View Full Version : troubleshooting a Contaflex I
I hope you'll forgive, I realize this camera is not a rangefinder, but I'm asking advice from the good people of this forum anyway.
I just recently acquired a Contaflex I, ran a roll of film through it and was quite disappointed when it came back blank. I believe the shutter is working, but I'm no expert. The mirror is filthy, which probably indicates deterioration of something inside. I saw the rewind knob turn at each frame advance, so I'm pretty sure improper loading wasn't the issue. I will probably sacrifice another roll just to make sure.
When I fire the shutter, the mirror does lift, and when the take-up spool is then wound, the shutter opens and the mirror goes back in place.
I don't know what else to look for. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Is it grossly overexposing? Set f/22, fire it looking through the back at 1 second. Is the aperture snapping down instantly to where f/22 should be?
A common problem, and quite involved to fix!
One of the things that can go wrong on an old Contaflex I is that the mirror can start to slow down as the lubrication gums up. It goes up when the shutter button is released, but it goes up too slowly and the exposure is made before it clears the light path. The faster the shutter speed, the worse the problem. If you suspect this, try taking some photos at very long exposure times, even a time exposure of one second or longer. If the slow shutter speeds give you an image but the faster one does not, it could well be a slow mirror.
mmm seems your shutter is gummed or your mirror is not lifting quick enough
A blank roll of film is usually that, are the marks on the sides there?
Anyway, try taking pictures without film or the back of the camera on and see with your eye if any light passes thorugh the lens.
Thank you all for your help. Hmm. Maybe I will try some shots with longer exposure times. I see no light whatsoever with that test, though, titrisol.
A good CLA might do the trick, eh? We shall see.
Yes, a good CLA would do the trick!
With some luck the shutter will not be fully gunked and it shouldn't be a too bad job.
Yes, that would be some luck indeed :)
Now, I have another question for you: I also acquired a Contina IIa (same '50s vintage), which works beautifully, AFAIK. The pix came back from this one looking rather better than I expected. I can't see any possible issues, and it's nice and sharp. My only worry is at about a dozen shots or so there is a fair amount of resistance at each advance, whereas up to that point it's very easy. I only took 14 shots out of 24 because of this. The sprocket holes were fine on the roll I got back- no rips anywhere, so I could be worrying about nothing.
Maybe this is not unusual when halfway through a roll?
For a fifty-something-year-old P & S, I am very impressed. The sounds of the shutter and the winder are lovely.
Yes, the resistance increasea fter shots, but it is just a matter of lack of exercize of the camera.
Fell no fear, unless you hear the sprockets RIPPPPPPING jkust pull hard.
Thank you, titrisol! What a relief. I'll finish the roll this time then.
I still service the Contaflex. It is not a job for the casual repairer, however. Here is the best way to know if your shutter is working: First, set the shutter speed on 1/30 and the aperture on 2.8. With the back off and pointing at a source of light, fire the shutter. You should see a nice round dot of light as the flap lifts up and out of the way. Second (if this worked), set the shutter speed to 1/500 and the aperture to 22. Fire the shutter pointing at a source of light. You should see a faint and quick but tiny round dot of light. If you don't see this, the shutter needs service before the camera can be used. Good luck.
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