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.”
One of the lenses that Sony has released in the last year that interested me was this lens. (The other being the instant favorite 85mm f/1.8.) Why? It is 50mm. And I am a sucker for a 50mm sub f/2.0 prime lens.
And now Sony was offering one at an unusually affordable price… for Sony. $249. Not quite the bargain that the $599 85mm f/1.8 is, but I beat that price by finding one used for $156. Even better. So I heard a few murmurs about this lens online so let’s address those first.
Continue reading “Good new. Great second hand. Sony FE 50mm f/1.8”
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.”
After keeping to my newly self established load one camera at a time rule I got around to loading the new camera to me, this old camera Nikon FE today.
No secret here. I love analog 35mm SLRs. Perhaps even more than medium format analog, which I also enjoy a great deal. Why?
Continue reading “This Old Camera: Nikon FE (What a beaut)”
There is little greater joy for me than to:
- Save money. Love a good deal.
- Breathe new life in to old gear.
Not the first time I found an affordable macro option. See my frankenmacro blog entry for Sony full frame. I really like macro lenses, but at times they are difficult lenses to justify. Due to their sharpness they do tend to make great lenses for other uses, even portraiture, but owing to their long focus reach they can be a challenge to use with autofocus. Focus limiters do help, but quick focus at normal ranges is not usually their thing and macro shooting still usually favors manual focus.
Fujifilm does not yet have a true factory macro yet since the 60mm does not focus down to 1:1 (cough, not a macro), may not be expensive but is definitely not cheap considering it’s rare distinction of being a relatively unloved Fujifilm lens going on reviews. The Zeiss Touit 50mm native mount option is a well reviewed lens with actual 1:1 macro capabilities, but costs just under a grand and I have a host of excellent lenses around that focal length already. Plus as is usual most recommend using manual focus when shooting macro… So why not get a manual focus lens? Having recently acquired a fantastic Zhongyi adapter that allows native full frame viewing angles with M42 vintge lenses while also adding near a stop of light I zagged to the Takumar 50mm f/4.0 Macro lens. Already familiar with what Takumar lenses can do this was an easy decision. Reminding me of one of my favorite previous macro lenses from Pentax it has a snoot (highly technical I know) that juts out making it’s macro intentions clear.
Continue reading “New Lens to Me: Zag instead of zig. An affordable vintage Takumar 50mm f/4 macro.”