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Old Dec 20, 2016, 10:58 AM   #11
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Here's a shot using the f2.8 70mm lens from the Pentax 110 system, with an adapter:
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Old Dec 20, 2016, 11:00 AM   #12
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And a more ambitious pano:
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Old Dec 20, 2016, 1:18 PM   #13
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Wow! I love the last one!

Last night I went through a box that I've ignored for years (doing a flooring project and using it as an excuse to get rid of junk). The box had some old stuff that had belonged to my father. I knew his old camera, that didn't work, was in the box but hadn't really looked at it since I first got back into photography. I thought it must have been a fixed lens rangefinder camera of some sort at the time because I couldn't figure out how to release the lens. I have a vague memory of my father using it when I was a kid, and that it wasn't working right. I assumed it was some type of fixed lens rangefinder camera dating from the 1950's and put it away (what's a Contax camera anyway?). I did have another vague memory of my mother mentioning that my grandfather had given my Dad an expensive camera, and whatever happened to it? So I wasn't sure about whether the "expensive camera" was the Contax I had or not.

Last night, after my bedtime, I pulled a cylindrical cardboard object out of the box and opened it up. Inside was a brown suede cloth bag - had to be some type of lens. I took it out and read "Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 1:4 f=13.5 cm on it" - that got my attention as I've always wanted a Zeiss lens. I looked closely at it - it was silver (chrome actually) and beautifully made, the aperture blades moved easily and were beautifully dampened. I couldn't quite figure out the focus, but then it was late and I went to bed.

This morning I pulled out the camera and actually played around with both camera and the lens. I figured out the focus on the lens (it works great, just a hair stiff due to age and disuse, I would imagine). I cleaned the dust off the lens and there's no sign of fungus or even much dust. I also took my time figuring out how the camera worked, too. I now know how to release both lenses (the one mounted on the camera and the one in the case). I need to work more on the lens that's mounted on the camera (marked Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 1:1.5 f=5cm) - I haven't cleaned it all that well and can't tell how good the glass is yet. I found it very curious - the standard lens releases after the focus mechanism, which can be adjusted by a wheel on the camera, but the longer lens in the case has a focus ring on the lens itself and the mount fits OVER the lens focus rings on the camera - very odd, I thought.

Does anyone here recognize old camera equipment better than I? I spent a couple of hours this morning reading the history of Contax cameras and comparing pictures of my Zeiss lenses and camera to other pictures - what I thought was a simple fixed rangefinder camera from the 1950's is actually a Contax III dating from the late 1930's. It's in marvelous cosmetic condition, even if it doesn't work. And the lenses are from the same time-frame, before WWII.

So now I want to brush off my Q cameras and get an adaptor to allow me to at least try the 135 f4 lens out. I think I can get an adaptor to work with it. However, the 50 f1.5 lens is probably going to be a problem - if I have it right, the RF lens mount that Zeiss used is a double bayonet system and the adaptor I saw on Amazon doesn't have the focus ring on it, so I wouldn't be able to use the normal lens on it.

I would think it would be worth it to get the adaptor for the 135, not sure I want to go out of my way for the 50 f1.5 (though it's reputed to be sharper than the Leica of the same timeframe). I haven't really researched that much yet - my head is swimming! It's going to take a while for all this to seep through my brain to where I understand it all.

As a final thought - went on eBay and looked for what it would cost to buy the lens - about $50.00 so not worth much.

Last edited by mtngal; Dec 20, 2016 at 1:27 PM.
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Old Dec 20, 2016, 5:04 PM   #14
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I dearly love my Contax II, even if I don't use it much these days. The III had a meter which rarely works after all these years.

You're correct about the 50 1.5. It would need a focusing mount. You interested in selling it? I have no idea what a good price would be, but I'd be open to talking about it.
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Old Dec 25, 2016, 10:16 AM   #15
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While I thought about selling it, I think I'll keep it on the camera and leave both in a display case. There's more history/family stories wrapped up in the camera. Someone suggested I type them up and keep them together.
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