View Full Version : contax iiia + sonnar 50./1.5, first results

12-07-2004, 11:14
In short:
Negs are consistently well-exposed, DIY shutter repair+cleaning seems to have been succesful.
No light leaks or anything.
Prints (delta3200) have an overall softness, even stopped down to f/4. RF is well-aligned with the distance scale; however I can't see anything really sharp on the prints. Grain seems to be sharp though. I will have to check the negs themselves - PITA, coz i have no film scanner:(...
Seems that handholding down to 1/25 s is still fine. Motion blur-type unsharpness is nowhere, not on one frame.
I had serious problems with framing, in at least 30% of the cases. Disregarded the parallax error ("3m should be enuff") and composed a little too tight. Should get better with some practicing:)

Overall, i'm quite happy with the contax. I feel i really stretched its powers by using delta3200 in a dark bar as test-roll...

Not related to the camera: Grain is very large. The prints are, again, printed with a way too high contrast. One lab does it too low, another one too high. I talked to them but did not help. Dammit. Strangely, with d3200 in 6x6 format they printed very good...

I attach one pic here; more of them you can see in my gallery:
Any comments on the above or the pics themselves are more than welcome ;)

12-07-2004, 12:20
Good work. Makes me all the more itchy to get my III back from Henry :D


Nikon Bob
12-07-2004, 12:58
The Delta 3200 seems to suit the atmosphere of the bar very well. Sure makes me want to send in my Contax II for an overhaul to get it working. Nice to see what a real classic can do. Hope you enjoy it.

12-07-2004, 14:52
Pherdi, I really like the mood on those shots, well done ! As for the sharpness, get some iso 100 slide or b/w film, a tripod and a brick wall or something else you like, it could make a world of difference :)

12-07-2004, 15:34
Pherdi, I enjoyed the series. For those of us addicted to our metered cameras, how did you determine the exposure? Did you just meter an average area and let everything else fall where it did or did you try to measure more specifically for the highlights (ie. the musicians under the lights)?

back alley
12-07-2004, 15:42
nice stuff pherdinand!

rover, think back to star wars ' trust the force '


12-07-2004, 15:49
that is exactly what i was thinking joe, and what I have done. it is kind of liberating to just guess, and shoot, i just want to learn more so that i can guess better.

back alley
12-07-2004, 15:59
me too rover!

i am amazed at how the marketing departing has taken over so much of the camera world.
i used to think i need the latest matrixed, multi logorithimed, segmented, multi patterned meter to make the best possible shots and now i find out it's all horse poop!!
at least with b&w negative film.
my little pilot does a fine job outdoors and indoors i mostly guess now, after a few readings.

it's like that with lenses for me now too.
i can't be bothered to argue about which is 'better', sharper, has better bokeh. i choose not to care.
i'm happy with sharp enough. my favourite pic to date was taken with a russian 50, go figure!

Nikon Bob
12-07-2004, 21:35

I'll second what you said. Nicely put.


12-08-2004, 02:13
Thanks, guys:) you are way too supportive, i actually could have done way better with these pics.

Rover, i metered when i arrived with my little cheap capital D-1 meter. Reflected metering; figured the ratio between the black areas and the bright ones in the field of view and apparently, the calculated 1 stop underexposure was just right. The good thing, the lights in the club are always the same, so you have to meter only once. For the public in the dark, i adjusted 2 stops more. Also, i still remembered the settings from my last time there (with a TLR) and it turned out the same. Really, when you meter these scenes a few times, you get used with them very fast and can guess quite well. It mostly ends up in the EV4-5 to max 6 range for the spotlit performers and 2 to 4 stops lower for the public, depending on the lights and the background (far/close, bright/dark).

12-08-2004, 03:02
Thanks for the tip, and again, I enjoyed the picture.

I find shots like these very interesting because they invite the viewer into the shooter's life for a little while and we get to see how alike we all are. Doug has a long series of shots he has taken of folks he encounters going about his every day activities that I have enjoyed too.

So you think you could have done better? My only technique recommendation would be to shoot a lot early in the evening before you are effected by anything you may be drinking. That of course could lead to a different series though.

12-08-2004, 03:16
:) that's a neat advice, from technical point of view i agree. However, after two beers you get more free in your head and start experimenting which can turn out quite well; also, you have more courage to shoot whatever you want, like, the public too. The trick is, you should not exaggerate with those liquids.

12-08-2004, 03:25
The same is true when playing darts. Your motion becomes much more accurate and fluid after a little... um... fluid, but sloppy after too much.

12-08-2004, 19:45
Good 1st effort w/the Contax, particularly given the difficult shooting conditions. BTW, I will give my standard advice to "available dark" shooters: try Fuji's Neopan 1600, IMHO the best film for shooting in the dark!

12-09-2004, 02:04
Neopan is nice, but my problem with it is, the guys at the lab overdevelop the 1600-version to a degree of unusable high contrast.

12-09-2004, 02:15
Pherdi, I can see Diafine in your future... soon!


12-09-2004, 02:26

It seemed like you were asking for comments about the focus of your Sonnar; I had to say that mine is sharp, particularly stopped down, though wide open on a Kiev body it's fine as well. Focus is close to where I remember putting it, and the only doubt I have of the lens is that it needs a cleaning, but not about it's sharpness.

Have you thought of sending the lens and camera to Henry for a lens cleaning and focus check/alignment?

Nice picture, by the way, and betcha that Diafine will be in your future. I'm trying to get a local store to order me a box, I've heard such wonderful things about it.

12-09-2004, 03:22
I did think about Henry but there's no budget for that, at this moment. Still will try some slow film in the COntax to check if there's any problem with the focus alignment of camera or body.
I don't really like testing on brick walls and other boring subjects but i will try to do it this time:) and do it in a well-lit easy-to-focus, trpiod and stuff environment, of course.

12-09-2004, 03:53
Remember also that a brick test is not always strictly a brick test ;)


12-09-2004, 03:56
Originally posted by taffer
Remember also that a brick test is not always strictly a brick test ;)

:) True.

12-09-2004, 04:32
Very nice shot! Can you tell us a little about the musician/band?

12-09-2004, 04:50
L, it is a trio (sax+klarinet/percussion/keyboards) playing jazz based on Klezmer (jewish) music. It was a very very good concert, within a 3-day jewish music festival.

12-09-2004, 07:46
That's too bad, NP 1600 is an inherently high-contrast film (1 of the reasons why it's perfect for night photography), but it shouldn't be too hard for a good lab to process.

Originally posted by Pherdinand
Neopan is nice, but my problem with it is, the guys at the lab overdevelop the 1600-version to a degree of unusable high contrast.