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Contaflex

A

aristharcus

Hi Michael,

I'm very sorry to hear that your Contaflex doesn't work. Needless to say, I completely agree with Lynn. ask them for a refund. A good working Contaflex is a dream to use and enjoy. A broken one is a real nightmare!

>>> but to thank you for your photos I posted some of mine in the gallery. All taken with a Contax II and 35mm Opton Biogon. >>>

Great!. What's the address for viewing them?

Cheers, Luis
 
W

writing4me

Nice gallery shots, Michael. I particularly liked the image you call "very interesting" This was shot with a Contax II and Biogon 35, right? The system is certainly serving you well
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Out of curiosity, since I'm also looking at trying out some of the old rangefinders, what do you use for a meter? I'm a spoiled user of through the lens spot meters just giving over to the notion of carrying a handheld reflected around. Since this room was so very white, did you open up a stop and half over the standard reading? If my question is too boring of a topic for the group, please feel free to email me at Lynn@turnkeydesign.net

Oh, one note...I made a mistake in saying the Super B had the battery ... it does NOT. The Super BC (Contaflex) is the one that started using a battery and has the difficult to access front battery door. Sorry to confuse anyone with mis-information.

-Lynn L.
 
H

highlander

Negative film has wide exposure latitude. Moreover, chromogenic B&W films have a wide range of exposure indices, so between ASA 50 and say 1200 all you get is an increase or decrease in grain (and maybe contrast changes). In other words exposure isn't critical.

In this shoot last weekend I carried a Weston V and an invercone (which I didn't use) because it is very compact (I have a number of different meters - I'm a meter junkie). One basic reading in average light and I just depended on the exposure latitude to carry the day. It isn't a big deal to eyeball it and open and close by a stop as the lighting varied from room to room but I was too lazy. The same for focus - some were focused but many just relied on hyperfocal distance. When working in a museum the less fuss the better.

The great justification for rangefinders is that they are silent, light and compact - one small lens, one small camera and a small light meter and you can concentrate on taking pictures. I like the old ones with film advance knobs instead of levers because they slow me down. The worst is a motor driven film advance - I become Machinegun Kelly with a camera.
 
C

chenly

People, stay away from chromogenic B&W films. Seriously, just stay away.
 
W

writing4me

Thanks for the info Michael. Your approach makes sense to me and sounds far more relalxing. The results you're getting are obviously good. Admittedly, I obsess with checking my meter readings the compensation dial, maybe it started when I began shooting mostly E6, combined with the fact that I hate to bracket anything. It's been probably 10 years since I've shot b&w, but maybe it's time to give it a try again.

I had to laugh when you said this: "> The worst is a motor driven film advance - I become Machinegun Kelly with a camera." I can identify! With the advanced cameras, it becomes very easy to bracket all the shots, shoot multiples just because the drive can manage it, let the matrix metering system handle the readings, and just have the camera fire through the film without much input from the warm body behind the lens. However, I'm finding that now that I'm playing with my manual gear again, I'm thinking faster, making sounder decisions, and ending up with only one shot of each scene that's almost always properly exposed with a better composition. Funny how that works!

Thanks again, -Lynn
 
A

aristharcus

>>> People, stay away from chromogenic B&W films. Seriously, just stay away. >>>

Uhmm, I'm a fan of Tri-X, but Ilford XP2 Super is a wonderful film. Please, visit the following folder where about 90% of the pictures have been taken with this chromogenic film:

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The following one has been enterely taken with XP2 Super (Rolleiflex T medium format camera):

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I find that XP2 Super scans really well (using a Minolta scan dual II, Tri-X is not easy to scan) and both print just great with my Durst enlarger, although XP2 negatives are a bit denser and require more exposure time (about twice, when exposed at 400 ASA).

On the other hand, I don't like chromogenic B&W films from Kodak. I've used CN-400 some times and in my opinion it doesn't reach the high quality level of XP2.

Cheers, Luis Argüelles
 

onore

New Member
Dear Luis,

I enjoyed your two folders with the XP2 pictures. What speed do you rate the film at to achieve these results?

Eric
 
A

aristharcus

Dear Eric, >>> I enjoyed your two folders with the XP2 pictures. What speed do you rate the film at to achieve these results? >>>

Until now I have always used it at its nominal speed, that is, at 400 ASA, but next roll I will try it at 200, since a lot of people speaks so good things at this speed. Anyway, maybe it will produce some problems for scanning, since it will produce denser negatives. Time will tell
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Cheers, Luis
 
W

writing4me

Hello all. Just have to announce that my *new* Contaflex Super just arrived a few hours ago. It has been hard to concentrate on work when I'd rather play with the new *baby*. At first glance, it looked a little complicated, but that first impression was wrong. It's quite an ingenious bit of equipment. I spent a little time reading the manual and it all became clear very quickly. What little gems these cameras seem to be. Can't wait to put some film through it. The meter looks dead-on accurate even after all these many years. In fact, the camera is in stunningly good condition overall. I was very lucky. Hope to post photos from it soon. Happy Independence Day to all who are celebrating this weekend.
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-Lynn, the happy contaflexian
 
G

george_mann

Hi all,

I just purchased several Contaflex models and a "lot" of parts for them from a camera repairman.

I currently have three functioning models.

They are a II, III and Super BC. I also have a partially disassembled Super that looks to be fully funtional.

I am in the process of cleaning them up and testing their meters.

If anyone is interested, I will be looking to sell the functioning models.

I will be taking pictures with these camera's and posting them on the web for potential buyers to review.

Thanks.
 
W

writing4me

Finally I've had a chance to play around with my Contaflex Super (the old type Super with the dial on the front of the camera) with film in the body. Fascinating to learn how this little camera works. I've never shot with an older camera like this, and am having fun. To me, although it's not a programmed camera, it's almost as if they give you "shutter priority mode" by the way the shutter ring, and aperature ring sort of synch up and follow eachother. You set the aperature first, dial a small wheel to adjust the aperature and the aperature ring on the front of the camera then rotates, leaving the shutter speed stationery. Once you get the meter to read as you'd like it, you can change the shutter speed with a ring on the front, and the aperature will change accordingly.

I've noticed that the selenium meter works just fine in daylight, outdoors. However, take it inside the house and it becomes less accurate. It seems to need a good light source to activate the selenium cells properly. Not a problem for me, since I plan to only use this for outdoors.

Loading the film for me was embarassing. I admit, I'm not used to taking off the entire back of a camera to load film. (but I bettter get used to it because I also want to get a Kiev or Contax II). I fumbled like a photography newbie with their first camera. The film take up spool comes out (it is intended to). After I got the film in, I wondered why I did fumble around. It isn't difficult to load at all. It is just different.
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The truly embarassing moment (and yes I am going to admit it) is this: After loading the film and advancing the film twice, I noticed that the arrow on the rewind knob wasn't moving. The instructions said it should. I assumed the film hadn't advanced and opened the back. Oop. It had advanced. Wasted a couple frames by fogging them. I won't do that again.

Shot up half a roll this morning on some flowers in the garden. Will shoot up the other half tonight when the sun swings around to the others that I like. I'm shooting one over, one right one, and one under exposed on all shots to test out the on-board metering. I'm not using a separate hand-held because I'm too lazy and am hoping the on-board is sufficient. (Shooting Sensia 100)

Will see about getting scans done of the resulting images when I get them back, so I can post them for the group. My fingers are crossed!

-Lynn
 
A

aristharcus

Hi Lynn,

It's great you have started to use your Contaflex Super. Your model is exactly the same as one of my two Contaflexes and you're completely right in stating that it seems a sort of "shutter priority mode" camera. About the selenium meter, yes, it works better out in the street than inside houses. I tend to use a Gossen lightmeter, but not for any problem from the camera itself, I use it also with my Contax G1
happy.gif
.

Recently, I've uploaded two pictures taken with my Contaflex, trying to explore a subtle combination of fashion and erotism. Just imagine: a Contaflex in this photographic field!

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Cheers, Luis Argüelles
 

gjames52

Well-Known Member
Lynn
Congratulations

I have a Super BC and it is "shutter priority". However, I look at the meter while I rotate the shutter ring until I see the aperture I want. If I can hold it at ( that shutter setting) I shoot it.
Loading the film will become easy. I would suggest that before you load your next roll make sure the film counter is in the correct position at the red arrow. If you forget you can reposition it by simply rotating the ring. Perhaps rotating it a few times will cure it.

I am curious. Does your model have two sets of guide number settings located on the aperture ring on the left side. Mine has two sets of guided numbers one for 50mm and 35mm. Each set is preceded by the flash symbol. I hope yours does because all you have to do is set the guide number and the camera automatically limits the focus distance range and sets the aperture. And of course you can select any sutter speed, because the the great Compur shutter.

Also my light meter tends to be inoperative in low light. I have found that if move the shutter ring you will see the meter react.

I know you will have fun and appreciate the camera more and more each year.

Gilbert
 

clive_kenyon

Well-Known Member
Good to hear that you guys are having fun with old Zeiss models. I have not had the pleasure of a Contaflex yet, but may do so soon.

Just for now though I have a boxed D with a receipt from 1954 showing a price of 750 Deutchmarks (approx. $180, which is about today's S/H valuation).

Do you think that any current Contax models will hold their price as well?

For those who are not familiar with the Contax D it is a real beauty. About the size of an OM or Pentax M, well balanced and has a unique shutter operation whereby you can fire the mirror before the shutter. Mirror Lock c. 1954!

Clive
 
W

writing4me

Sorry for the delay in posting an update on my Contaflex Super. It is aptly named "super". I can't imagine not owning this camera. I've put two rolls of E6 film through the camera now, and found that it needs to go in for a good CLA. I've either got a sticky shutter, or the aperature blades are taking too long to close down (which I understand can be common in a non-serviced older synchro compur type set up). Not a big problem at all. I am sending it to Mr. Umbach in North Carolina and should have it back inside of 3 weeks. It is very well worth the estimated $80-$140US to do a good CLA and whatever else he finds he needs to do. (He works exclusively on old Zeiss and Voightlander and was recommended to me by Henry Scherer)

Now, about this camera - this is the brightest viewfinder I have ever looked through - really. I handed it to a friend a few days ago and that was his first comment. It was well after sunset and the light was dim, very impressive.

The little Tessar lens is tack sharp, colors have punch, are extremely saturated (like good zeiss lenses). I also bought a set of 4 proxars (close up lenses) which seem like little works of jewelry art! They're elegant with their chrome rings, and their beautiful coated glass. They slip on the front of the 50mm 2.8 Tessar, and honestly I can not fault any image I took with these proxars. I used them for some quickly set up table-top photography (using a tripod) of some lenses and camera, and the images are superb.

I only have about 15 good images from the two rolls of 36 because of the shutter/aperature problem. I'm sending those images off to be inspected by a fellow photographer in person, and when they come back I'll scan them and post them for the group. (I send out for scans and do them in batches since the local lab now has a minimum order amount).

Why do these little gems go so cheaply? Truly, I can not fault this camera one bit. It feels so nice to use, it is so solidly built it's like holding a chunk of metal. In short, I am in love, this is a nifty camera.

Luis - I can see the contaflex used for serious work like you mentioned. From what I have read in some books, it seems it wasn't aimed at the amateur as much as the SERIOUS-amateur and possibly pros.

Gilbert - you asked about the guide numbers. I'm not quite sure how to answer that. Right now I"m looking at the lens, toward the front of the lens there are the shutter speed, behind that are the aperature values, and behind that are the aperature values again but used for calculating depth of field, and behind that (closest to the photographer) is the distance scale in feet. Is that what you mean?

I can't comment too much on the light meter until I get the Contaflex serviced - but will test that once again when it returns. For the table-top shots I used a separate meter. (The rest of the roll looked like the shutter was stuck open - almost clear with streaks of light through the bars of the film)

Clive - you have to get one of these cameras. You'll love it. I might be a crazy American - but this little thing is the greatest.

Best, Lynn
 

gjames52

Well-Known Member
Lynn

I am sure glad you appreciate your Super. I do not believe you can buy the quality materials, features, and craftsmanship that produced those old cameras today.
If I view my camera (Super BC) from the top the aperture ring has a A (for automatic) and on the right side of the ring is the aperture numbers, to the left are two sets of numbers each set preceded by the flash symbol and a lens designation 50mm and the other 35mm. These sets are guide numbers for automatic flash.

Continued success

Gilbert
 
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