This Old Camera/Scanner Files: The mighty little Contax T2

Being smitten with the Contax G Boys I wanted more, but less. More of that Contax/Zeiss goodness, but in a smaller package. Decided on the T range. Ruled out the Contax T since it was MF only and the flash was not built in (Personal preference. Don’t come at me T fans.). Went for the Contax T2. Why not the Contax T3? Because I did not see a great gain for the extra cost and I was not as enamored with the aesthetics as the T2 (Again. Personal preference. Don’t come at me T3 fans.). Plus neither has a slidey door thing that I have already lost minutes potentially wearing out.

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As always Google the camera and plenty of great websites will tell you the backstory. Evidently this model gained attention recently due to being featured on the Late Show with Jimmy by a rhymes with Carb-dash-ian so the prices picked up after that. Ian Wong does a great review which highlights this.

Don’t watch TV much so I found out about this new found fame after I had already made my decision. Got my copy bargain grade from KEH.com. Cost more than it used to because of this newfound fame, but I figured it was still worth it if it performed anywhere near as well as the G twins.

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And it does. A more detailed write up will follow either here or for KEH.com. The short version is that it does provide all the wonderfulness of the Gs while being very small, having fantastic AF and AE, very well done manual overrides, and doing quite well with the built-in flash. The only thing that I found lacking was that the top shutter speed was less at 1/500s as compared to the other two. Combined with no ability to use ND filters that meant no access to mid-day bokeh. No big really. Once I saw what this camera can do that concern melted away for me. So nearly as capable, but in a smaller and lighter package. Mission accomplished.

As usual for now here is an ongoing gallery and below are some samples from my first three rolls in near as many days.

Happy shooting.

-ELW

Tiny Second Hand Camera Smackdown: Ricoh GR vs. Sony RX100 IV

Recently I exchanged the Sony 20mm f/2.8 that I bought when I purchased my a6000 not that long ago for the Rokinon 35mm f/2.8. My thinking was that the two lenses were redundant since 35mm (50-ish in full frame terms) was my preferred focal length and the Rokinon seemed barely larger than the 20mm (2.43 x 1.30″ (61.8 x 33 mm) vs 2.46 x 0.80″ vs (62.6 x 20.4 mm)) while gaining another full frame lens in my quiver. No brainer, right? Nope. I really like the Rokinon, but it was not a suitable replacement for the 20mm. Why? Glad you asked:

  • Despite its tiny profile the Rokinon better marries with the full frame Sonys in operation. Where focus speed seems adequate on the A7Rii it is less so on the a6000. No idea why. While not awful on the a6000 it is nowhere near as fast as the 20mm on the a6000. Had no idea how good that lens was until I no longer had it… The framework for an R&B or Country song right there.
  • 0.5″ (12.6mm) does not seem like a huge difference in theory, but in application that turns a very pocketable camera into a somewhat pocketable camera. Also the slightly rounded front edge and metal build of the 20mm meant it went in and out of pocket far easier than the square cornered and plastic Rokinon.

Simple fix. Buy the 20mm again. One problem. Southeastern Camera had two tempting full-blown second-hand cameras (ones I always thought about buying) that barely cost more than the 20mm lens new that would be even smaller than the already petite a6000. The thinking was that for a little more spend than a lens ($350-ish) I could potentially have a whole camera ($500-ish).

 

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What to do? Continue reading “Tiny Second Hand Camera Smackdown: Ricoh GR vs. Sony RX100 IV”

I like wide. The Sony G FE 12-24mm f/4 does wide well.

If you ask my conscious self to rank the order of my wide, normal, and tele lens preferences it would be normal, then tele followed by wide. My flickr galleries and blog posts would back this up if you only considered the number of photos posted and the type of lenses written about respectively. For this reason it is the one AF, name brand lens type I did not really budget for once returning to Sony with a vengeance. Thought the vintage K-Mount Vivitar 17-28mm

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would suffice adapted to a full frame Sony technically, but I never used it. Why? Continue reading “I like wide. The Sony G FE 12-24mm f/4 does wide well.”

Zorki 4: meh

Wanted to like this camera. Has some definite perks. As suggested to me by an Instagram acquaintance it has a fantastic viewfinder. But I did not warm up to it at all for some reason. Maybe because it was too normal?

Most likely it is because infinity did not line up when using the Industar 50 it came with. Perhaps because the eveready case flops about on the bottom owing to the non-flush tripod mount. Looks good, but not as tidy and as one of a piece like the wonderfully snug FED 2 and Industar 10 in their case. That set up’s feel and performance belies its frugal pricing.

But one area where this camera does not fall short is the images it creates. Focus was fine even with infinity not aligning properly. Colors were just fine. Easy to set. And…  Still did not like the camera. Ok. Enough of that. Pictures. Happy shooting.

-ELW

 

Zeiss Ikon Teleskop 1.7x Adapter

This post is all out of order, but I am impressed by a peculiar piece of hardware I picked up recently. More specifically a peculiar piece of camera hardware for a peculiar camera. The camera in question? The (deep breath) Zeiss Ikon Contaflex II.

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A camera that I had no idea ever existed not that long ago. Stunning fixed lens SLR camera released in 1954 that is magnificent in its own right and I intend to write a full post on it for KEH.com soon. The hardware? The (deep breath) Zeiss Ikon Teleskop 1.7x Adapter made just for this camera and its predecessor, the non-light metered Contaflex. Pictures cannot possibly do the build quality and feel in hand justice on both pieces. Just what you would expect from German engineering and manufacture. And beautiful. If a fine vintage watch could morph into a camera this would be the result.

What is more amazing is that both the camera and the teleskop adapter each cost less than $60 each. Both a screaming bargain by any measure.

In this humble Industrial Engineer’s opinion, this may be the most beautiful piece of camera equipment I own. And I own some beauties. Add to that the fact that this camera has a feel in hand that no other camera I have owned or held can match… Ok. Enough about the camera. The camera itself provides remarkable IQ (duh, Zeiss) so I was curious whether or not the adapter would add or detract from the experience.

It adds.

Aesthetics:

This adapter makes an already amazing looking camera even more amazing looking.

Build:

Amazingly this 2 piece (slide on bracket and screw on lens) feels like all of one when mounted on to the camera. No wiggles. No flexing. No sliding. It even feels a bit more balanced since the built in lens sits so flush on the front of the camera.

Installation:

Set the built in lens to infinity. Slide on the bracket. Screw in the lens. Focus now moved to the easier to find by feel focus ring on the adapter and shutter speed and aperture control on the front of the camera is retained.

Removal:

Add step of depressing release button at the bottom of the bracket and then simply reverse the steps above.

Use:

Just like normal and even the exposure needs no adjustments as it is compensated for with the lens design. Now instead of a 45mm f/2.8 you have a 76.5mm f/2.8.

IQ:

The native lens is nothing short of amazing and after getting the first test roll back the adapter only enhances the flexibility of an already stellar lens with only a slight drop in sharpness. There is even an interesting almost Helios 44-2 swirliness to the bokeh under certain conditions.

I close here. Here is an online gallery for this adapter and below are samples from the first roll.

Happy shooting.

-ELW

Scanner files: First Roll Through the Russian Tank Zenit E w/ Kodak Gold 200

First test roll through a recently acquired $15 Zenit E that I unwittingly tried to destroy by attaching a Takumar M42 screw mount to it (Do not ever do this as it quickly jammed itself on the body. There is a pin on the lens that will jam in one of the screw-heads on the face of the Zenit’s mount.) followed by a camera store fix visit with no change followed by my own brief berserker episode w/ a .009 feeler gauge that managed to save camera and lens.

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Now matched w/ the intended era correct favorite lens of mine, the Helios 44 2. Continue reading “Scanner files: First Roll Through the Russian Tank Zenit E w/ Kodak Gold 200”

Scanner files: Contax G1.. and G2 too.

There will be more written about these cameras. Not sure if it will be here or as a contributing writer at KEH Camera’s blog. But there will be much more written about the Contax G1. Why? On a high-level it is so good that…

  1. I am already on film roll 4 in a weeks time.
  2. I have not used any digital gear since I received it.
  3. It prompted me to do something I had no intention of doing. Getting a G2.

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Continue reading “Scanner files: Contax G1.. and G2 too.”