[rollei_list] Re: "different types of black boxes" (was: OT / prove it !)

  • From: Jerry Lehrer <jerryleh@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 02 Apr 2005 23:38:41 -0800


All true, but I've never seen or heard of a RIGID f3.5
Tessar in a Contax mount.

BTW, have you seen Harry Scherer's prices to refurbish
a Contax ?  A IIa for example, which would be the most
simple of the Contaxes.

Is it true that Contaxes have all the controls etc. in the
opposite direction because E. Leitz had the patent
rights to a right hand thread?  :-)


Douglas Shea wrote:

>   I am not so sure about the engineering and lenses. I've
> worked on older Leica's. They are very well thought out and
> are relatively easy to work on and support. The Contax has
> an extremely complex shutter which I would not attempt to
> work on. While the Leica rangefinder has a shorter base it
> also has a built in telescope so its _effective_ baseline is
> equal to the Contax. Contax had to use the wider basline
> without a telescope because the rangefinder image is
> combined with the finder image.
>   Lenses are hard to tell about. The famous f/1.5 Sonnar is
> a good lens but the type has some problems. The Sonnar type
> has fallen out of use because lens coating eliminates its
> main virtue: low flare due to minimum number of glass air
> surfaces. Modern designers use forms of the double Gauss
> (Biotar) for lenses of f/2 or faster. This is not to say
> that the specific lenses made by Zeiss for the Contax may
> have had better prformance than equivalent Leitz lenses for
> the Leica. Remember that both companies made very advanced
> optics for microscopes and other optical instruments.
>    Andreas Feninger wrote in one of his books that he
> couldn't use a Leica because it impressed him as being too
> delicate, so he used a Contax. Knowing what is in the two
> cameras I suspect the Leica is the more rugged of the two.
> Actually, old screw mount Leica's seem to be very rugged
> cameras.
> ---
> Richard Knoppow
> Los Angeles, CA, USA
> dickburk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> I feel quite secure in both the engineering and the lenses of the Contax
> system. Because the Contax is complex does not make it a poor design; it
> just requires a skilled technician to properly repair, lubricate, and adjust
> the camera. One person that completely understands the complexities of the
> Contax design is Henry Scherer, and every camera that I have sent to Henry
> for refurbishment performs flawlessly, and has so for years. My criteria for
> judging the quality of a camera design does not include whether or not I can
> do the repairs myself. With that thought in mind I would not hesitate to
> rebuild or repair a Flathead Ford engine, but wouldn't even consider tearing
> into a Cosworth Ford F1 motor -- does that make the Flathead a better motor
> than the Cosworth? In addition to all of the various Contaxes from "I"
> through "IIa" that Henry has refurbished for me I am also using an early "I"
> that by all appearances has never been repaired or opened up, and it is
> working flawlessly at all shutter speeds to this day -- the serial number
> dates this camera back to 1934. Seventy years of continued reliable
> operation is not too shabby a track record. Criticism of the
> rangefinder/viewfinder system have to be considered in their historical
> context; the early Contaxes also had separate rangefinder and viewfinder
> windows and still had a longer baseline than Leica (103mm). Combining the
> rangefinder window with the viewfinder was considered an advancement in its
> day which Zeiss pioneered and was first to bring to market; later Leica
> followed suit.
> Richard, I would sooner tear into that Cosworth motor than to argue lens
> design with you -- I hold your knowledge on this subject in the highest
> regard. However, once again it is important to consider what Zeiss patented
> and brought to market in its proper historical context. It is unfair to dis
> the 1.5 Sonnar now because modern lenses and coatings are available -- what
> was the lens' status when it was brought to market? It was the best of the
> best and still holds its own against modern lenses. How about the 21/4.5
> Biogon, the Tessars, and the 85/2 Sonnar? The 50/3.5 rigid barrel Tessar is
> still an incredible lense.
> I believe that too many Contaxes have either been the victims of botched
> home repair jobs, or repaired by unqualified technicians with the same end
> result: they judge the camera to be no good when in fact they do not
> understand its design. Send a Ducati to a lawn mower repair shop for a
> tune-up and you can hardly blame Ducati if the motor doesn't run. A Contax
> properly refurbished by Henry Scherer is a beautiful and reliable machine,
> with a much more durable and precise shutter than the Leica.
> Doug

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