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Contax IIIa vs Leica II
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:18 am    Post subject: Contax IIIa vs Leica II Reply with quote

Hello folks!

A colleague from the univ. has two cameras for sale: Contax III-a + Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 and Leica II + Leitz Summar 50mm f/2. He is selling each camera for 420 euros. I am interested in one of them. For which one you would go? I never had experience with Contax or Leica...

P.S. Both cameras are in mint condition.

Many thanks in advance!


PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some experience with the early Leicas -- the one I owned was a IIIc, a very nice little camera. The lens I had with it was a 50mm f/3.5 collapsible Elmar. So my Leica experience is limited. I've never owned an early Contax, so I know it only by reputation. The one big thing to inspect and make sure is working properly with the Contax is its shutter. It is a very complex metal slat arrangement and is susceptible to going out of adjustment, requiring expert repair and/or adjustment. Again, I don't have first hand knowledge of this, but I have known people who have owned these cameras, and I used to be good friends with a camera tech who specialized in the old stuff, plus I have read cautionary reports on the Contax shutter more than once, enough where, if I were to buy one, I would examine the shutter very closely to insure it was operating correctly.

I don't have any experience with either lens, but from what I understand, the Zeiss is a desirable one.


PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
I have some experience with the early Leicas -- the one I owned was a IIIc, a very nice little camera. The lens I had with it was a 50mm f/3.5 collapsible Elmar. So my Leica experience is limited. I've never owned an early Contax, so I know it only by reputation. The one big thing to inspect and make sure is working properly with the Contax is its shutter. It is a very complex metal slat arrangement and is susceptible to going out of adjustment, requiring expert repair and/or adjustment. Again, I don't have first hand knowledge of this, but I have known people who have owned these cameras, and I used to be good friends with a camera tech who specialized in the old stuff, plus I have read cautionary reports on the Contax shutter more than once, enough where, if I were to buy one, I would examine the shutter very closely to insure it was operating correctly.

I don't have any experience with either lens, but from what I understand, the Zeiss is a desirable one.


Many thanks for your reply, cooltouch!
I will pay attention to check the condition of the shutter. I appreciate your tips!


PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you intend to use the camera a lot, another thing to consider:

There are many more lens options for LTM than for Contax-mount.

This may or may not matter to you.

Happy shopping Smile


PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To put in a word for the Contax (I have a IIIa): The Contax has an integrated view finder and range finder, while Leica has two separate holes to look through. Film loading on the Contax is modern, while Leica has that 'special' way... If the meter works, it is a good one on the Contax, mine was brought back to life with a CLA. While the shutter may be complex, it also won't burn a hole if you happen to leave your camera pointed at the sun.
And the Sonnar 50/1.5? Only like the best normal lens ever made. Ok 'one' of the best.
I'd go with the Contax


Last edited by Nesster on Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:41 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sjak wrote:

There are many more lens options for LTM than for Contax-mount.


But Contax-lenses are cheaper. Until someone starts making affordable Contax-Sony -adapters.


PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nesster wrote:
To put in a word for the Contax (I have a IIIa): The Contax has an integrated view finder and range finder, while Leica has two separate holes to look through. Film loading on the Contax is modern, while Leica has that 'special' way... If the meter works, it is a good one on the Contax, mine was brought back to life with a CLA. While the shutter may be complex, it also won't burn a hole if you happen to leave your camera pointed at the sun.
And the Sonnar 50/1.5? Only like the best normal lens ever made. Ok 'one' of the best.
I'd go with the Contax


And do you think that the Summar 50 could be compared with the Sonnar?


PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And do you think that the Summar 50 could be compared with the Sonnar?


A lot depends on the conditions of the lenses. All things being equal, the Sonnar has a substantial edge, but they're designed using very different philosophies so their imaging signatures are different. Ask 100 cooks to make the same dish, and they'd end up quite different from each other, but every cook thinks he has done it the right way; same applies to lens design really.


PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it´s a hard decision to make, probably the Sonnar is performance wise the better lens. But the Leica is the more valuable camera. - To base your decision on condition seems to be a good idea.
May I ask you why you are interested especially in those very old cameras? I believe for taking photographs there are more convinient and less pricy alternatives around.

Best regards

Timo