An amazing Contarex set

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Fiddlefye, May 26, 2021.

  1. Late last week my camera tech (who is a Mac guy like me) sent me a pic of a G5 tower he'd been given that he is planning on getting operational again. Coyly and nonchalantly poised on top of the G5 were two "Bullseye" Contarexes. Of course he knows I love the things and would be curious, so I stopped in to see. Apparently someone dropped by with some heirloom Contarex gear to ask him to give everything a going over, appraise it and then sell it.

    What I saw absolutely floored me - there was a rather tatty 1st version with a chrome 50 f2 with a bit of edge separation and then there was... the rest. By that I mean pretty much literally the rest. In a fitted Zeiss Contarex case was a pristine second version "Bullseye", every lens every made for the camera - 21 (with shoe finder), 35, 50, 85, 135 and 250 with bubble cases and matching shades, bellows, bayonet filters, magnifying right angle finder, three cassette backs, "ever-ready" case and a ton of literature. Then there is the Zeiss fitted case, something neither of has so far been able to find in the literature. Everything is working as new as far as we can tell so far, but it will all be going on the bench for test shortly.

    How many complete sets like this exist? How many ever existed?
    _DSC2653.jpg _DSC2654.jpg _DSC2656.jpg _DSC2657.jpg _DSC2658.jpg _DSC2659.jpg
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
  2. Awesome. Amazing it's all intact after all this time.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  3. Incredible! I'd hate to try and put a price on that kit. Just superb.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  4. Beautifully machined devices. A tribute to German engineering.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  5. It belonged to the father of the chap who brought it in. I've had a Contarex fascination for decades and at one time owned a few, but I've never seen so much as an intimation of a set like this before. I'm working really hard to see that it somehow stays together when it sells.
  6. Word on the street is that they're horribly unreliable, yet like every other Contarex I've owned or ever touched they're both working perfectly, even the tatty, shopworn first series one. If all goes well that one is coming home with me as I want one to shoot with. I've owned pristine examples in past (second series "Bullseye", Special, Super and Electronic) and don't need to go down that path again, but really would love to have the joy of shooting with one again. Over the decades I've evolved from "collector" to more "appreciator".
    James Bryant likes this.
  7. I still have one of those Bullseye, just beautiful to see and behold but rather not very reliable mechanically. I only had one lens, the 85/2 Sonnar, which is stunning at taking photos even with slight edge separation.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  8. I keep hearing about how unreliable the Contarex is, but every one of the five that I've owned has worked perfectly and every one I've handled as well. Both of these are functioning perfectly, even the tatty and shopworn example. Maybe I've just been lucky, but the only SLRs of that age that I've owned that have been as good were the Nikons.
  9. German over-engineering, in this case. Yes, they are beautiful.

    "The camera consists of more that 1200 separate parts, and required almost 4000 different operations to assemble. A special quality control system was developed by Zeiss Ikon for the Contarex, delaying the introduction of the camera, but ensuring that faulty copies were "practically impossible":

    Contarex I - - The free camera encyclopedia
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  10. Is it really a joy? Haven’t tried the bullseye but my Contax (pre-Yashica) experiences don’t really fall in the joyful category- except perhaps for some of the results - the lenses are sweet. I’d be curious to try one out and therein may lie an element of joy - of course.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  11. Beautiful. Always wanted a Contarex, particularly the Special. I've had to settle for a Contaflex Super BC.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  12. My German roomie had a Voigtländer, but drooled over the Contarex every time we passed the camera shop window where it was displayed.

    I always thought it was, well, "too German." I was already intrigued with M42-mount cameras from the Workers' Paradise and from Japan.

    But it truly is "awesome":)
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  13. It is perhaps a matter of perspective? I tend to get a kick out of cameras that challenge me a bit. My favourite camera to shoot with of all I've ever owned is my Rolleiflex SL66, if that tells you anything. I don't mind a camera that jolts me out of my worn tracks some. The Contarex isn't difficult, but more on the really different side of the street. I haven't shot with one for a quarter century, but I recall that after some dry-fire practice it all went very smoothly and easily out in the field. Of course I was younger and smarter back then! ;)
    NHSN likes this.
  14. I had a Super B and a Super BC and they were very nice as well, but the Contarex is simply in a completely different league in every sense.

Share This Page