Friday, February 25, 2011

Contaflex Super BC

My last post stirred things up. It made me realize that there is a lot of people out there curious about these cameras.

Wonderful pieces of machinery, made with the last breath of the German camera industry.
The Contaflexes are the perfect example of the sophistication achieved by the above mentioned industry.

About one year ago I bought a quite comprehensive Contaflex Super BC kit, the peak of the series.

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super BC Kit

The kit included the camera, right angle finder, close-up lens kit, regular back, 2x interchangeable backs, Tessar 50mm 1:2.8, Pro-Tessar 35 1:4 an 35mm 1:32, the previous owner was fond of 35mm lenses. All in a Zeiss Ikon original bag.
Latter I bought the Pro-Tessar 85 and 115mm 1:4 lenses, to complete the kit lenses wise.

The Super BC with the Tessar 50mm 1:2.8

Contaflex Super BC & Tessar 2.8/55

with the Pro-Tessar 35mm 1:4

Contaflex Super BC & Pro-tessar 4/35

with the Pro-Tessar 35mm 1:3.2

Contaflex Super BC & Pro-Tessar 3.2/35

with the Pro-Tessar 85mm 1:4

Contaflex Super BC  Pro-Tessar 4/85

with the Pro-Tessar 115mm 1:4

Contaflex Super BC & Pro-Tessar 4/115

with the right-angle finder and the close-up lens kit

Contaflex Super BC & Close-up kit

Interesting detail, on the back of the close-up lens kit box, the distance/DOF calculator

Contaflex Super BC & Close-up kit

The interchangeable back with the dark slide removed and the right-angle finder

Contaflex Super BC, Interchangeable back and angle viewfinder

This is a SLR, 35mm camera, with interchangeable front lens element made circa 1965.
The, between the lens, shutter is a Synchro-Compur 1-1/500 s, flash synchro M, X and self timer V.
It has a TTL CdS light meter powered by a 1,35 V mercury cell, I use a zinc-air battery to replace it.
The exposure might be automatic, shutter speed priority, selecting A in the aperture ring, or manual.
The aperture/light meter information is displayed in the viewfinder and in the small window on the top plate.

The interchangeable backs were a very useful accessory, one could change ISO or film type in the middle of a photo session.
Unfortunately I have three and all of them have severe light leaks.

The lens change is very easy, just push the release button and turn it 1/4 of a turn CCW and replace it by the lens of your choice.

The light meter is very precise and the viewfinder quite bright.

What I can tell you about it is that is a very pleasant to use camera, with great results from it's great lens.

Some shots taken with it:


XVIII Encontro Nacional e VI Aniversário 4.clube.portugal

Me and Contaflex, me and Contaflex and me and Contaflex

Lately and thanks to my friends Hugo and Nuno the Contaflex family counts with two more members a Contaflex IV and a Super, folowing the family photo:


I have both new members loaded with film to show you soon what they are capable of.

Stay tuned (o;

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Contaflex IV Repair

Every now and then my friend Hugo dares me for a trade, this time it was a Zeiss Ikon Contaflex IV

P1240367 (2)

He sent me the above photo with the following description: "the body is average, but the lens is quite loose and has many fungi, the case is broken in two"

We made our trade arrangement and, in the following weekend, I attacked the 'beast'


I striped it almost completely to find out why the lens was that loose, it shaked and rattled, also to clean it thoroughly. He was not kidding, all the lens surfaces had fungi and a lot of them. The mirror and prism were in need of a good cleaning too.
So, as you can see above, it all came off.

I found the culprits on the looseness of the lens:

DSC_7750 copy

As you can see above, marked with an A, there was a loose screw inside and, marked with a B, this screw was very loose too, this one doubles it's action as focus stop.

Now I'm going to show you a step-by-step reassemble of the camera:

All the parts clean and ready to reassemble 

The prism parts


The prism ready and in position


The prism reassembled


Top plate, in place, rear lens viewfinder, in screw mount and screws


Film advance/counter and shutter release assembly parts in the correct assembly order


Lightmeter computer and film rewind assembly


The next images show you the assembly sequence









Now the shutter/lens assembly


The shutter/inner lens assembly already in place and also the controller rings for aperture and shutter speeds


The lens/shutter assembly in place it's only missing the interchangeable front element of the lens


Here it is


The optional accessory shoe


Film back and spool


Some pictures of the finished work





Looking at this you might think it was piece of cake...
How wrong you can be!
I didn't count the time but it took looooong. Especially the retrieving of the missing screw and putting it back into place, it was almost impossible to reach the place without disassembling parts that I didn't want to.
Then the positioning of the shutter assembly is quite a critical operation, if not performed correctly it fires when you loose the shutter release and not when you press it.
The calibration of the focus range was a very time consuming trial and miss operation.

When I gave it as complete, I loaded it with film and was going to change the front element of the lens, I have also the 35, 85 and 115mm, it was stuck... the lens wouldn't come out...
I had to start all over: disassemble the lens/shutter assembly, from the back, it came all out including the focus assembly and do it all over including the focus range tuning.
All due to a misplaced wire spring that locks the front element lens.

Now it's great, even the lightmeter seems great, comparing it with my D40. Soon there will be pictures and a review of it.

Stay tuned (o;

Monday, February 14, 2011

My first Linhof

Linhof Studio Tripod

Linhof Rekord-Rohrstativ, 2 - teilig
Deluxe Studio Tripod, 2 - extensions

It's only a tripod but it's a Linhof.

I think it was built in the 50's or 60's, if someone can precise that info I would appreciate.

Maybe someday I get a Linhof camera to keep it company, in the meantime my Speed Graphic does the honours.


I really was in need of a sturdy tripod to use with this camera.
I have some other tripods but, when I saw this one I understood that it was the right one.

Don't you agree that they go perfectly together?


I found it like this in a flea market and bought it, for 12.00€.
Brought it home. It was so dirty and every moving part was stuck out of pure lack of use.

One afternoon of spit shine and elbow grease and look at it:



DSC_7809 (2)




It's beautiful, very small damages to the finish, the original model label, I tried to clean it but I was afraid damage it further, so I stopped, and the seller label also, N.J. Riess, Gilchling - München - Germany.

The head needs a replacement knob, for the rotational movement, and it also needs a set of rubber feet, there was only one left and disintegrating too.
The feet are spiked for outdoor with screw out aluminium cylinders, originally covered with rubber, for indoor use.

My back is complaining but I'm very pleased and I wanted to share it with you before I turn in, that's what I'm going to do, as soon as I publish this.

Stay tuned (o;