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Contax 139 Quartz mirror return issue
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:23 am    Post subject: Contax 139 Quartz mirror return issue Reply with quote

Hi folks

I thought I was a very lucky chap yesterday morning, I went to a local table top sale and there were no cameras apart from an old Diadem box camera (which I bought for 50p) but as I was leaving, my dad spotted a camera bag, a small one, he wanted a bag for his digital P+S cam so he picked it up and opened it. Sat inside was a Contax 139 Quartz with a Yashica DSB 55mm lens on it.

How much for the bag my dad asks? The guy says he wants to sell it with the camera so my dad calls me over to see if the camera was anything I might be interested in.

I did my best to keep my face straight and not grin ear to ear and just said 'sure, I collect cameras, not got one of those...'

So my dad paid the man a tenner and was pleased as punch with his new camera bag and a bit mystified why I was grinning like a cheshire cat all the way home.

The Yashica lens is not in the greatest condition, and DSB lenses are not highly regarded, it's gone in my cardboard box full of lenses and odds and sods I never touch.

As for the Contax, well the vinyl/leatherette on it needs replacing, I have some royal blue leatherette, might look nice. It seems to work fine apart from one little issue - the mirror doesn't return after you press the shutter release. The shutter seems fine, fires at all speeds, film advance is fine, feels creamy smooth.

Sticking my finger inside I managed to touch something on the right hand side that caused the mirror to return again so I'm thinking it could be a simple fix, maybe it's just sticking or something else simple?

Anyone know anything about the mirror return system on the 139Q? Is this a case of really needing to take it to a professional repairman?

I know very little about Contaxes, I take it this one is a Yashica made model, how much is it worth and is it worth getting it fixed?

I only have one lens in C/Y fit as far as I can recall, a Hoya HMC 2.8/28 that is a decent little lens, obviously Contaxes are intended for use with Zeiss T* lenses but I can't see me being able to afford any of those anytime soon. Will Yashica lenses fit this Contax and work fine? If so, which are worth having? As I already have plenty of lenses I'm only interested in the really good ones that will fit this Contax as I see no point in using lesser lenses with it as I already have several other SLRs and plenty of lesser lenses.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Made by Yashica and almost all looking crap, due low quality leatherette finish. I have CONTAX RTS, Made by Yashica.
http://www.google.com/search?q=contax+139+quartz&hl=en&biw=1272&bih=796&prmd=ivns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1WgSTqC2OMTs-gaPu5zuDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDgQsAQ

Due low built quality and made by Yashica these cameras are usually inexpensive ones. I think they light meter system is fine I don't remember for any issue. Light sealing can be a problem and film insertion too, be careful at first time and be sure it will transport roll well.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cant help with your problem, sorry, but i love my copy. actually i was just shooting with it today! its one of my favorites for street work because its so small and light and has a great meter and auto shutter system. plus you can use all those great contax lenses, or yashica ml's, or m42's with a very cheap adapter! good luck, hope you get it to work. btw i also picked up a cheap auto winder for it for action work!


PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, as far as small and light SLRs go, I already have Olympus OM10 (with winder), Pentax MG (with winder) and Praktica BC1 (with winder) never use the winders.

The BC1 seems to have broken, last two rolls through it came out blank, but the Pentax and Oly are both fully working.

I'm starting to think it might be better to sell this Contax on and invest in either Pentax or Olympus lenses.

I am quite impressed with the feel of this Contax, it feels very solid and much more robust than my BC1, but it doesn't feel anymore solid or well made than the Pentax and Olympus.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, you have quite a collection! for me, i have more invested in contax and m42 lenses, both of which i use on the 139, so for a compact slr, this is my favorite. i'm sure the pentax and olly are good cams--i guess it depends more on one's lens collection, but you should give it a try before you sell it.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The BC1 cost 6ukp with a 2.4/50 pancake Pentacon lens, the Pentax MG with Pentax M 2/50 I got for nothing, the OM10 with Oly 1.8/50 and Viv S1 70-210 was given to me when a friend passed away, so I only have them because they cost nothing!

I also have a few other 35mm SLRs but they are all broken, only other working ones I have are a Praktica Nova (no light meter) and a Carena SRH760. The Carena is a nice camera in mint condition, a rebadged Petri FT500.

I would put a roll through this Contax with the Hoya 28mm I have to fit it but the mirror return issue means I'd have to take the lens off to manually return the mirror after every shot, doesn't sound like fun to me...


PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might be sticky buffer for when the mirror move up, and is held there?


PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, good thought, I'll have a look at that and clean it with ISO.


PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been looking around at lenses to fit the Contax and it's a pretty poor set of options, the only cheap ones are crappy zooms it seems and the Yashica ML 2.0/50 and 1.9/50, I'll grab a Yashica ML 50 shortly I think.

I'm very tempted to sell off all the lenses I don't use and buy one Zeiss T* lens for the Contax, what puts me off doing this is once I've tasted these Contax T* lenses nothing else will satisfy anymore!


PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

actually you should consider that you can use m42 lenses on any c/y mount cam, like the 139, with a $15 adapter. i do it, it works great and gives you tremendous versatility.


PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 11:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Contax 139 Quartz mirror return issue Reply with quote

Presenting Symptoms: Contax 139, press shutter button, shutter fires, but mirror stays up. Cannot wind-on.

Diagnosis: See this web site http://Contax139.info and scroll down to "Shutter Curtain Bounce Catch." If your curtains match the 3rd image in this topic, the bounce catch has prevented the shutter from fully closing. It's gummed up a bit. It's a mechanical problem, not electronic, not a circuit board.

Best solution: remove the catch, clean the faces of the catch and washers, reinstall. Requires disassembly of much of the camera.

But, this worked for me:
- Remove baseplate, keep the battery in place
- Push this black lever in the direction indicated, allows you to wind on, mirror pops back.
- Exercise the camera so it works in spite of accumulated gumminess.



iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Hi folks

It seems to work fine apart from one little issue - the mirror doesn't return after you press the shutter release. The shutter seems fine, fires at all speeds, film advance is fine, feels creamy smooth.

Sticking my finger inside I managed to touch something on the right hand side that caused the mirror to return again so I'm thinking it could be a simple fix, maybe it's just sticking or something else simple?