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Good morning 🙂

On occasion of searching stuff about old Contax rangefinder cameras I found this forum and I thought it might be a good idea to answer a question about that very special camera. I suppose it's the custom in here to introduce myself. Sorry that I didn't do it first. And excuse me please, my English is not very good.

I'm from Germany and started film photography in early 80s. I took a break from 2007 on because I was completely frustrated about the quality of my pictures. Some years ago I have started once again.

I suppose because I looked at my old slides and did feel the characteristical charm of these pictures. Maybe I had seen too many of those "perfect" digital pictures - I was totally satiated.

Up to know I like to take architectural and landscape pictures. Available light also, but this is difficult today regarding today's slide films. Portraits are nice but difficult, Street even more difficult. In the 80s and 90s I loved to take pictures on jazz concerts. This one was taken on a concert of Freddie Hubbard with McCoy Tyner Trio in 1986 in West Germany, the bassman Avery Sharpe:

Avery_Sharpe_1986.jpeg.6740ae3021a46c053ab8aef21cbf9bfe.jpeg

(Ilford HP5, ISO3200, Microphen 16 min; Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f2.8, wide open, no filter, Contax RTS II.)

Since mid-80s already I have been mostly using slide films, colour and black-and-white. Since early 90s only slides.

My favourite colour film up to 2007 was the one and only Kodachrome 25 😍 :

Fischelner_Bruch_30-10-1984.thumb.jpg.76d8593624dbd4863ce5bfffc9252201.jpg

(Sorry that it's blurred - Kodachrome 25, Zeiss Planar 50mm f1.4, wide open, 1/8 sec, Contax RTS II.)

I was also very fond of Ektachrome 400 HC. Once tried Ektachrome 800/P1600 with good results on ISO1600. For black-and-white I always loved Agfa Scala.

Today I'm trying Ektachrome 100 for landscapes and Fujichrome Velvia 50 for architecture and on cloudy days. Got some old Ektachrome 64T and 800/P1600 second-hand but I haven't checked them out yet.

For black-and-white I use Fomapan 100R. I develop them using a procedure that I've found on the web and that works well.

That procedure is also capable to develop slides from Rollei Infrared film: my first results were really interesting.

Digital photography never interested me so much. I do have a Sony A7 with adapters for all my old lenses and it's nice to use it, but I use it rarely.

As for my cameras, I always loved pro stuff of any kind. In early 80s I started out with two 1954 and 1957 Exakta Varex: I still love their versatility and rock-solid feel. Since early 90s my main cameras are Contax RTS II which are extremely comfortable: I like their bright viewfinder, their digital viewfinder displays and very fast shutter release switch. Their Zeiss lenses (mostly primes) are nice to handle with.

I had been always in love with the Canon New F-1: for its body feels solid like a tank. So I finally got three of them some years ago. I love to use them in rain, cold weather, snow etc. It's a pity that their nFD and even breach lock FD lenses are less solid and smooth than the Zeiss C/Y.

Two years ago or so I discovered the old Contax RF cameras from 30s and 50s as a beautiful gear when I travel and cannot carry around a lot of stuff. Even two Contax bodies and four lenses are lightweight and absolutely versatile. Especially I like the fast 85mm f2 lens from 1946 or 47 and the 135mm f4, a bit younger. This was during a journey to Dresden, Germany, at the railway station:

Sonnar50mm.thumb.jpg.8056395c95a32d4a6301ea2c7890df5a.jpg

(Fomapan 100R, Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f2.0, Contax IIa)

Thank you for reading & looking 🙂

Michael

Edited by ExaktaVarexIIa1957
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  • 2 weeks later...

Kodachrome 12 was a great film. It is not a film you can prosses yourself. You need two light printers. Professional photographers loved it and used it most often.  I worked for a lab that processed Kodachome in the 1960.  I was the one that ran many of the machines. We had 8 machines for Kodacrome. OK. This is why some of the film was not up to standard. It was the prosses. Kodacrome was not easy to prosses. Get the chemicals, Cyan, magenta. yellow correct. Time in the blue, red printers.  We ran test strips. The lab would read the test strips and we would prosses.  Many times, not good but good enough for the public.  Professional film had to wait until the chemicals were correct. They always had the best run. So many times, it was the lab. Not you or the film. If we made a mistake we would prosses a new roll and tell you there was no photo's on the roll.  It was better than saying we ruined your roll of film.    Many stories of the film business.  Grant 

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