View Full Version : Who is Henry? Repairs needed for Contax IIIa
Greetings. I am new here. I found out about the site through Stephen at CameraQuest.
I have been shooting with my Grandfathers Contax IIIa for many many years. It is my favorite camera and what inspires me to get out and shoot. But, I have a problem. Recently I was out shooting and my camera strap fell off. The little outer rings on the camera body were worn through from constant use. Needless to say I am very sad because I can't use my camera. I called Nippon in NYC and he said he couldn't do anything for me. I ordered a Voigtlander body so I could still use my Zeiss 50mm lens. I still want to fix my Contax IIIa. I see there are references to a "Henry" on the site regarding repairs.
Who is Henry, and can he help me? Or does anyone know of a case that would possibly fit my Contax IIIa so I can still take it out to shoot (the old leather one is worn out too)? The camera has a great deal of sentimental value, so I am hesitant to mail it out at this point, so NYC metro area would be ideal...
Hi Amy, Henry is a Zeiss/Contax repair specialist. He is very good, not cheap, but can get your camera back to as close to new condition as it can be.
My opinion is that his services are worth the cost as you have a 50 year old camera and it is bound to have a couple issues. I would suggest you send him an email specificly about your camera and he will tell you what can and can't be done to help it. If you choose to have him service the camera he has quite a waiting list. But, you can reserve a place in line and send your camera when the time comes.
By last count there are 5 of us members who are on Henry's current waiting list. Have a look at his site, there is quite a bit of detailed information there.
I understand your reluctance to send the camera out but it is of a unique design and there are not many experts that will work on them. They were very expensive when new, like $4000-5000 today, so they were a professional camera.
Was the camera damaged when it fell?
Leather can be replaced, but generally not the back piece unless you don't care about the Zeiss Ikon logo, in which case you need an original replacement.
Replacing the eyelets would not be a bear of a job, if suitable replacements could be located. I have to check my Contax and some other Zeiss cameras I have, but I wouldn't be surprised if those eyelets are identical to those used on other cameras.
A friend of mine as well as myself also work on these in our free time. He put together a fabulous website on his Contax IIIA here - http://nicolas.douez.free.fr/classic_cameras1.htm Should give you an idea of what the camera could be in for!
Henry Scherer - www.zeisscamera.com is popular with some folks here.
The strap eyelets can be replaced. There are several of us who can handle this, and you will actually get your camera back this month, not next year. There is a waiting list, although I guess this applies to the getting the "full Henry" and not a repair.
I know that I have some extra parts and might even have some eyelets you can have for free (!). These were similar to the eyelets used on other Zeiss Ikon cameras. I'm not sure if they're identical, but I can check. Feel free to drop me or Mike or Nicolas a note. One of us probably can do the work for you with a quick turnaround.
Wow wow and wow! Thanks guys. As far as I can tell its just the eyelets I need. The camera never hit the ground. I caught it just in time. If you can do the repair, can you email me at email@example.com?
I gave this some thought and I realized that it is a bit of a job to get those eyelets replaced. If you look at the attached photo, you'll note you can only access them if you pull the lensmount and separate the shutter module from the body.
So its definitely a big job! Attached is my Contax IIA (same without meter). You can clearly see the lugs on the main body casting. If I recall, they simply screw in, once you get the camera stripped this far. Its only a little more work to overhaul the shutter, self timer, rangefinder and internal lens mount.
What I wonder too Zeissfan, is whether the Contessa lugs are the same? I know I have some of these from your parts body.
Of course, the final result is worth it :)
If the fine gentlemen on this forum can't help your IIIa, I would recommend Wolf Umbach of Z-V Service. Wolf was an official Zeiss Ikon-Voigtlander repairman back in the day (hence the name of his service) & works out of North Carolina. He's semi-retired, but last I heard (spoke to him a few months ago re: a Contarex) is still working.
P.O. Box 754
1410 Seafarer Dr.
Oriental, NC 28571
Phone is 252-249-2576. Email is umbach[at]cconnect.net or wolwalu[at]pinelink.com (can't remember which 1 is active).
Of course a simple solution is to get an ever-ready case for the Contax. I use a case for a Nikon S2 with mine; trimmed the leather slightly and moved the tripod screw into place. The bottom portion of the case takes the strap, so the strap lugs on the camera are not used. I put a new strap on the S2 case, cut the original off of it. You can also find a Contax case, but I picked up the S2 case for $5.
Amy, i have an original leather everready case for contax iia/iiia. Got it with my IIIa but the camera got stolen, so i ended up with the case. It's in quite used state, lots of scuff inside and outside; would need a re-stitching on the bottom, i.e. re-sewing but the holes are there so it's easy to do (and the camera won't fall out from it as it is now!). Also, i would rip the front/top part off and use only the back/bottom. In short, it's ugly but functional.
If you intend to follow Brian's suggestion, you can have it for free, plus shipping costs.
If you live in NYC, I can recommend a couple of repair shops worth checking into -
Berry Camera Repair
844 6th Avenue at 29th Street, 7th floor
There is also a repair shop on 13th street, just east of 4th Avenue, on the south side of the street. I can't remember their name at the moment. I have used both of these shops and they do fine work. They know the classics. I don't think the replacement of your camera strap lugs would be too difficult for them.
Hi Mike, I always think that although there is disassembly involved, it's not that difficult. The IIa (compared with the prewar Contax II) is a very simple camera to disassemble and service. I've been able to completely tear down a IIIa in 15 minutes without rushing the job, and I know this because I timed myself -- I was curious. And I didn't have any spare parts after I reassembled, which of course is always important.
15 min is pretty impressive to pull the shutter. I would lose the mount shims and mar the screwheads if I went that fast!
Top plate only - 15 min is reasonable, but the soft screws in the accessory shoe always worry me. I can't remember if there are holes to access the lug retaining screws but some Zeiss cameras have this.
In any case, Amy need not worry because many options are presenting themself. I don't know those two NY shops by I have heard of Umbach, a noted Contaflex expert.
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