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bmattock
12-26-2004, 16:57
Back in the 1950's, camera and lens technology had not reached the pinnacles they have today. There were no computers crunching numbers to determine what the optimum lens design was; no CNC lathes or mills churning out parts made to incredible tolerances. It was just people with mechanical tools, a great work ethic, and good math, and somehow it all worked.

I took this photo on Christmas Eve in my living room. The camera I used was a Zeiss-Ikon Contina III 35mm non-rangefinder camera (but I put an external rangefinder on top, so there). It was made in about 1955, and it has a Pantar 45mm f2.8 lens (I presume a Tessar design). I loaded it with Kodak Gold 200, put it on a tripod with a remote shutter release, and set the f-stop at f22. I set the shutter speed to "B" and held the cable for the count of 60 seconds.

Not as sharp as say, a Carl Zeiss T* or a Leica Summarit or what-have-you - but I am pleased with the results.

So I thought I'd post this little photo for you. Hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday!

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

back alley
12-26-2004, 17:57
looks like next year's christmas card!

joe

bmattock
12-26-2004, 19:59
Nah, here's next year's card...

bmattock
12-26-2004, 20:01
Or maybe this one!

bmattock
12-26-2004, 20:03
In any case, you can see that I had a good time. Good cameras and lenses really make a difference; but you can have fun with less than perfect cameras, and you can get good results by applying elements of composition and good exposure even with an old 'has-been' camera!

For me at least, sometimes half the fun is seeing what kind of images I can coax out of an older, less capable camera.

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

Chaser
12-26-2004, 20:12
nice touch with the aperature stopped down to make the candle "sparkle"

Krasnaya_Zvezda
12-26-2004, 20:16
The Contina III is one of my favorite cameras. I went to Chicago last summer, and besides my digital I took the Contina loaded with Efke 25 black and white. Here's a 30 second exposure at f/11 I shot in the rain one night.
Glad to see there are others out there that appreciate this classic camera.

bmattock
12-26-2004, 20:22
Originally posted by Chaser
nice touch with the aperature stopped down to make the candle "sparkle"

Thank you! You know, I had forgotten that a fully-stopped-down lens does that with light sources. It has been awhile since I've used 'available darkness' and timed exposures. I'll have to do this more often, and remember that higher f-stops do the sparkly thing.

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

bmattock
12-26-2004, 20:28
Originally posted by Krasnaya_Zvezda
The Contina III is one of my favorite cameras. I went to Chicago last summer, and besides my digital I took the Contina loaded with Efke 25 black and white. Here's a 30 second exposure at f/11 I shot in the rain one night.
Glad to see there are others out there that appreciate this classic camera.

KZ, that's awesome! I have a Contina III and a Contina IIa. I like the Novar Anastigmat in the Contina IIa, but the III has the replaceable front element, I may try to get the 74mm and 30mm front elements for it, just for fun.

Out of curiosity, do you have the IIa and do you think the Novar is a better lens than the Pantar?

I think that the early Zeiss-Ikon 35mm's are some of the best 'feeling' cameras ever made. They just have such a feeling of quality about them. I love to shoot with them. Of course, I also love the Agfa Karat IV's...

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

akalai
12-26-2004, 22:25
My dad has a Zeiss Contina III with Pantar lens....

I recently got it CLA'd in order to give it back to him as it had jammed a long long time ago....my dad has had this camera since new when he bought it sometime in the late 1950's in Germany.

Anyway I recently got to use a Leica M6 and as nice as they are, and optically superior, I was surprised at how smooth the shutter on dad's Contina was....mainly due to the leaf shutter. Makes a real nice "schnick" sound when it fires. ;)

Anyway its a great little camera and this one is pretty special as its been right around the world several times!

I recently shot some Ilford Pan F on it as well, and the negs look great...haven't had a chance to print anything yet...still building my enlarger, thats another story.

I was always curious about the frnt elements and how it came off....

Has ANYONE used the 30mm LENS on this camera....are they some super rare collectors item? Be curious to try it, but even as is its a fine lens!

I'll try and post some pics from it in the next few weeks...

doubs43
12-27-2004, 11:15
Darn it, Bill & KZ......... if there's anything I don't need, it's another camera! After seeing the great pictures the two of you have posted from your Continas, I'm beginning to twitch and get a nervous tick in one eye. THAT means I'll be looking for a Contina. Grrrrrrr.......... mumble, mumble :D

Seriously, those are fine pictures and good examples of what can be done with cameras that don't always get the credit they deserve. There are lots of them out there, ignored by those hung up on the big boys.

BTW, KZ; I have a 100 foot roll of Efke 25 ordered. I hope I do as well as you have in your Chicago shot.

Walker

Krasnaya_Zvezda
12-27-2004, 12:14
Originally posted by bmattock
KZ, that's awesome! I have a Contina III and a Contina IIa. I like the Novar Anastigmat in the Contina IIa, but the III has the replaceable front element, I may try to get the 74mm and 30mm front elements for it, just for fun.

Out of curiosity, do you have the IIa and do you think the Novar is a better lens than the Pantar?

I think that the early Zeiss-Ikon 35mm's are some of the best 'feeling' cameras ever made. They just have such a feeling of quality about them. I love to shoot with them. Of course, I also love the Agfa Karat IV's...

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

I don't have a IIa, but I do have the 74mm front element for the III. It's an absolutely awesome-looking piece of glass. I haven't used it much, the case won't close with that lens on, so I don't carry it around. I need to use it more, for sure. In fact, you've inspired me to make a point of doing that, thanks!

Krasnaya_Zvezda
12-27-2004, 12:20
Originally posted by doubs43
Darn it, Bill & KZ......... if there's anything I don't need, it's another camera! After seeing the great pictures the two of you have posted from your Continas, I'm beginning to twitch and get a nervous tick in one eye. THAT means I'll be looking for a Contina. Grrrrrrr.......... mumble, mumble :D

Seriously, those are fine pictures and good examples of what can be done with cameras that don't always get the credit they deserve. There are lots of them out there, ignored by those hung up on the big boys.

BTW, KZ; I have a 100 foot roll of Efke 25 ordered. I hope I do as well as you have in your Chicago shot.

Walker

I appreciate the compliment, Walker. The Contina III is really a fine piece of work, as well described by akalai. I'm always pulling one of the FSU cameras off the shelf to shoot with, and I look over at the Contina and somehow feel bad for leaving it sitting there, like I'm betraying it... but I get the same feeling about my Retina III, too. Is that absurd, or what? Anyway, I hope you enjoy the Efke, with 100 ft, you should certainly have plenty of film to experiment with. Good luck, and I'm looking forward to seeing some of your shots.

r-brian
12-27-2004, 13:16
I'm glad to see such fine images from the Zeiss Contina. I just picked up a Contaflex II (ok, it is a slr) with the 45mm f2.8 Tessar. Can't wait to try it out.

Brian