Reliable Contax platform

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by emmanuel_b|1, May 14, 2011.

  1. Hi there,
    I am very disappointed by the Contax AX I bought some months agao.
    I spent money for nothing as it doesn't work.
    I nevertheless own some zeiss lenses and I am looking for a good platform for use them.
    What Contax body is the best for me?
    I need a rough body, preferably supporting AE/MM lenses (meaning program mode), no autofocus, TTL flash mode if possible, and excelent reliability.
    I am thinking about aria (but film transport problem) or 167MT.
    What do you think?
  2. You should look into Contax mount lens to Nikon or Canon body adapters.
  3. I owna EOS 100 body; I know ring adaptor exist but does it allow program mode?
  4. My Contax/Yashica mount to Canon EOS adapters are all for stop-down metering in either Av mode or M.
    For reasons not in my knowledge base, efforts to shoot P (program) mode often produce overexposure.
    Of course, focus with the lens open (focus-confirmation chips are both generally useless and sometimes dangerous to your camera), and then stop-down for automatic exposure in Av mode.
    A Contax 139 is a good, inexpensive option for using C/Y lenses, although it will almost certainly require both new light seals and will always need replacement of its 'leatherette'.
  5. A second vote for the Contax 139. You can get replacement covering and install it yourself or you might find one that has had its covering replaced. Another alternative: consider one of the Y/C mount Yashicas as they will take the same lenses as Contax and will be less expensive.
  6. My preference is for mechanical SLR's. The battery only operates the meter, should the battery fail, you can keep on shooting. You might consider a camera that accepts your existing lenses or go the adapter route for digital use as posted above.
  7. Here is what I use my Contax lenses with. The Yashica FX-3 Super 2000 doesn't have the build quality of earlier manual focus Yashicas, but it does have manual match diode exposure for which the battery is only needed for the meter. Top shutter speed is 1/2000 second and X-sync is at 1/125 second. With the 45mm Tessar it will fit in a jacket pocket.
  8. The electronics on the Contax models is hard to support after so many years. The degree of "auto" varied with the lenses and the cameras. To get MM support you will need later Contax cameras that are likely prone to failure. I'd recommend the the 167MT and the the RX. The AX was the only one with "autofocus" so you can forget this option on earlier models. The Zeiss glass is great any of the many lesser models (Yashica /Kyocera) will physically mount them The FX3 and the FX2 only have electronic match metering so they are sure bets to be able to use the lenses in manual. The FXD needs a battery to work at all as do most Contax bodies with the exception of the two Contax S models.
  9. The Aria is a very small camera and may not balance well with your lenses. I have the 167MT with the battery pack (it seems everywhere I look there's 167MTs for sale) and works nice; the 167MT supports MM lenses. I just received an RX that I like better, though they seem to be going for perhaps 3x more money than the 167.
  10. vdp


    I have both the Contax RX and the Aria. The RX is very sturdy and well worth a try.
  11. For a later model, the RX is probably best.
    Of the earlier models, the 139 is very robust and handy to use. I've had probably 15 to 20 of them come in the door, some having had very rough handling. They typically need new covering, light seals, and a service of the mirror damper flywheel (much easier than on a Canon).
    The FX Yashicas are reliable, but have a lot of mirror slap and undamped mechanical momentum compared to a Contax.
    The FR Yashicas are the best of the Yashicas.
    Good Luck!
  12. Try a Contax 137MA I have one and they are brilliant, had to replace the leather and light seals but apart from that works a treat and the CZ 1.7 lens is outstanding.. heavy camera though with its 4 AA Batteries in the base.
  13. I had a 137 and I sold it just after receiving the AX.
    I now have to buy another body as my AX seems dead.
    It seems 167 is a good choice for the price.
  14. A Contax 139 is a good, inexpensive option for using C/Y lenses, although it will almost certainly require both new light seals and will always need replacement of its 'leatherette'.​
    Fully endorse this choice. Light seals and recovering are any easy DIY job. This the most basic of the SLR Contax of this era, and is the least prone to failure of its electronics. It will function in aperture priority mode and does have TTL flash capability with a Contax flash units. It is small, sturdy but light weight. Best of all they can be bought at auction for very little cash, especially when the covering has peeled and they look so uninspiring. I've had mine for 14 years and it wasn't new when I bought it. Wouldn't part with it for anything.

Share This Page