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CONTAX iii viewfinder compostionparalax

S

sol74

I have a nive kiev copy of the contax iii. Can anyone tell me how to get round the viewinder accuracy problem caused by my multi-finder being on top of the light meter. I have a book called 'THE CONTAX WAY' but even this comprehensive guide doen't talk about this critical problem. It may be that the turret multi-finder i have is meant for the Leica screws (it is left-orientated) but there seems to be a vertical framing problem (more difficult to resolve than compensating for the left/right probem!) Am I right ? Any solutions? HELP!! it seems a shame I cannot use this camera with other lenses until I sort this out..........
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Hello Phil,
I don't really understand this problem. I had a Kiev outfit in the '70's which I foolishly sold for a Practica SLR and reading your post makes me realize that I wish I had kept it but I expect that I needed the money as ever. It was in a leather fitted case. I found that it was cumbersome to use but made nice pictures. I used a separate meter as I recall but I didn't find that I had a problem framing with the turret finder. The finder I used was the silver one where you turned it to match the lens in use rather than the black one which had different bright line frames to match different fields of view.
John
 
D

drtomm

Hello, Phil:
I assume that you are using a Russian turret-type multifinder on your KIEV? The finder has distance parallax adjustments for each focal length. As to the contribution to parallax by the height of the meter housing, there are tips in the Contameter manual.
Hope this helps,
Tom
 
S

solienear

Hello Phil,
I'm not absolutly clear your problem with KIEV and the turred finder.
Have you a KIEV III or IV ?
KIEV Typ IV is not a problem, but KIEV III have a bigger lightmeter house. The russian turred finder work correctly with this III.
Only the verticaly parallax is a problem.
The Leica turred finder is without 28mm, but have a vertical and horizontal correction parallax.
This chrom Leica turredfinder work with KIEV III absolut perfect too. Is a older turred finder in chrom for LEICa screw mount.
What is the problem?
You have only problems with older Zeiss Ikon Contameter for close up photographie for contax/KIEV cameras in diffent without and include lightmeter house.
peter müller
 
S

sol74

Yes, I have the Kiev iii 1957 ...which I think is a copy of the Contax III (not IIIa). Cameraquest.com says the left-handed russian turret finder is meant for Leica scew mount and right-handed is for kiev. Is this true? I cannot find the page I saw on cameraquest. I am sure I tried every parallax adjustment of this left-hand turret finder.. but every photo last September was badly composed. I have done test shots and there seems to be 1/6 of the image to far to the left(?) I tried to frame the subject correctly- but to no avail.
Any other suggestions? Does anyone have a copy of the Contameter manual? (I am not actually a user of the Contameter tho- it was suggested above that this manual might help me with the turret-finder problem) Cheers for you help,
Phil
 
S

solienear

Hello Phil,
the russian turret finder is for KIEV III in left site handed. This russian turred finder give in two version 1) for KIEV, and 2.)for russian camera FED a Leica screw mount copy.
The turred Finder for KIEV works with KIEV III and other KIEV too, but the problem is the vertical parallax. This correktion have only the Leica screw mount turred finder for KIEV III.
A great problem is a contameter for Contax/KIEV III with the big lightmeter house. Here are works only with Contax/KIEV III the older prä- war contameter with interchange lens in the finder.
Its very hard to find this oldest contameter.
peter müller
 
D

drtomm

This is further to Phil's post about the parallax problem he is experiencing with a Russian universal finder when using it on a 1957 KIEV III.

In the manual for the post-war Contameter, the close-up rangefinder is shown both on a Contax IIa and IIIa. From the text, it appears that parallax problems occur only with the taller meter housing of the Contax III. Here is the pertinent text from the manual (319/439; Stuttgart, August 1954):

“When the CONTAMETER is used with the former model of the CONTAX III camera, it has to be borne in mind, that the framing of the object inside the view-finder is about 1 cm (3/8 in) too high, that is, the upper part of the image will show 3/8 in too much of the object, whereas the lower part shows 3/8 in too little.”

On the Russian KMZ (Krasnogorsk) universal finder I have, the drum with the finder lenses (2.8-3.5-5.0-13.5-8.5 cm) is on the rewind-knob side when mounted on the camera. There are two parallax correction setting for each of the shorter focal length lenses, and three correction settings for the 8.5cm and 13.5cm lenses. Above and below the field of view in the finder there are horizontal ruled lines, which, with some trial and error, could be used to provide additional parallax correction.

Kuc (On the Trail of the Contax, vol 2. Wittig Books, 2003) states that the KMZ finder is a copy of the pre-war Contax universal finder, but there is no illustration of the German version in his book. Croy (Das Contax Buch, Heering Verlag, 1956) does not even mention parallax.

In my opinion, the Russian finder is a well made and useful accessory, although it does not approach the quality of the post-war Zeiss 440 finder.

Tom
 
S

solienear

Hello,
sorry, I have all this finders include Leica turred universalfinder.
The post war universal finder Zeiss Ikon typ 440
have included a finest vertical parallax, but the have a black mask, and not good view like quality from russian finder, thats the same Zeiss Ikon universalfinder prä-war. The russian universal finder KMZ is without vertical parallax.
In prä-war Zeiss ikon catalog is a contameter for the Contax III with 3 littel lenses put on the contameter for parallax and this is perfect too for KIEV III.This oldest contameter is only working in precision with Contax/KIEV III and very hard to find.Very, very rare is the Carl Zeiss Jena "DDR" turred universalfinder 1949 with included 25mm,and perfect parallax.
Not so rare and hard to find is a Leica turred universalfinder included vertical and horizontal parallax,work with CONTAX/KIEV III, but is without 28mm.
peter müller
 
S

sol74

Thanks very much Tom and Peter - I am actually mistaken .. Its a Kiev IIIa not III that I have but it should not make any difference (am i correct in saying that?). It seems ridiculous that a prestigous company like Zeiss did not properly sort the lightmeter/parallax problem. Surely framing and composition is of critical importance in rangefinder photography. With SLRs it may not be such an engineering challenge, but I thought the Contax system was a workhorse camera system meant for a variety of applications - why this problem? Can I confirm with you Peter, that the Leica turret finder gives exact framing? I needs to be exact especially when the viewfinder openings are so small compared with SLRs . I will practice some more with a few more rolls of film - maybe I can adapt and compensate myself as DRTomm suggests .
tHE SAGA CONTINUES....
 
S

solienear

Hello Phil,
you have a KIEV IIIa ? The different from KIEV III and IIIa is: the III have a big knob for time exposure and big lightmeter house.
With KIEV IIIa you have absolutly not problems with parallax. All Zeiss finders and russian turred universal finder and Contameter works.
My opinion is, you wish a comfort like SLR cameras, but the Contax/Kiev is a rangefinder camera. The Zeiss Ikon Contax singel folder finders put in the hot shoe have a äquivalent comfort with lightframe included for 5cm and 8,5cm or 5cm and 13,5 cm, but not parallax.
The Leica turred universal finder gives exakt framing with continuus black mask, but without 28mm. Yes this Leica piece make a best correktion parallax vertical and horizontal, but the comfort for looking in to is a russian turred universal finder.
peter müller
 
D

drtomm

I put my KIEV turret finder on a Contax IIa, a KIEV 4a, and a Contax III. Surprisingly, the optical paths of the finder and the camera lens coincide in the vertical plane only on the Contax IIa. The accessory shoe on the Contax III and KIEV 4a offset the optical path of the finder in the vertical plane toward the rewinding knob of the camera! This, and the additional height of the meter housing may not be significant at longer distances, but closer up may indeed impinge on the accuracy of the field of view as Phil has experienced. I don’t have my Zeiss 440 finder at hand to see what it does.

It may be of interest, that the optical path of the Leica 21-24-28mm finder coincides with that of the lens in the vertical plane, but won’t fit the Contax accessory shoe.
 
S

sol74

Peter, do you know the Leica product code for that Leica viewfinder that you have?
 
S

solienear

Hello Phil,
it's Leica code "Vidom" in chrome work with KIEV and fit accessory shoe
 
D

drtomm

I was surprised to find the attached image in an Italian Contax III manual: It shows the pre-war Contax universal finder with the lens drum toward the winding/shutter speed knob! I had purchased the Russian KMZ universal finder "for the KIEV" with the opposite arrangement. You can't trust anybody these days!
My apologies for posting inaccurate information.
Tom
 
S

sol74

Yes Tomm, the photo confirms what the sections cameraquest say - the contax turret finder lies to the right! This repair site -
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however says the opposite (paragraph under viewfinders)
This is the main problem. Vertical alignment is correctable using the parallax adjusting turret barrel - but my problem (especially with wide angles) is the horizontal framing which is VERY difficult to correct without physically moving the camera ... u see?
 
D

drtomm

Phil: Perhaps the problem is the way in which we look through the finder. I compared the fields of view for the 5 cm lens on a Contax IIa and the Russian KMZ finder, centering both on a street light. On the photographs, there is indeed a difference in both the horizontal and the vertical plane and, in my case, the KMZ finder’s cross-hairs are centered more accurately than the rangefinder spot in the camera's viewfinder. Go figure!
 
D

drtomm

More on viewfinder parallax: Stephen Gandy has an excellent discourse on the subject at

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Stephen may have the last word!
 
S

sol74

Dr Tomm, well done on digging that out - I keep looking on UK ebay but don't see the right-handed russian turrets. Will be looking out for this L**a one as mentioned above... Zeiss ones very rare I gather. I have been considering adapting the lefthanded ruskie turret that I have by sawing a hotshoe adapter in half etc... But I would have to be accurate to position it 1 2/3 cm to the right . any suggestions? even the new voigtlander stuff might be an option.
 
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