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Contax 167MT Help Wanted


Well-Known Member
Hello all,

This weekend I had a strange and disappointing experience with two of my Contax 167MT bodies, the oldest two I have. I turned on one of them to check it out before going out to shoot an outdoor festival, and it initially powered up. It has a P-5 battery holder connected with new AA batteries in it. But, when I pressed the shutter release, the LCD display flashed a few times and the camera shut off, and no matter what I did, would not power back up again, even when replacing the P-5 with the standard floorplate and known good AAA batteries. Initially, I thought there must be some problem with the body. Pushing the reset button was of no avail.

I thought that I had a bad body, and so went to another one of my bodies, powered it up, and it initially worked fine. Then I got the bright idea that I would install the P-5 on it so I could use AA batteries for the shoot. I checked to make sure I had fresh batteries, properly installed, and put the P-5 on the second body. Much to my surprise, history repeated itself, and it was as though the P-5 "killed" my camera body again! Once again, pushing the reset button did me no good. Now I have two dead 167MT bodies! Fortunately I had several more lying around and used them to take the shots, and "quarantined" the P-5 for further study. I did check with a voltmeter and there were 6 volts showing at the internal contacts on the P-5. It looks just like my other two working P-5's and since it is sealed, I have no idea how it could have developed a problem.

Has anyone ever heard of anything like this happening before, or have any ideas of what might be going on? Any help would be appreciated since it is probably cost prohibitive to send these two bodies back to Contax for repair. I've had these two cameras since the 80's and the only thing I can think of is perhaps the internal battery in each has worn out, but cannot imagine what the connection with the P-5 might be. By the way, these two cameras had not been used in months before I took them out for the shoot.

Any help would be much appreciated.



Tom: Are you using Lithium batteries or rechargeables? They are known to have different voltages and discharge characteristics. Is it humid where your cameras are stored? Otherwise just could be bad luck, no idea.


Well-Known Member

Thanks for your reply. Just using plain ordinary alkaline batteries here, no lithiums or rechargeables and the cameras are in a dry place. These cameras have been plugging along with "drug store" batteries since I got them in 1988 and have been trouble free.

However, since my last post, I got a bright idea and tried something else. I had a third 167MT body that powered up and worked, but that had a blacked out viewfinder LCD and was missing the plastic window in the back that I was just keeping around for parts someday. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I confirmed that it worked, then installed the suspicious P5. It powered up and as soon as I pressed the shutter button, it died just like the other two and remains just as dead despite attempts to reset it. So, obviously there is something very wrong with that P5 battery holder!

Oh well, I still have three more working 167MT's, and I suppose since I got almost 20 years out of the other ones I should just be happy and not worry about them. Contax's minimum repair charge is $155.00 US each, which seems prohibitive in light of what they go for on e-bay. So, I suppose I will just sell the bodies for parts to some enterprising camera hacker and be done with it.

If anyone has any further suggestions, I am all ears.



Well-Known Member
The P-5 has caused me similar problems in the past, until I sold the 167MT that is. The only difference is that that camera would work fine after pushing the reset button and powering it on the AAA batteries. I would advise you to send your cameras to a local camera repair shop. The problem might be minor.


Well-Known Member
Thanks Edward,

You know, I was thinking the same thing about this perhaps being a minor problem. The reset buttons seem "squishy" if you know what I mean, and I might not be getting them fully pushed, even though I have tried a number of times.

In any event, you and I are thinking along the same lines. I just finished boxing the cameras (and the P-5) for shipment to Essex Camera in New Jersey in the morning. They've done work for me before and my local shops won't touch Contax. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it is something minor.



Well-Known Member
Hi, I donnot know the 167MT model too exactly, but do you need the P-5 Holder mainly because of the tripod connector in the middle?

why not using 4 AAA rechargable NiMh cells, they have 1.2V marketed as 1500mAh and I guess would not burn through any "fuse" if there is one at all.

in Germany an excellent repair technician (formerly Kyocera Hamburg) would be:

Werner MAHLE
Im Westerfeld 21
DE-21395 Tespe

Best, Rainer