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

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.”

This Old Camera: Konica C35 AF2

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.

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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._DSC4335Which 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”

New and Old Camera To Me: Sony a6000. And the 20mm f/2.8 too.

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 Old Camera: Gifted free ninety nine Canon FTb

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”.

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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”