And now for something completely different

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by JDMvW, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. paradigm-changing cameras

    Carl Zeiss (Dresden)
    Contax S 1949
    the 'prototype' of eye-level pentaprism SLRs & its progeny
  2. Just superb... A great collection, JDM.
  3. Excellent collection. The earliest ad I can find for the Contax S was in an issue of US Camera magazine March 1950.

    US Camera 3-30 1 sm 2.jpg
    Ranssu1 and Mike Gammill like this.
  4. Four Hundred and Seventy Five 1950 dollars!!!! WOW!
  5. Pentacon/Contax inconsistent pricing was one of the reasons, I think. that many early adopters dropped it. When you'd paid $400 for it, and then someone else got it for $200, you were not a happy camper.
  6. That explains why my dad never bought one. He told me once that he had to save for many months to buy the Voiglander Vitessa L (bought in 1955). At the time he was a Linotype operator at the local newspaper.
    No doubt he probably wanted one though.
  7. With the exception of the Pentacon FB (the one with the built-on light meter), I have always thought that this was one of the really aesthetically pleasing cameras.

    I'm not altogether sure how I ended up with so many of them, however.:rolleyes:
  8. Photo Pimp......
    mjferron likes this.
  9. I beg to differ!

    I am more of a Photo Panderer!

    "What do camera vendors buy that is half so precious as what they sell?"
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
    Moving On likes this.
  10. More cameras, obviously.....
  11. :) Its like the people who buy "junk" but only sell "antiques".:)
  12. I like the description of the "lifelike upright image".

    I do remember using a TLR, with the image left-right reversed, but otherwise upright.

    Did anyone ever make a TLR with the appropriate image correcting mirror?

    Also, the little mirror viewfinders on many old folding cameras reverse left and right,
    and you just got used to it.
  13. Some TLR had optional porro prism attachments to accomplish correct images. My dad had one for his Mamiya C33, but even with the 80mm f2.8 the image was somewhat dim. Rollei probably offered something similar, but I'm not sure about the other makes of TLR.
  14. I got a Hexacon with 50mm 2.8 Tessar in New York City in 1955. I recall two useful features. 1) Lens could be reversed and held against the lens mount with no light leaks to get very close up; 2) Angled shutter release very smooth so could flop mirror up first and then release shutter, thereby allowing for very slow handheld speeds.
  15. I was thinking of the mirror combination such that you would look down on the ground glass, but see the right image.

    I think it works with two mirrors with a 90 degree angle between them,
    though if it does work, I don't know why it wouldn't have been more common.
  16. I have three JD.. you had circa 7 if I counted correctly. I just saw one reduced in price, but cosmetically very nice. I am a very sick person.. When I like stuff I can't resist. I have too many of everything. I digress, But back to the Contax S. Thanks for the english language advertisement I wonder who was behind Ercona in NY. Did they also represent the West? Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree that it is aesthetically pleasing.. it's actually kind of small. I wish they had a better placement for the shutter release, but the camera's overall design only nominally suffers in this regard IMHO. This was the debut and ground zero for the 42mm mount. They would build this model up through the late sixties. I think the shutter design is excellent. It rarely needs work. With the addition of the diaphragm pin actuator and the semi automatic lenses, this was probably the apex of this design. I have often wondered why they didn't design themselves out of this problem and create the mother of all SLR designs. I guess the baton was passed to Japan and thee the Nikon F became the corner stone of SLR design instead of the Contax. Apparently the Pentax K design was the logical successor to this noble steed? The Achilles heel is the shutter curtain material. I will one day replace these, but I fear my "skills" are not up to par. Although my Exakta also has wrinkled curtains... they don't suffer the deterioration ie pin holes that these curtains inevitably receive.
    I have periodically shot with my Pentacons.. and the pin holes added a interesting dimension.... but I tried to patch the Pentacon FM this summer ..too little too late I guess. I do like the Tessar of this immediate postwar and how it renders... recommended for any M42 user!


    James Bryant likes this.

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