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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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bought a contax ii on ebay
Old 09-08-2018   #1
pauld111
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bought a contax ii on ebay

I bought a Contax ii from Ebay, (a German seller). In his advert he said that it did work. When I received it, it seemed to work well except sometimes the shutter stopped midway. Then I put a film in it. This was when the trouble started. I took a whole roll of film as a test. When I got the roll out it had not reversed properly into the canister. But I thought nothing of it because it could have been my error and was a test roll anyway. But then when I tried to advance the shutter (with no film in it), it is basically stuck now. It wont release or if it does it is a soft release with no sound. I also cannot change the speeds. Should I able able to remedy this situation or do I now have an expensive paper weight. I don't know exactly where the problem arose, it's very frustrating. Any advise would be great. Thanks
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Old 09-08-2018   #2
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The shutter ribbons have snapped.
If the camera looks mint and is collectible, then contact Henry Scherer and wait in line for 7 years. Otherwise send it to Oleg in Russia. It will get Kiev parts but it will be fully functional in less than 1 month.
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Old 09-08-2018   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld111 View Post
I bought a Contax ii from Ebay, (a German seller). In his advert he said that it did work. When I received it, it seemed to work well except sometimes the shutter stopped midway. Then I put a film in it. This was when the trouble started. I took a whole roll of film as a test. When I got the roll out it had not reversed properly into the canister. But I thought nothing of it because it could have been my error and was a test roll anyway. But then when I tried to advance the shutter (with no film in it), it is basically stuck now. It wont release or if it does it is a soft release with no sound. I also cannot change the speeds. Should I able able to remedy this situation or do I now have an expensive paper weight. I don't know exactly where the problem arose, it's very frustrating. Any advise would be great. Thanks
Do not force anything, contact the seller and see if you can return it for a refund.

In the worse situation you can always get it repaired, Oleg of OK vintage cameras would not be averse to fixing a Contax II, they are practically a Kiev II and his repair prices appear be be very reasonable.

A Contax II is a fine old camera that deserves another lease on life.
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Old 09-08-2018   #4
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The shutter not completely traveling smoothly was your clue that the ribbons are frayed and rubbing against the shutter crate.

Too bad that Carl Zeiss in the 1930s used silk for the ribbons and they only lasted 80 years.
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Old 09-08-2018   #5
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I was bidding for it 'as is' and no returns. Although he did specify was working. Anyway I took a risk. I will try find someone in the UK to look at it. I paid approx 170 for camera body and lens and case.
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Old 09-08-2018   #6
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Kievs were imported into the UK for many years.
You should be able to find a repair center with parts and experience.
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Old 09-08-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld111 View Post
I was bidding for it 'as is' and no returns. Although he did specify was working. Anyway I took a risk. I will try find someone in the UK to look at it. I paid approx 170 for camera body and lens and case.
BTW, which lens did the Contax come with ?
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Old 09-08-2018   #8
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Sonnar 50mm f2 collapsible
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Old 09-08-2018   #9
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They never work. Well not for very long anyway, unless the ribbons have been replaced. This is not news. There’s abundant information about the subject at this site. Unless the camera is very rough it’s worth getting fixed. The lenses are superb and they use the finest quality rangefinder ever fitted to a 35mm camera.
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Old 09-08-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld111 View Post
Sonnar 50mm f2 collapsible
Nice usable optic and a very collectable lens.

Even with an Oleg repair added to the price, at 170 pounds sterling you did not do too bad if body and lens are clean.
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Old 09-08-2018   #11
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Yes, it is a pity.
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Old 09-08-2018   #12
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I would check with eBay. Obviously seller even if German did not checked camera, at the best fired shutter once. But then he decided to sit on two chairs. One is claiming camera as working another as is.
I do sell working cameras and no returns. But they are working and tested with film cameras.

And good luck with Oleg.
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Old 09-08-2018   #13
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You can return anything on eBay regardless of what the seller has in their listing.
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Old 09-08-2018   #14
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True
If you open a complaint on eBay they usually rule in favor of the buyer and authorize a return.
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Old 09-08-2018   #15
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I did a lot of research before I placed my bid and am pretty sure the body is at least genuine (ticks all the boxes). I sent an email to Ed at euro photo services based in Leicester. I will see if he is able to help me. I took a gamble when bidding on the camera. Sort of feel like keeping it and getting it serviced or if not possible keep it for the lens and find another camera body. I feel like giving the seller bad feedback or no feedback.
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Old 09-08-2018   #16
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This is a gray area IMHO. You said it seemed to work when you first tried it. I had a Contax with similar sequence. Seemed to work, then shutter didn't quite close. I think I made a mistake to exercise it further (often exercise helps with cameras) and shutter stuck completely.

Good part is they are fixable. CameraQuest, our bartender here, will fix it. I'm sure you can find people in the UK. And, once fixed, like my 2nd Contax, it's smooth as silk.
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Old 09-08-2018   #17
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I don't see a basis for giving negative feedback. It did work when you received it. Technically, you were the one that broke it.
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Old 09-08-2018   #18
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While it was not the "deal of the century", with a bit of repairs you probably are going to come out good in the end, I think.

And concerning buying another, well, the second might end up being trouble in some other way. Don't ask me how I know...
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Old 09-08-2018   #19
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100% of the Contax II cameras still having their original shutter ribbons will fail after a few shutter actuations once they have arrived at the buyer's house. This must be known and can't be ignored. The seller didn't screw the buyer here.

There are reliable people who can replace the ribbons on an original Contax shutter without using Kiev parts and without taking seven years to do this.
Now the difficulty is to find those people out. Most of them are amateur repairers with very little time free. I'm one of them and I have successfully serviced several Contax II cameras for friends (and my own toy made in 1938, which I still have) in the early 2000s, when the hype for this camera was much stronger. Now I can't tackle any because it's quite time consuming if you want to perform a serious job so that the camera will get very clean and working for many years with no further trouble. Quite often there is more to do than just replacing the ribbons. Remember - those things were made eighty years ago.

Looks like there are now fewer and fewer pro repairmen interested at working on this beautiful camera - it's a pity but it's like this.

This is why buying a Contax II in 2018 without being able to perform the shutter ribbons replacement oneself as well as a deep cleaning of the camera innards (including solving some unexpected problems like RF parts having got uncemented or general shutter malfunction besides the dead ribbons issue) isn't a very good idea.

Caveat emptor.
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Old 09-08-2018   #20
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Ed Trotska (spelling?) is great and very knowledgable. He will be able to sort it, he certainly knows his way around the Contax II.

(Indeed he knows enough about the Contax I to decline the opportunity of working on them!)
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Old 09-08-2018   #21
David Hughes
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Newton Ellis and Co have repaired them; I'm in favour of repairs as the same risk is there for the next one and the next one. There's lots that can go wrong with them and that way everything gets checked and also you get a guarantee, usually.


Regards, David
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Old 09-08-2018   #22
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At least inform the seller of the issue and ask nicely for a partial refund. I’ve done it successfully, and I’ve done it for items I’ve sold that developed issues shortly after I’ve sold them. The seller will likely cooperate with you and try to rememdy the situation to preserve his seller rating. Use that money towards repairs.
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Old 09-08-2018   #23
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This is what has happened. I found Ed Trzoska who said he could fix it ,in the UK. In the meantime I sent a message to the seller, he offered me a full refund. We got to communicate back and forth, he then offered me full refund or a partial refund. I took the partial refund and will deal with him in the future. It was very good of him to do this, thought it would be an uphill battle, especially because in the advert he said no refund etc. I would also like to thank all you guys because of the feedback and ideas you have given me regarding this. Thanks
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Old 09-08-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld111 View Post
This is what has happened. I found Ed Trzoska who said he could fix it ,in the UK. In the meantime I sent a message to the seller, he offered me a full refund. We got to communicate back and forth, he then offered me full refund or a partial refund. I took the partial refund and will deal with him in the future. It was very good of him to do this, thought it would be an uphill battle, especially because in the advert he said no refund etc. I would also like to thank all you guys because of the feedback and ideas you have given me regarding this. Thanks
Very glad to hear it is going to work out well for you.

Shows us the photos made with your Contax II and its collapsible f2 Sonnar lens after you get it all sorted out.
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Old 09-09-2018   #25
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Your seller is a smart guy while your idea of leaving him a negative feedback wasn't fair.

I suggest that you be a more informed bidder next time. This is easy to find some clues about what to expect from vintage unserviced camera gear when you buy some "as is" on the Internet.

Good for you that everything turns out the good way. I hope your camera will benefit from a complete overhaul so that it gets working and reliable on the long term. Be prepared for a repair bill which will likely exceed the partial refund which the seller kindly allowed you.
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Old 09-09-2018   #26
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It is good that the seller is being reasonable and agree to partial-refund you. I think many old camera sellers on the Bay are hoping that buyers don't know what they are buying or don't actually use the items they buy, unless the sellers sell refurbished cameras (rare) or are 100% confident about the status of the cameras (even rarer). I would call a partial-refund a win-win situation for those old camera deals. At least the seller did not ask you to send it back then he can have it repaired and then send it to you blah blah, which usually wastes more money and time for the buyer.

For repair, I would suggest Oleg if you haven't decided or are still searching alternatives. He just repaired my 1950 KIEV II (which comes with a 1949 ZK 50/2 rigid lens) and he did a fantastic job.
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Old 09-09-2018   #27
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Highway 61 - It said in the advert that it was fully working. It just said 'no returns'. Another thing is that when I was conversing with him I asked him whether he serviced the cameras himself, and he said that he did. So he is servicing these cameras and placing them on Ebay.

nukecoke - I have already decided to send it to Ed Trzoska, who is in the UK, thus easier for me. Thanks
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Old 09-09-2018   #28
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Likely you've done the best thing--a few years ago Ed Trzoska did a really great job on my Contax, which had serious shutter (and other) problems, and it's worked flawlessly since.

Good luck!

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D.
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Old 09-09-2018   #29
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Quote:
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It said in the advert that it was fully working. It just said 'no returns'. Another thing is that when I was conversing with him I asked him whether he serviced the cameras himself, and he said that he did. So he is servicing these cameras and placing them on Ebay.
This is something you should have mentioned first in your opening post. Since overhauling a Contax II with all its original parts, including the mandatory ribbons replacement, is highly time consuming and cannot really be looked at as a hobby with, as a reward, profit sales off the serviced cameras, it's very possible that this guy fixes those Contax bodies (if this is a seller which lists several of them at auction) with Kiev parts.

So your camera may have a Kiev shutter unit already. A close-up photo of the shutter ribbons would help to check whether you still have an original Contax shutter or a Kiev shutter already (the Kiev ribbons are thicker and of a very recognizable pattern).

Worse case, you bought a Kiev with a Contax II frontplate. But let's not become all paranoid too fast.
A link to the auction page would help, if you don't mind posting it here.
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Old 09-09-2018   #30
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https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Contax-II...rdt=true&rt=nc

Highway 61 -there was full disclosure of what transpired in it's chronological order. I only dealt with him directly after the sale when the camera was presenting troubles.
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Old 09-09-2018   #31
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This may sound odd - but a Contax with a new old stock Kiev shutter assembly [Oleged ] may be a better long term fix that trying to sort original parts .
I opted for a pair of 40 dead Contax Bodies with new Kiev shutters from ex-Arensl Techs in Ukraine , and have been well pleased.
One in tan leather with black paint stripped to bare silver metal is great , but still shows the brassing etc of years of use .
I guess my ex-Contax III with Kiev shutter and 1957 Kiev 4 top plate/meter/controls is a step too far on the wild side !
Good luck
dee
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Old 09-09-2018   #32
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I provided the link to the auction page earlier , what are your thoughts? Thanks
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Old 09-10-2018   #33
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I sent the camera off to Ed Trzoska. I will update with further details. If anything this might be educational for future readers.
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Old 09-11-2018   #34
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I provided the link to the auction page earlier , what are your thoughts? Thanks
From what can be seen on the auction pictures there are no cosmetic Kiev parts but we can't know about the shutter. The shutter crate screws show screwdriver marks. The plastic take-up spool is a postwar Contax model.
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Old 09-11-2018   #35
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Highway 61 - Thanks for your input, I have sent the camera off and we will just have to wait and see what Ed says.
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Old 09-11-2018   #36
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No, the buyer did not break the camera. What an odd thing to say. If all he did was put film in it and fire the shutter, how is that breaking the camera? Anyway, I'm glad the seller was honorable and offered both a full refund or partial. That's a five star seller in my book. Looks like it will turn out to be a good buy after the repair.
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Old 09-11-2018   #37
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The ad looks like a typical eBay Contax seller, with little to no knowledge of the body in question (it reads like they picked it up at a flea market for a quarter of the price and flipped it straight to
you) or Contax rangefinders in general, making this the crapshoot of all crapshoots.....and you rolled snake eyes on this one in terms of getting an actual (useable) operating camera, which was almost a foregone conclusion.
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Old 09-14-2018   #38
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Ed has now received the camera and lens. He confirms that it is an original Contax ii, but the camera and lens need a service. I will update as I get more information, but it will be a while as I am in a queue.
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Old 09-16-2018   #39
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Quote:
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I was bidding for it 'as is' and no returns. Although he did specify was working. Anyway I took a risk. I will try find someone in the UK to look at it. I paid approx 170 for camera body and lens and case.
If the seller stated it was working via ebay messages you do have a case for a return. File a claim with ebay and keep us posted
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Old 09-16-2018   #40
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That seller has 100% positive feedback and is willing to cooperate with you. I think you have some leverage (refund, return, partial refund). Depends what you want to do, but if you start fixing the camera, then ethically you have to keep it.

Looks in good condition. I say that with an overall you'll have an excellent camera.
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