The Contax III with collapsible Sonnar seems a popular combo. This one was offered locally at a very good price. It came with the old leather case (disintegrating). I could not resist - it is my first Contax! (I have used Kiev and have a good set of lenses, which helped in the decision).
Now the camera is in the technician's able hands, it is very smooth and the shutter mechanism fires, film transport works, rangefinder bang on, even the meter seems to work. But the shutter is always open. Hope it can be fixed, it looks like it spent 50 years in a closet.
Now I am trying to learn when the camera and lens were made. Serial number in the camera is M.30466. A link somewhere says that the M means made in 1941/42.
The lens (S/N 2401172) looks uncoated to my uneducated eye. Would CZJ mean postwar manufacture? I cannot find references to the Sonnar serial numbers in the Internet.
I know there are more than a few experts around here, so any comment would be much appreciated. Thanks for looking.
Last Edit: Oct 18, 2014 18:33:01 GMT -5 by julio1fer
You're to be congratulated, Julio1fer. You certainly got first prize there.
A long time ago, and a few years before that, I was a member of the local camera club, before I went off into the world. The centre of the floor was occupied by a group eternally debating the respective merits of the Contax versus Leica, jeweller's loupe at the ready to prove a point. Over in the corner, a few with Rolleiflexes would mumble about the virtues of rollfilm over 35mm, in complete agreement. A couple with Rolleicords sat quietly nearby contemplating. The rest of us, with our Bencini Comets, looked at the pictures along the wall. Then I went off into the world.
I'm sure you'll have fun when it comes back, we're all impatiently waiting to see the results.
Thanks, SidW. I can easily imagine the members of your old camera club; I heard similar debates from my father and his friends. I have an old book "35 mm technique" that takes a lot of care to show examples with Leica and Contax in equal numbers. Must have been a serious issue back then.
BTW I noticed that the Kiev is in my avatar.
Last Edit: Oct 19, 2014 20:07:47 GMT -5 by julio1fer
About the only differences between Zeiss and Leica were the patents each held on various features to stop each other closely copying the designs.
It would be impossible to separate them on quality, the main differences were drowned in the war of photographic styles, like Henri Cartier-Bresson, which were down to the photographer, not the camera makers.
35mm was brand new, it took a year or to to be trusted as a format, let alone argue which maker was best. Top quality lenses were that, top quality, but because there were no 35 standards to judge by, many assumed particular makes worked better than others. Stephen