Old SLR 1955 RF Camera German made.


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Just Mike

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May 31, 2004
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#1
Hello all.
Anyone use a Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 camera? The light meter moves, but may not work. I have seen cameras same as mine, go for $295 on e-bay so they are either poor cameras, or the Company made a lot of them.

Not looking to sell, my Father bought it new & gave it to me. The manual says it takes film, ISO 5 up to 320. I have never seen film with these ISO#s

I can get 100 or 200 B&W or Color, the only filters that came with it, a dark Green & dark Red + a Kodak adaptor with a +1 lens. The green & red filters look new, but the +1 lens has Fungi spots.

When I asked the Repair shop in Alanta Ga, USA. Should I send it in? They said to shoot some color & B&W film & see if it was already restored. My Father sent it to Germany in 1972 & he is old, so does not remember why or what was done. He never used it again after it came back.

Taking B&W with this Camera would be fun & I have my new Nikon N65 QD, to take color pictures with. Any suggestions or advice is welcome :cool:
 

Ektar25

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Apr 20, 2004
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#3
Just Mike said:
Hello all.
Anyone use a Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 camera? The light meter moves, but may not work. I have seen cameras same as mine, go for $295 on e-bay so they are either poor cameras, or the Company made a lot of them.

Not looking to sell, my Father bought it new & gave it to me. The manual says it takes film, ISO 5 up to 320. I have never seen film with these ISO#s

I can get 100 or 200 B&W or Color, the only filters that came with it, a dark Green & dark Red + a Kodak adaptor with a +1 lens. The green & red filters look new, but the +1 lens has Fungi spots.

When I asked the Repair shop in Alanta Ga, USA. Should I send it in? They said to shoot some color & B&W film & see if it was already restored. My Father sent it to Germany in 1972 & he is old, so does not remember why or what was done. He never used it again after it came back.

Taking B&W with this Camera would be fun & I have my new Nikon N65 QD, to take color pictures with. Any suggestions or advice is welcome :cool:
Hi Just Mike,

FYI it may not sound like a lot but US$295 is a lot of money for a +30 year old camera - u might compare it to what a similar Kodak sells for - a few other sites for info
http://www.licm.org.uk/livingImage/ContessaLBE.html
http://www.craigcamera.com/ib_zeiss.htm
http://www.netcontax.com/default.asp

like SniperD says try shooting some film - doesn't have to be B&W - see if the lens is clean and the shutter and aperture don't stick - the +1 u can try cleaning yourself if it isn't coated (don't think it will be)
have fun
cheers
 

YOL925

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Jun 7, 2004
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High Lander
#4
Just Mike said:
Hello all.
Anyone use a Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 camera? The light meter moves, but may not work. I have seen cameras same as mine, go for $295 on e-bay so they are either poor cameras, or the Company made a lot of them.


Taking B&W with this Camera would be fun & I have my new Nikon N65 QD, to take color pictures with. Any suggestions or advice is welcome :cool:
Hi Mike,

I happen to have the Contessa too. It is a folding RF with great built quality but is a little troublesome to use. The lens is a Tessar lens (meaning "Eagle eye"!) It should be capable of producing some decent pix. The value that you quoted is about the market rate for this camera.

The set that I have has clean glass and clear RF. Unfortunately, the slow speeds (below 1/15) don't work :bheart: (due to inactivity for far too long.) I am also looking around for a good repairman to fix it.
 

XXX Boy

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Jan 11, 2004
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GEYLAND LOR 15 LO
#5
It is not really expensive to pay us$295 for a german made with zeiss lens camera. Look at the Leica M3 which is also about 50 years and one good pcs would cost S$2000 & above.
These are mechnical cameras that are built and so well-made that they are meant to last a lifetime of use. They are as jewel precision as watch-making.
Compared to a Canon EOS1Ds MKII which retail for more than S$7000-8000 which I believe can't even last 20 years, is that expensive when one spent us$295 for a camera that built to last a lifetime of use??? :dunno:
I believe that the ISO as indicate in the the zeiss contessa are just for the lightmeter only. You can actually use all different speeds of film on that camera with a hand-held meter.

Ektar25 said:
Hi Just Mike,

FYI it may not sound like a lot but US$295 is a lot of money for a +30 year old camera - u might compare it to what a similar Kodak sells for - a few other sites for info
http://www.licm.org.uk/livingImage/ContessaLBE.html
http://www.craigcamera.com/ib_zeiss.htm
http://www.netcontax.com/default.asp

like SniperD says try shooting some film - doesn't have to be B&W - see if the lens is clean and the shutter and aperture don't stick - the +1 u can try cleaning yourself if it isn't coated (don't think it will be)
have fun
cheers
 

Just Mike

New Member
May 31, 2004
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#6
As I mentioned before this Contessa will never be for sale, I will leave it to my Son or Grandson.

Even if it sold for $7,000 money can never replace my memories of my Dad flipping open the leather cover, & taking my Pic somewhere around the World.

I never even saw this camera before it came UPS to my house, & I took it from it's leather hiding place. I had no book yet & I just looked at this beautiful leather covered Camera body with no lens :embrass:

When my Dad found the book I sat down at my bench, & one page at a time I watched a wondours transformation take place. Anyone who has seen this Camera, can't help but see the care & craftsmanship it was built with.

Price was only mentioned because, I have searched so long to find answers real answers like yours. I even e-mailed Kodak only to be told we don't keep records of Adaptors for all those old Cameras. I'll remember that, if and when I ever think of buying their film or Cameras.

However it is you all, I want to thank, I feel renewed in my desire to learn, load & go out with the contessa. My new Nikon N65 is a cool Camera that will do everything for me, but chose the shot. I know that will not last too long, because I can set it to manual only :) .

I drive a 1969 Restored by me, Chevy 1/2 ton pickup & have never owned an automatic transmission with PS/PB or electric windows on any vehicle. So you see, I have always had more in common with the Contessa than with having it all done for me.

A light meter & a modern bulbless flash to fit the cold foot LOL. I'll try to clean the +1 lens & see how the close ups turn out. I will also try the Filters out, my Dad never used them at all.

ClubSnap is just what I need right now, I have been bitten hard by the Photography bug. That's OK by me.
Just Mike
 

stonely0

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Jun 8, 2004
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www.alndesign.com
#7
YOL925 said:
The set that I have has clean glass and clear RF. Unfortunately, the slow speeds (below 1/15) don't work :bheart: (due to inactivity for far too long.) I am also looking around for a good repairman to fix it.
Hi u may try one of my un-orthrodox method to fixed the sticky shutter curtain that don't move at slower speed for vintage... at your own risk ok... i have try them both on my 50's Retina and Agfa Karat folding camera.

1) Test shot all speed, from 30 and above without any film loaded, test firing using dif aperature becos i notice some old cam's shutter curtain are not moving due to the aperature curtain problem. listen to the shutter sound closely.

2) test fire on all slow shutter speed (w/o film) and see which slow speed is giving the problem, again, listen to the sound, at this speed, u can time the shutter to see whether is it out.

3) so when u zero in on the speed that's giving u the problem, stay on that speed and remove the front lens till the shutter curtain are accessible. use a Johnson Baby Powder, those with very fine grain and smooth grain. sprinkle a bit on the close curtain, use your blowder brush to spread them around but don't blow it off...

4) finally u r satisfied with the even spread of the powder, (make sure u dun put too much becos it will take u alot of time to clean it later.) set the shutter speed to the one that's working ok and fire the shutter holding the camers poiting skyward. this way, the powder will drop to the aperature curtain. no worries... fire a few times, the trick is to get the powder into the gap inbetween the curtain. use dif aperature and shutter speed 60 and above & fire for a few time.

5) when u r sure that the powder are all evenly spread on the shutter & aperature curtain, move to lower speed and try fire on the speed that are giving u the problem. by now, u will be surprise on how smooth the curtain are behaving and how responsive they are. if ur lower shutter are still not very responsive, switch to B mode and fire and hold, apply more powder but moderately if neccessary. after which, all u'r shutter should be awake.

6) finally, clean up time. use a blower brush to blow all powder on curtain, switch to B mode, fire and hold the shutter on one hand & use the other hand with the blower brush to blow and brush away all powder on the aperature curtain. after that, set the aperature to biggest(f2) while still holding the shutter release on the other hand, u have access to the inner lens behind the aperature curtain now, use the same method to clean it.

7) release the shutter, take a break. now after that, use a tissue to wipe all the curtain gently, depress & hold the shutter release (B mode) and do the same for the aperature curtain. then proceed to clean the inner lens while holding the shutter with lens cleaning tissue.

u r done. it may not be the right method but it works for me. i don't send them to repair as all repaireman are not used to repairing old vintage cam. also, they will cutthroath u with the price when they c ur vintage.
 

Just Mike

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May 31, 2004
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#8
Hi stonely0.

I want to make sure it is Talc powder & not Corn Starch as many baby powder makers use today you are reccomending. I believe they were once all Talc or talcum powder before they offered Corn starch.

How long does this work for? Also Remington Arms co. puts out a spray product with tube PTFE ( Tefelon ) powder spray a liguid that dries fast called Dri-Lube.

Would the liquid carrier/drier be a bad thing to use? I have no idea what it would do to anything but metal. It was designed for cold weather use where other greases & oils would get stiff or sticky.

I have not sent my Contessa out yet, but did bring it to a local Camera Shop who said they can do the work on the old Cameras. When the repairman looked at the contessa he asked me where the lens was, so I opened it showed him & then left his shop.

Finding someone you can trust & who won't charge an arm & leg for just cleaning it, may be tough. Take your time searching, or learn how to do it yourself sounds like the rule.

Mike
 

stonely0

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Jun 8, 2004
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www.alndesign.com
#9
Just Mike said:
Hi stonely0.

I want to make sure it is Talc powder & not Corn Starch as many baby powder makers use today you are reccomending. I believe they were once all Talc or talcum powder before they offered Corn starch.

How long does this work for? Also Remington Arms co. puts out a spray product with tube PTFE ( Tefelon ) powder spray a liguid that dries fast called Dri-Lube.

Would the liquid carrier/drier be a bad thing to use? I have no idea what it would do to anything but metal. It was designed for cold weather use where other greases & oils would get stiff or sticky.
Hi Mike,

No the powder contain no corn starch, i'm not aware of it till u highlite to me. but if u r going to try my method, use one that have fine grain. both my vintage are working fine and have just shot 2 rolls each last weekend. A word of warning, DO NOT used water base products or WD40 as the liquid will seep in between the folds of the curtain and makes them stick to each other and fail.

As for the Powder Spray u recommemd from Remington Arms co, if it feel wet when u spray it on u'r hand, then it's not suitable. i'll lke to experiment with this spray too but Remington Arms co is dealing in Arms so it's not possible to get it's products here in Singapore. Also, i have realize something, when storing your vintage in your dry cabinet for some time, the shutter will not response for prolong storage. so i usually take them out once or twice a week just to warmup all the moving parts. fire a few shots without films and do some cleaning and admiring. just like what you do to your hand guns... it needs delicate care. don't forget, collecting isn't fun without admiring and feeling them once in a while... also, they are old, so feel them before they are totally gone ;P

cheers.
 

Just Mike

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May 31, 2004
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#10
stonely0 Says:
collecting isn't fun without admiring and feeling them once in a while... also, they are old, so feel them before they are totally gone ;P

How true that is, something in us is drawn to the art in these wonderful machines. The people who built these works of art were told " Do the best job you can" while many people today are told the opposite. Work too fast use cheap materials don't worry how many don't work we will just give them a new one. SAD :(

Good point about keep working them, like an old Car it runs long & happy until you park it, & leave it alone, then it just rots away.

PS: Elmers Glue makes a dry Teflon spray also If you can find it, maybe it is good for other things that slide. It dries real fast, but it goes on wet so I think your advice is what I will use.

Mike
 

stonely0

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Jun 8, 2004
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#11
Just Mike said:
Mike says...

How true that is, something in us is drawn to the art in these wonderful machines. The people who built these works of art were told " Do the best job you can" while many people today are told the opposite. Work too fast use cheap materials don't worry how many don't work we will just give them a new one. SAD :(
You are very right... no matter how i abuse it, shake it, dismantle it and assmeble it all back, it still works. it just don't wanna quit. I realize it's quality that counts in those days of manufacturing. these days, it's all about target and quantity while quality takes a back seat.

Just Mike said:
Mike says...

PS: Elmers Glue makes a dry Teflon spray also If you can find it, maybe it is good for other things that slide. It dries real fast, but it goes on wet so I think your advice is what I will use.
yes you can try my advice, just becareful not to put too much on the shutter curtain. I'll suggest this, let's do it the safe way, get a blower with brush, pour some fine grain talcum powder on a piece of paper or kleenes (make sure there are no sand or little stone on the paper/kleenex), use your blower brush, dab on the powder like what you'll do while painting, then brush it on the shutter curtain, making sure they looks white-ish, then fire a few shots, and applied the powder with the brush a few time and fire a few shots, see whether it'll help.

let me know the result after you have tried it.

cheers.
 

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