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.
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.
This adapter makes an already amazing looking camera even more amazing looking.
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.
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.
Add step of depressing release button at the bottom of the bracket and then simply reverse the steps above.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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…
- I am already on film roll 4 in a weeks time.
- I have not used any digital gear since I received it.
- It prompted me to do something I had no intention of doing. Getting a G2.
Continue reading “Scanner files: Contax G1.. and G2 too.”
So I walk into Southeastern Camera…
(The beginning to many a story.)
…and ask, “What do you have in new that is film, auto exposure, with a built in lens and costs around $50.” To which Dennis replies, “I have your next camera right here, Eric.”
This would freak me out, but similar exchanges have become quite common there.
And it was marked at $50 exactly. After a quick flickr sample shot search I was sold. This is not my first film Konica purchased here. Darth Vader’s disco ball helmet (aka AiBORG) preceded it.
But other than being film, AF, otherworldly consistent in image output, and having Konica written on them these two cameras could not be more different. Where the AiBORG is a mash up of 80s form and function oddity born in the early 90s and full blown automation the C35 AF2 (and AF before it) is 70s function and design minimalism birthed in 1980. Where some aspects of the AiBORG beg the question why, everything about the C35 just makes sense. I do enjoy the AiBORGs quirkiness, but I would choose the C35 any day. The only worthwhile advantage the AiBORG offers over the C35 is zoom and that is not worth it. I still enjoy owning (moreso than shooting) the AiBORG, but it has one glaring fault. Its viewfinder is like looking through a hole punched through a potato with a pencil. The one on the C35 is a joy by comparison with it’s big and bright vantage point. It even has a parallax adjusted view box for close framing. In use it feels much like my beloved rangefinders.Which it seems to actually be… but with AF. On to minuses, pluses, and sample galleries and link to more images. Continue reading “This Old Camera: Konica C35 AF2”
An interesting thing happened recently. After becoming enamored w/ the swift AF of the recently acquired 85mm f/1.8 on the 5 fps continuous focus A7ii I have been hunting for a used 11 fps a6### body to try it out on. Which one was easily decided. The very capable a6500 added IS, but was more than I was willing to spend. I rarely shoot video so a6300s 4K was not necessary. a6000 it is. Having come out so long ago I did not bother or try to find them on sale new, but after mistakenly searching the new collection of a site there it was. And for barely more than a used one in good condition, $499 body only. Only $100 more with a power zoom kit lens with OSS. $799 if you wanted a 55-210mm thrown in. As tempting as that 2 lens bundle was I have learned the hard way to never cheap out on a lens… Unless you like buying lenses that gather dust in the dark recesses of your bag or shelf.
Continued after the break.
Continue reading “New and Old Camera To Me: Sony a6000. And the 20mm f/2.8 too.”
This one was a surprise. A good one.
Friend, co-worker and fellow photographer gave me a box of many things and this Canon FTb, 2 lenses, some flashes and other items I have yet to fully inventory were within. Huzzah! In the words of Ice Cube “It Was A Good Day”.
Took out old decrepit battery, cleaned the contacts, and loaded a good battery and all seems to work as expected. Currently making my way through roll 1 since obtaining it.
Notes and photos of the camera after the jump.
Continue reading “This Old Camera: Gifted free ninety nine Canon FTb”
A sucker for a good kit lens. That would be me. But more on that later.
I have traded a lot of gear since the digital interchangeable lens gear churn started a few years back. Occasionally I have regretted trades and bought gear more than once. Once a brand I bought into twice burned me badly, but with a little fortunate timing their terrible business practices also provided me the trade currency necessary to land a full frame DSLR body that cost way more than I would be willing to pay outright. Funny how trade money can feel like funny money when you do not have to open your wallet.
Back to Alpha.
This time it is a Sony lens that found its way back in to my camera bag. What was wrong with the lens the first time? Absolutely nothing actually. It was traded because I did not fully warm up to the camera it was attached to, the Sony A7. But 2 years is forever in the camera world nowadays and a lot has changed with this mount. What? Glad you asked.
- Sub G. Except for the K-1 I have never acquired an above $1,000 body. Either the new price was sub a grand or I purchased them second hand. But as of recent a second hand A7ii dipped below this threshold at KEH.com and I jumped on it.
- In body IS. Of all the A7ii additions/modifications that addressed the reasons I traded the A7 (better ergonomics, superior materials and such) this is tops. After all the main draw then and now is adapting legacy 35mm glass to a full frame sensor. The Pentax K-1 sold me on this IS/full frame combo and the A7 bests that since it can be adapted to even more lenses owing to it’s mirrorlessness.
- Lenses. This above all else doomed my first go around with Sony. Two years ago I scored an A7 when it’s new price dropped below a G when the A7ii dropped. But after the full frame fog cleared and the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 haze dissipated I swiftly realized that I could not afford Sony’s native AF lenses. “Nifty 50? No, we have a Zeiss 55mm though. Price? Oh. More than you paid for your camera. You like 85mms? Are you sitting down? And all our zooms are priced out of reach even though we do not yet do f/2.8… but when we do you will not be able to afford them either.” But since then a couple of primes have caught my eye. They offer great specs and even better prices.
- FE 50mm f/1.8
- A true nifty 50. Though a bit pricier than alternatives and some disparage it’s AF speeds I am not that worried since I use MF mostly anyway so any AF is about acceptable in my book.
- FE 85mm f/1.8
- Though a few days from release as of this writing on line tests are already touting this as a bargain Batis. And with a sub $600 asking price day 1 ’nuff said for me
There was one exception my first Sony go around. One outlier where bargain price met stellar performance. Especially if you were willing to pick one up second hand. Why was it exceptional? As I read and found out:
- While reasonable new and bundled as a kit lens the used market was littered with examples that were likely spurned kit lenses of those seeking greener slight wide to mild tele pastures. Amazing at $250 or less. (KEH’s current stock as exhibit A)
- I try not to get caught up in specs and I read in a few places that for all the extra cost the optical performance of the humble 28-70mm often held it’s own against it’s pricier step up 24-70mm ball of f/4 constant aperture goodness. The 24-70mm f/4 (new f/2.8 is clearly out of my reach) is better I am sure, but the 28-70mm easily falls in to that will do territory. In fact they both hold the same score of 4.5 on Sony’s own website.
- Surprisingly like the 24-70mm it is “Dust and moisture-resistant design”. Nice touch for a value lens.
- The lens barely extends at all during it’s full zoom sweep. Not internal zoom technically, but as close as you could get.
- Small and light.
- Silent focus.
- Fast focusing, especially in good light as is expected.
- OSS, or Image Stabilization. In their value offering. This combined with the last few bullets let’s you know that high content value Sony lenses were possible.
- Versatile. With it’s humble aperture specs there is no mind blowing bokeh, nor sliver thin depth of field to be found here, but that is it. It can muster acceptable isolation under the right conditions, but is excels at nearly anything else that falls within it’s focal range.
Continue reading “New Lens To Me… again: Sony 28-70mm”