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Zeiss Contax Forum for the classic Zeiss Contax I, II, III, IIa, IIIa , G series, and if you want to push it, the nice Contax point and shoots. Some spill over from the Kievs, the Soviet copy of the Contax II/III can also be expected. Plus the ONLY production camera ever made in classic Zeiss Contax Rangefinder mount WITH TTL metering ... the Voigtlander Bessa R2C.

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Old 10-25-2008   #81
Fabrice2
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Cunha are you paid by henry Sherrer?95% of your 6 post are about servicing contax... Are you spamming or are you the famous H.S?

And Zeiss glass, are not the best glass available, we're not in the 60's anymore.I don't use it to have the best lens, but for the results we got with a particular lens may it be a summarit or a sonnar.In my opinion there's no best lens, because photography is an art.

I've sent a contax IIa BD to Eddy, and i'll probably send a IIIa Color dial too, Forgive my anticonformism.
I"ll post a report once the camera is back.
H.S. is specialized, he's popular, great offers and looong demands so he's expensive, and his job is known as great,excellent...
The others repairmen are not incompetents, the majority of them used to perfectly repair contax cameras before H.S came in the business, They deserve respect for their job...
They are humans, they can also make mistakes sometimes.
HS is also a (quite good) businessman so i don't believe everything he says on his site about other repairmens, but that's just me.
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Old 10-25-2008   #82
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I just became interested in these older cameras recently and found H.S's site first. So many posts are regarding how to use folks other than Henry that I just couldnt help but register and reply. The rest has just been lurking about. It seems half this particular forum is posts regarding anyone besides zeisscamera and it just seemed a bit nuts.

Who are the other good repairmen?

Ive heard of Eddy here, obviously Henry, and Steve who seems to have some trouble?

Its nice to keep a list around at least because whoever our favorite repairman may be, he wont be around forever. First post of this thread should be edited with a list and contact info just to make it easy.

Last edited by Cunha : 10-25-2008 at 21:07.
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Old 10-27-2008   #83
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My IIIa was CLAed (no matter what he calls it) by HS and his work was absolutely, positively second rate in my scale (yours may be different).

If you want the best quality period, either you do it yourself or have a trusted, capable friend do it for you.
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Old 10-27-2008   #84
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It isnt really reasonable for me or anyone to buy the tools to accurately calibrate a camera for themselves. If I had the tools and the know how I might as well make my services available.
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Old 11-20-2008   #85
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I just got my contax IIa back from Eddy Smolov, he made a great job, everything is working properly.
I have paid $95 + shipping to France $30.
Thank you Raid for the recommandation, I highly recommand Eddy Smolov too.
You may contact him by mail first at [email protected]
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Old 11-20-2008   #86
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No problem. Eddy is a good man to work with.
I am expecting back from him a Canon 50/1.2L, 85/1.2L, Rolleiflex 85/1.4QMB, Canon T90 ... etc. I hope he will not retire soon.
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Other repairman
Old 09-01-2009   #87
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Other repairman

I have had a II and my IIa CLA by Peter Henning in Sweden (Local Contax/Kiev affinicado), short turn around time and fair handling, work is done, price is decent compared to repairing other brands. A repair log will follow your camera back....

Johan K
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Old 03-05-2010   #88
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I repair Contax camera. Repairing these cameras is time consuming. Much more than any other camera. They are very very fine and complex cameras. I think the first cause of malfunction on these jewels is the lack of knowledge of people who tried to repaired them.
I am really worried about 100 bucks CLA, and people happy to smell light machine oil. I have a friend, retired factory trained Rolleiflex and Leica technician with 40 years experience. We often discuss about the wreck we sometimes receive that were "repaired" in reputable shops or butchered by some rough people.

Knowledge about repairing older cameras is disappearing. A great part of transfering this knowledge to new generation is definitively lost.

Before sending the camera to someone, be sure he knows these cameras.

I have seen contax that were CLA'd just by plunging them in a bath of oil. It is not work. It is robbery.

The only advices I could give if you intend to do it yourself :

-PLEASE buy the factory repair manual first, read it several time.

-PLEASE try to understand the whole mechanism and how it works before dissassembling the camera or it will be a disaster.

-PLEASE spend hours in making the correct tools rather than using unapted pliers.

I am not saying this to prevent people from sending their Contax were it is cheap. I don't care. I have repaired cameras that went through 2 or 3 technician before they came to me. Deficient work from others helps me for a living, and this is great.
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Old 05-27-2011   #89
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I recently purchased a Contax IIa, it hadn't been used in over 40 years. It had the usual issues from old lubricants: a sticking shutter at low speeds and squeaky lens mount that needed attention. I read this thread with great interest, as service was required if I was going to be able to use this camera.

While I liked the idea of this Henry S, I was not down for a long wait. I researched Eddy Smolov and found he recently retired. Eddy recommended his customers send their cameras to Jerry Sorin of Bronx, NY. I sent my Contax to Jerry. His turn around was fast. When I got it back the shutter speeds all worked fine, though I was still a little disappointed with the focusing effort. I don't begrudge him that. He is working on 60 yr old piece of used consumer camera gear, I can't expect it to be new. Bringing the focus issue to his attention, Jerry apologized and said send it right back, which I did, and the camera came back to me today. It works great.

I am very happy with his work and the quick turn-around. Price was inexpensive. I'm sure Jerry didn't spend the time on it that HS does in his workshop, but Jerry was very easy to communicate with, responds to emails fast, and got me a nice looking and working camera back quickly (the very reasonable cost was a happy bonus).

[email protected]

I recommend him.
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Old 05-27-2011   #90
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Head bartender does a pretty good job.
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Old 03-10-2013   #91
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No sure anyone will be interested on this. I have many, i.e. over 30, fully restored & CLA Contax IIIa and would like to sell most of them. Guarantee shutter and viewfinder performance except the meter. I will provide the shutter strings photo record for each IIIa. All of them are in good cosmetic condition as well.

Let me know if you guys are interest and I will post them in the classifieds, thanks!
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Old 08-30-2013   #92
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This is an old, dormant thread. But I thought I might as well ask anyways...

I have a beautiful Contax IIa color-dial that I bought here on RFF about 3-4 years ago. I absolutely love that camera.

Earlier this year, I noticed that the camera started to malfunction.

These were the "symptoms":

1. I'd press the shutter button. I would hear the "clack" of the shutter, and turn the winding knob. Everything's good so far.

2. The winding knob would stop at its resistance point (as normal).

3. I'd prepare to take another photo. I'd press the shutter release button -- but no resistance was felt. No shutter "clack". Nothing.

So I'd wind the film winding knob again. The winding knob would stop at its normal stopping point. And I'd try to take a photo. Nothing. Same thing as before.

The maddening thing is that this problem appears to be intermittent. Shooting a roll of 36, I ended up with massive spaces in the negatives where I was forced to wind the film AGAIN and AGAIN, hoping that finally the proper mechanisms would finally lock into place.

MY QUESTIONS IS THIS:

Can anybody recommend a place where I can get a repair / CLA done on this camera? I was on Henry S.'s list a long time ago, but I think I got overlooked and he never invited me to send my camera in.

I'm located in Canada, so a Canadian repair shop would be ideal. But I can ship to USA without too much hassle.

Can anybody recommend a reputable repair shop in N. America? I'm concerned that this beautiful camera will just end up being a shelf queen, and that would be a shame.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-30-2013   #93
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(...)
3. I'd prepare to take another photo. I'd press the shutter release button -- but no resistance was felt. No shutter "clack". Nothing.

So I'd wind the film winding knob again. The winding knob would stop at its normal stopping point. And I'd try to take a photo. Nothing. Same thing as before.

The maddening thing is that this problem appears to be intermittent. Shooting a roll of 36, I ended up with massive spaces in the negatives where I was forced to wind the film AGAIN and AGAIN, hoping that finally the proper mechanisms would finally lock into place.
This is the typical problem of the "color dial" postwar Contaxes.

Because of the very complex design due to the late introduction of a X-sync within the upper shutter release mechanism (and which was very questionable), the shutter release now relies on a very strange friction mechanism involving some brass coils sliding one on another and the least bit of grime or oxydization there will produce what you're describing.

This is often something which is very tricky to fix. Most of times a good overhaul of the camera will solve the problem for a while but chances that it comes back eventually are high.

And to get access to the defective parts, the camera must be taken apart entirely.

As for having the camera serviced : you should get in touch with Mike Elek, registered here as "ZeissFan".
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Old 08-31-2013   #94
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The Rollei guy out in Portland, Mark Hansen, repairs these cameras. I recently communicated with him and he says there is a 3 month wait. The guy with the big website in Ca has a 3 year wait. Too bad Essex is no more.
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Old 08-31-2013   #95
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Highway 61 + steveyork:

Thanks to you both for supplying your info and feedback about this issue.I'm going to see if Mark Hansen in Portland might take a shot at it. Or perhaps Mike Elek here on RFF.

Regards,
Robert
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Old 09-10-2013   #96
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basically no one repair Contax RF except waiting for 3 years?
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Old 09-10-2013   #97
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I sent my Contax II to Oleg, the shutter ribbons were shot, and the viewfinder/rangefinder was hazy. The cost was about $100, and I had the camera back after a month or so. He did a fantastic job on the camera, and it operated flawlessly after I got it back. With the prices for Contax cameras being as low as they are, I can't consider paying a lot of money, or waiting years for a repair.
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Old 09-11-2013   #98
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basically no one repair Contax RF except waiting for 3 years?
As Frontman said you have Oleg for the prewar cameras ; chances that your Contax will then come back with Kiev parts inside are high but as soon as it works great and is clean outside this is not a shame whatsoever, I myself installed a perfect Kiev VF/RF beamsplitter prism in my mint 1938 Contax II because the original one was dead and not repairable (total balsam separation). So...

For the postwar cameras the problem is that they seldom need new parts to be installed inside ; they all rather need a total teardown and a careful cleaning of all components before reassembly ; this is heavily time consuming even for a pro repairman ; and onwards from then, the camera must be checked and checked again so that it can be considered working and reliable. Those mechanics are extremely cantankerous and it's not rare to have some working fine for a short time after a good overhaul then not working again, especially at high speeds, and the reasons for that are within their inner design.

So for a repairer making his living off working on many cameras sent by customers this can be everything but interesting and many of them now feel reluctant to tackle the postwar Contax toys, hence the freeway for that guy in California having dropped a large quantity of this and that about these cameras on the Internet to make people think he was the only one really able to understand how they work, and to service them properly.

Now in 2013 the reasonable solution resides in the DIY mastering (which doesn't require that you're a former NASA tech guy) ; if you don't feel the guts for this, buy an old Leica or an old Nikon rangefinder, which will provide you as much of photographying joy.
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Old 09-11-2013   #99
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Now in 2013 the reasonable solution resides in the DIY mastering (which doesn't require that you're a former NASA tech guy) ; if you don't feel the guts for this, buy an old Leica or an old Nikon rangefinder, which will provide you as much of photographying joy.
Any service manual available for DIY? especially for shutter CLA?
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Old 09-11-2013   #100
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Any service manual available for DIY? especially for shutter CLA?
Yes it is readily available as a PDF file on eBay.
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Old 11-04-2013   #101
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Sorry if I ask the same question asked some time ago, but I'm looking for a selenium cell for my IIIA...I heard that the company which made them in the UK is now out of business, Henry from vintage Contax doesn't (legitemely) want to sell them separately from the total CLA (that might take three years) so I don't where to look...
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Old 11-08-2013   #102
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Hello,

I've heard that a Swiss repairman, Mr. Claudio Fabio, located not far from Zürich could be able to susbstitute exhausted selenium cells.

You could try to contact him and ask if he could do that on your Contax-IIIa.

Best wishes,

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Old 03-11-2015   #103
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It seems all the repairman who can want to touch/repair CONTAX are all gone except HS. We do not have any options, right?
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Old 03-12-2015   #104
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It seems all the repairman who can want to touch/repair CONTAX are all gone except HS. We do not have any options, right?
Oleg at http://okvintagecamera.com/repair.html still shows Contax II and Contax III repairs. I don't know if that includes the IIa or IIIa. Do a search of RFF for comments on this work.
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Old 03-12-2015   #105
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Mark Hanson will service Contax IIA and IIIA cameras.

http://www.zeissikonrolleirepair.com/index.html

He calls them the finest cameras ever made on this page..

http://www.zeissikonrolleirepair.com/page04.html
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Old 03-15-2015   #106
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I have purchased a Contax IIIa which while it is in usable condition, could really use a CLA.

Now, I understand that Harry Sherer is considered the cream of the crop in terms of Contax technicians, but his waiting list is measured in years and that's a little longer than I would like to wait. (I may put this camera on the waiting list and have it CLA'd elsewhere in the interim - who knows.)

Does anyone have any experience having older Contax repaired/serviced in the US? Someone mentioned to me that CameraQuest or Essex may do it - other recommendations?
Don't automatically discount Henry Sherer because of his legendary waiting list. Sometimes he gets cancellations at the last moment. I've got two Contax II's overhauled by him and they are wonderful machines and still very viable thanks to him. My first one just happened to get right to his repair desk because I happened to contact him when he had a last minute cancellation.

Before my photography and journalism career took off, I used skills the Navy taught me in camera repair to overhaul Nikon F's and F2's for a Washington D.C. Camera Repairman. I still work on some cameras myself. But as Henry will tell you, the Contax Shutter is as different from anything else as the the Mazda Wankel Rotary Engine was from your standard piston driven variety.

I would never attempt a Contax shutter without a lot more training. They are just that different.

His words -- this shutter is a marvel of engineering -- yet it's a dead offshoot of the collective camera shutter DNA chain.

Reach out to him and ask -- it can't hurt. The fact he'll warranty these cameras for a YEAR after the overhaul is unlike anything.

When he overhauled my #2 body, he wrote me an email telling me this body was "Jena Contax" and explained it to me what that meant and that I should insure it for at least $2000. And sent me documentation to that effect.

I'm not sure if the IIIa's shutter is similar, but I'd ask him -- he gives me an education every time I send him an email.
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Old 05-07-2015   #107
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Essex is out of business. KEH repair is hit and miss; they contract many shoes repairman to fix camera. Their repair is third rated.

I am not sure HS is still working on CONTAX, his waiting list move to nowhere since 2013. It seems he does 1 or less camera per month, so the waiting list is about more than 30 years if you at the bottom of the list.
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Contax technician in Australia
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #110
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Contax technician in Australia

Hello, new in this forum

Could anyone recommend Contax technician/specialist in Australia? Any suggestion in Asia region will also helpful. My Contax IIa works quite well but may need CLA considering the failure of shutter curtain to close properly at speed lower than 1/500.

Cheers,
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