get the 35S for the cold weather, and a Rollei AFM 35 for the lighter stuff (probably still cheaper than a T3!).

The AFM 35 doesn't take filters though, whereas the T3 does...

This is going to be one TOUGH decision!!

Cheers,
Jon
 
G

Guest

Hi Dirk,

Oh you've started it now!! Very good point. A Contax S2, or even a Nikon FM3A might well be a much better option... I'm sure there are some others too. Is the Contax S2 still available?

Cheers,
Jon... off to do some thinking
 
G

Guest

You can buy the Contax S2 only second hand, it is not in the current program anymore.

FM3 is a nice camera, but NOT cheap and above all you can not use Zeiss glass...

dirk
 
G

Guest

Hi everybody, me again!

Many mountaineering chappies used Olympus OM1s for their high altitude / low temperature work for the reasons expounded in this discussion. They are cheap, but the lens system is not as good as Zeiss.

The Contax S2 can still be had second hand, but at a price and they don't appear in eBay listings or dealers ad's very often. Also any bought from the larger US auction site or American dealers will attract a hefty customs & excise duty on receipt.

Personally for the reasons listed before I would still opt for a 35S as a dedicated back packing compact companion. I have just replaced my faithful Olympus XA with a 35S after extensive trials of those two and a Minox 35GL. The Rollei's image quality is amazing - it takes filters, hoods and has a mechanical shutter.

Search eBay's German site or contact the German dealers listed on these pages. I have dealt with Michael Huppert recently - New Contax G2 at £432, around half UK prices, and no import duty. I can recommend his service.

Well Jon, decisions, decisions.....

Clive
 
G

Guest

mmmm, after doing a little more research I'm tempted to try and find an S2 or S2B. I guess there is little to choose between them except the metering, which I guess for important shots, is done with a handheld meter anyway..

What's the going rate for a mint or re-furbished S2 or S2b??

Thanks again,
Jon
 
G

Guest

Hi Jon,

There are currently two S2's on eBay - one in Germany at 600 Euros and one in the States at $565. So at those sort of prices you are looking at £400 Imperial.

Clive
 
G

Guest

Hello again..

After careful deliberation, I've just bought a Rollei 35S, should be with me tomorrow. By pure coincidence, there is a write up on the 35S in Amateur Photographer this month, though it's not a technical write up.

I'm still looking at the Contax S2 or S2B though... a few about, and they all seem to be around the £400-£600 mark.... maybe next month ;)

Thanks for you help,
Jon
 
G

Guest

Hi Jon,

Best of luck with the Rollei, though I'm sure that you will love it. Remember that you will need a none battery dependent meter for cold weather shooting as the battery in the 35S is located within the film chamber so you can't revert to 'Plan A'.

You can often pick them up on a car boot sale for a couple of pounds - Norvex or Weston ones seem OK.

(I've just bought the Missus a Leica Z2X for her holiday shots. I can't see her getting out of a warm sleeping bag at dawn though, no matter what the temperature outside!)

Best wishes,

Clive
 
G

Guest

Hi Clive,

I'm keeping an eye out for a bargain light meter, and a rangefinder will probably be useful too!

I read that I may have some problems getting the Px625 battery for the 35S, although there was some useful info on the following website:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


A Leica for the missus... now that's flash


Cheers,
Jon
 
G

Guest

Hi, everybody!
My experiences with cold weather conditions are a little bit different. When it comes to the real low temperatures, the limited battery life is not the crucial factor, but mechanical stability!
I took my 139Q (with several CZ lenses) on a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, in January. Temperatures were as low as -50°C (-58°F). The batteries gave up after a while, but I always had a replacement battery in my pocket and I kept changing. But what really concerned me was the increasingly sluggish behaviour of both, the camera and the lens. They literally froze! The film advance lever became pretty hard to move and I was always afraid to break something inside. The same went with the lenses, focus and aperture ring felt like they were glued to the lens body. Very unpleasant. The problem is, that at such low temperatures, many of the materials used in a camera become very brittle and are therefore likely to break.
So, I would advise that you operate the camera with a lot of "feeling" and carefully. I also heard that some camera manufacturers offer a special low temperature preparation for cameras and lenses, where they replace the greases and oils with more "fluid" ones, but I'm not sure if this is the case with Contax...
Best regards,
Thomas
 
G

Guest

Hi Thomas,

That IS cold!! I'm pretty sure I won't be subjecting my camera (or me!!) to that kind of punishment.

I presume that the 'stiffness' in the camera could be caused by the materials shrinking due to the cold. Maybe some of the rotating parts shrink and therefore tighten up??

From your experience it sounds as if the cameras and lenses will stand up to anything I'll be likely to encounter, so I'm happy!!

Best Regards,
Jon
 
G

Guest

What I forgot to mention is, that besides of the "stiff" feeling of camera and lens it still worked perfectly!!! A great proof for the overall build quality of Contax cameras...

Cheers,
Thomas
 
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