View Full Version : za contax iiia is here! Question:

11-19-2004, 03:27

So i got it finally. It's here in my hands. Looks cool and feels ...heavy! I mean, feels real:D

I have two quick questions already, but the second one will be in another thread since it regards shipping. So here's the first one.

The shutter does not release. It cocks, but does not release - UNLESS i am keeping the winding/cocking knob tensioned and simultaneouslt pressing the release button. Then it releases.
If i cock, and let the wind knob out of my fingers, and I press the sh release button, makes a faint click and i can wind the film again, but the shutter remainbs cocked. Checked on the shutter curtains too.

Does anybody have an idea about how to solve this problem? Is it common? Would it be an easy repair maybe? I checked Rick Oleson's website; the removal of the shutter button and top plate seems to be easy - on the contax iia; dunno if it's the same on the iiia. Only the meter should be the difference...

In the rest, all works fine... even the meter works!!! although described as "dead", it does move if i rotate the scale on the left to the correct region. I guess the owner said "meter dead" since he did not know that it won't work if you don't set it into the good range... Could be inaccurate, still.
Rangefinder is clean and seems to be spot on, sonnar 50/1.5 is coated although no red T on it, a bit dusty but reasonably clean. Focusing with the wheel a bit stiff and by the lens barrel a bit "dry", but useable. Aperture okay.

So...i'm happy so far, hope to solve this shutter button -problem. -Maybe it's related to the film rewind button being stuck in? have to check if it's the case:D


11-19-2004, 03:45
Pherdi good to hear the Contax got its way to you finally.

I've no idea at all how it works with the IIa/IIIa so I'll let this to more knowledgeable people.

However, I had a 'similar' thing happening when I received my black Kiev. Somehow I had to press the shutter again once released or the winding knob won't move. Odd. Dunno if it was due to the rotating release button that maybe was not completely out from the 'lock' position, or if it was related to me 'underwinding' the camera the first times as it felt so different in touch to my 4am and didn't want to overwind it...

This is the charm of classics, there may be non intuitive (for you now) things to do in order to operate them correctly.

Sure somebody will come to the rescue soon, meanwhile, enjoy its looks, you'll have plenty of time to use it ! :)

PS: Also consider the option of sending it to Henry Scherer to a CLA if needed, you already got a very good price for it so it may be worth it !

Brian Sweeney
11-19-2004, 03:59
My Contax IIIa does NOT do this and yours has a problem. At first look, the Contax is not an easy do-it-yourself-repair camera and will probably need professional attention. I would contact the seller immediately; did he indicate that the camera was working perfectly or is he one of those "I can see no problem why this camera will not work" types. From the sounds of the shipping charges, he sounds flaky. I would try to get some money back toward a repair or return it and "eat the cost" as lessons learned. Is the lens a Zeiss-Opton?

11-19-2004, 04:04
I know it is not normal to have this... Actually, once out of 10 maybe, it fires without keeping the wind/cock button tight. The description said, "shutter and rangefinder work".
I would not like to send it back - payed alot for the shipping, better get it serviced. Maybe i can get some back from its price.

The lens is not opton-sonnar. It says simply carl zeiss (no jena either) and it's coated but no red T -marked. Could be one of those early coated lenses where they still did not use the marking.

He also did not leave me a feedback - although i payed him by paypal 2 days after the end of auction. I guess he's waiting for mine... I wonder why, since my payment has no shutter problems :)

11-19-2004, 18:19
I read that the camera made it, congratulations! Any news regarding the shutter problem? I have no insight into that problem except to suggest where to send it for repair -- and we've covered that ground before. I hope that it all works out well for you and that it becomes a camera you enjoy using.

I was out shooting today -- getting the last of two rolls out of my IIa's (processing them as I write, T-Max 400) and I must say that I just love the the precise little "click" each time I release the shutter. You owe it to yourself to have this camera operating properly -- I know that you'll love it once it does!

Here's a shot "my better half" took this afternoon: no, not with a rangefinder around my neck but a five-pound gorilla instead. I carry it around just to make me appreciate the minimal weight of the rangefinders all the more!:D

Good luck with your IIIa; keep us posted as to the prognosis.


11-21-2004, 05:40
Well, friday evening i partially disassembled the contax (read: ALMOST COMPLETELY disassembled).
First it was fairly easy, although lots of little screws but systematically built into modules (lighht meter module, shutter module, rangefinder module, etc). The screws were in good condition and not overly tightened like i had with the yashica rangefinder top plates. However, the shutter release mechanism i couldn't completely open up...

I've found a piece of film (3x3 mm approx.) inside the shutter release mechanism(!!). Dunno how it got there. When i removed it, the shutter happily fired...for 4-5 times, then made the same failure.
When i press the shutter release, it produces a faint click, the curtains move a tiny little bit and nothing else. And, the wind/cock dial moves a bit sideways. Strange...

The shutter of the iiia, as said by henry scherer on his site, is extremely complicated - indeed,lots of switches for the flash sync stuff. So far i could not figure out how to solve the problem :( It was extremely clean in the places where i've reached, with the exception of the piece of film, so i don't think dirt is the problem.

Sending it to Henry will cost me a bunch of money (overhaul + shipping europe-US-europe - over $250 i guess); i hope i can find here somebody able to repair it. Seems it's too tough a job for me.

QUESTION: i mailed the seller about this shutter problem and the shipping-cost issue. She answered yesterday, being sorry ("they fired the shutter a few times and it seemed to work" - so they wrote "shutter and rangefinder work" in the listing). They are willing to offer a 50$ refund (i payed $237 + shipping). Do you guys think that is a reasonable offer? I'm inclined to accept it, although would like more :D...

Sorry to ask again and again but have no experience with this. So far i only bought things that worked well...or at least, easily repairable.

back alley
11-21-2004, 05:46
considering the original cost $50. seems ok.
i too would like more but they did mention their concerns in the ad so any refund is good, i would think.


11-21-2004, 07:53
I agree with Joe. You might fight harder for a little more, but then you might also end up with nothing. This way I assume you both leave the transaction with positive feedback? That's worth something. Sorry to read of your problems.


Brian Sweeney
11-21-2004, 12:08
Take the $50 and run. I have seen the lens get $150 by itself. Have the camera professionally cleaned and repaired. Put the $50 aside for that.

11-21-2004, 14:26
Hi again.

:D I'm happy to report that the second repair attempt was succesful.
I will post some details in the camera repair folder of this forum - for the future.
Hooray! now i'll just have to make a takeup spool, seems easy following Rick Oleson's site. By the way, thanks Rick, your site about the contax iia top plate removal also helped.

Cheers & thanks for the advices, guys. :)

11-21-2004, 14:42
I've a CZJ 50mm f/1.5 that's got both a Chrome Barrel *AND* coating. An odd-ish bird until I found out that lots of those lenses were returned for re-coating, both Zeiss and Leica offering that service.

You done good by that camera. Glad it's working. Consider sending it off to Henry for a Real Cleaning so he can take apart the shutter and make it last forever. And when he cleans your lens, you'll notice the difference.


11-21-2004, 14:52
Oh, my lens is pristine! i blew off some dust, with pressurized air, dust originated from the everready case (which is falling apart...) and now it's beautiful. I see some tiny little air bubbles inside the glass:)