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Contax 159MM

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Guest

Most of my photography today is done in Medium Format (Rollei and Linhof Panoramic). I used to owe a Leica M6 outfit with 35, 50 and 90 Summicron lenses but once I switched to Medium format I barely used the Leica anymore and eventually decided to sell it.
A couple months ago I came across a 159MM along with the 28 Distagon, 50 Planar and 135 Sonnar at my local Camera shop. It was a real bargain and I figure that at the worst scenario I would always be able to get the money back should I not like it. Well let me tell you that today that I am back using 35mm film in a serious way thanks to Contax and Carl Zeiss.
The feel of the 159 is very good, smooth and robust, yet it is small and lightweight very easy to use (even my wife takes pictures with it and I spare you details about my wife trying to take pictures of our kids and dogs with the M6) The 159 has a great 1/250 Flash synchro speed perfect for fill in flashes in broad daylight. It has several automatic modes which I rarely use - most of my shooting is done in AE or manual. Top speed is a fast 1/4000, it has an easy to use AE look and a very cool cable release on the back panel - trust me the cable will never get in your way when taking photos. The Zeiss lenses are all fantastic, well build, very sharp with great colors and also fabulous contrasts in b/w and
frankly I can’t tell any major differences between the Leica and C/Z lenses, well actually there is a quiet important one - the cost. My 35 Summicron weighted as much in my bank account as did all three CZ Lenses combined together!!
The 159 has it's shortcomings it does not work without batteries, has no spot meter and no Mirror look-up, but all those points are really no big issues for me as most of my 35mm shooting is done on negative film, I always carry a spare set of batteries in my bag and for close up photography my preferred choice is Medium format anyway.
The 159 balances well in my hand with either of the three lenses but my preferred combination is definitely the 50 Planar. This outfit is so easy to carry around and is extremely versatile. More than once now do I find myself strolling through the old town of Geneva, equipped with my 159 and C/Z 50 Planar, rediscovering my city and taking wonderful pictures.
According to Kyocera the 159MM was produced for a couple of years only, before it got replaced with the 167.
Anyway if you come across a 159MM, don’t hesitate this is a real gem and a bargain in the Contax SLR line up at that too.
 
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Guest

I have the opportunity to buy a 159 with winder at the same price as a used 167mt first appealed to me as a first body. When I think about the 159 I wonder if I'd be just as well off to get a Yashica FX-3 super 2000 as a started. Being just retired it seems the more sensible $$thing to do.
If the 167mt had spot center area weighted similiar to the Nikon F70/80 that I have it might change my mind in that direction.

Stuart Hechinger
 
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Guest

> I have the opportunity to buy a 159 at the same price as a used 167mt> first appealed to me as a first body. When I think about the 159 I> wonder if I'd be just as well off to get a Yashica FX-3 super 2000 as > a started.

Stuart , the 167 is easily the far better camera , plus its more "modern"than the 159 . The slider controls are a bit unusual , but work well nonetheless once you're used to them - this camera has most of the features you are likely to ever need , including Spot and Centre weighted metering . Its quite rugged , mines certainly been round the block and still going strong after 12 years . In the future you might also want to consdier the P5 battery holder for the 167 as it allows use of AA batteries rather than the AAA ones - it also , in my opinion , improves the "heft" and handling of this camera . Buy the 167! Especially if its the same price! Steve
 
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Guest

Stuart, I owned a 159MM for exactly one week, then the shutter locked up.

Assuming that event was bad luck, the 159 has attractions over the 167MT. One is the higher-speed shutter (e.g. 1/250 X-sync). Another is the lighter weight due to lack of winder. Finally, the camera is very small, which means easy packing for travel.

Of course, a 159 with winder loses the weight/size advantage.
 
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Guest

buy yashica fx3-super 2000. as in every yashica/contax measuring systen are well calibrated. you dont need a spot. i never had since 1978. first i has a rts. big troubles when it was cold. then a 137 then 137 ma, then 159. both went broke and had troubles. 159 is a good design with external winder. i never used mm, i have used ae- lenses. i had a very bad experience with 159 when the ttl-flash-system went bad. 50% of my shots of an important event were lost! there was an mechano-optical-problem. when the diaphragm-lever stuck i have given away the camera to my repairman. since then i have only the yashica fx-3 super 2000. no problems with electronics. you might consider buying a contax s. i would like to see contax s3 with external winder and both and central weight, maybe multimetering. i think it will never come. i had contax rts III. the measuring system is fantastic. the price are quite low. i would suggest you to buy this camera. later you could add a 137ma. has manual settings beside automatic time.(TV).only center-weighted. but small with external grip and normal AA-batteries integrated motor. with 137 and 137MA there could be some problems at the end that film does not stop. must be adjusted. 159mm has some troubles which was improved by kyocera at the beginning. dont look on the low price. you need the right camera. 167mt is a bad concept of digital-display. i was very angry for years when no new cameras where coming from kyocera. but good design needs time.-pls tell me if its wrong to write longer lines like this. should i leave away my signature?
 
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Guest

Stuart,

>I have the opportunity to buy a 159 at the same price as a used 167mt<

At the same price, the 167MT is the better bargain, but at a more modest price, the 159MM is a fabulously lovely little camera, petite but businesslike, and with high flash synch speed. I bought one earlier this year, and it's a peach. Currently I no longer have a 167MT, though I plan to get another (and in preparation for which I've bought the P5 battery holder) - my last one was irreparably damaged by leaky batteries, and I used the cheque from the battery company (all credit to them for honouring their warranty) towards an RX instead. The 167MT controls took a little getting used to, but once you're familiar with them, it's a piece of cake. It's definitely on my must-buy list.

Alex
 
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Guest

btw: rts III has the same 1/250 flash-synch. fx3 has 1/125, which is enough. but cam is mechanical. no batteries needed unless for lightmeter.
 
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Guest

Hi all,

My first camera was 159MM which was bought around 12 years ago. I find that it was good enought at the time. The body is with the same design concept of other Contax body, robust and smooth operation. At that time all my lenses were AE mode. So no choice to try on Program mode.

I had the same experience on shutter Jam but it only happend 8 years after my purchase. It works fine so far after repairing. It is good handling when it used with W-7 winder. 3frame per sec. is slow in contrast to nowadays standard. I had a thought to change to 167 but 167 does not have the multi-exposure. I always use feature of multi-exposure so that I gave up to buy 167 buy an AX.

I always use my 159MM with Metz 45CT4 at TTL mode. There has no problem at all. I thought Michael had better checked whether there were dirt on contacts. Personally, I appreciate the performance and reliability of 159MM. Maybe I am a lucky guy. Now 159MM becomes my spare camera after I bought the AX. I love both.

Francis.
 
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> I used to have two 159's. My repair man said that there is a certain swit= ch inside that needs to be cleaned very 10 years or so. I had this done and= they worked fine.
 
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Guest

I have 167MT that I would consider selling, it you are interested, just send me an email.

JOB
 
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Guest

Hi Stuart,

A couple of thoughts re: 159MM vs 167MT. If the 159 comes with the W7 autowinder, I personally would pick the 159MM. You can remove the autowinder and have a small lightweight compact camera. When you want an autowinder you can then attach it. With the autowinder in place, you have a second vertical shutter release which I find invaluable. I find it makes hand holding vertical shots much easier and steadier. Furthermore, all Contax cameras are quite ergonomic but the 159MM with the W7 winder attached feels the best of all in my hands (I've used just about all of the Contax cameras). I know this is a personal thing and may vary from user to user. Do try to figure out which feels best to you. If you do get the 167MT (also a nice camera), do consider the P7 accessory battery grip/pack which improves the balance of the camera. You still have only one shutter release though. The advantages of the 167 are an interchangeable focusing screen - I like the gridded matte screen personally, spot metering, automatic exposure bracketing and shutter speed priority autoexposure (which I personally almost never use).
 
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Guest

Hi there, the 159mm has 1/100 flash syncx (auto) and 1/250s manual mode wheras the 167MT has only 1/125s

Some of the 159MM needed a lot of repair (rumors, hearsay) --Rainer
 
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Guest

as alreaedy mentioned here, i repeat:if you hold 159mm with winder for portraitshots with heavy lens, then winder will loose contact to camera and will not work anymore... this due to stupid plastic design. fantastic camera-stupid winder-design!
 
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Guest

the first series had a problem which have been solved. one switch need to be cleaned every 10 years.i guess depening on use. maybe this was the switch which caused the ttl-flash-problems i mentioned earlier.
 
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Guest

FYI

I uploaded the broshure of the Contax 159MM in the scan section.

If I have more time, I will scan and upload also the manual.

dirk
 
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Guest

Hi all,
does anybody have repairing manual for the 159 MM
Or does anybody know how to open the coverplate or
how to dismount the ASA knob.

THX

Vini
 
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Guest

Hi I have a question about my contax 159mm. I have a TLA 20 Flash but I dont have the newer MM type lens I only have the AE lens .Would I be able to use the TTL metering and couple with all the lens aperture in flash mode thanks.
 
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Guest

> ["With the 159MM and AE lenses, the 2 things you won't be able to use are both Program modes and Tv mode. The TTL should not be affected."] >
 
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