Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week #14 - Contaflex Super-B

Week #14 – Super Contaflexing

Not too long ago I picked up a Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B.  It, believe it or not, is a 35mm Single Lens Reflex camera with a Leaf Shutter.  The camera was one of the very first (the first being a Zeiss Ikon Contaflex SLR I) Single Lens Reflex Leaf shutter cameras.  The biggest difference between this one and its predecessor was the interchangeable lenses.  Of course, it wasn’t actually the lens in its entirety (unlike the Bronica line of Medium Format cameras) that was changed, but the front elements.  Like a Kodak Retina you would change only the front elements, with lens lengths of 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 115mm.  These lengths were considering, by Zeiss, to be the only lengths needed for the amateur photographer.  Serious?  Amateur Photographer?  Yeesh!  What the heck did the pros use then?  Oh yeah.. Speed Graphics and Rolleiflex cameras.  Maybe that should be the next camera in the Flex line I use.  Lets start Rollei Flexing.. Nevermind….
Well for this week I loaded up some expired Fujicolor 100ASA (rated at 50 for age) film, but it was branded as a “Blacks Photography” brand, which as Canadians know as the Photo experts in Canada.  Of course, this is no longer true as they are sprouting lies of “Why switch to digital?”
And having answers like… “It’s inexpensive, and you can see the photo right away!”
That’s a different argument, and you can draw your own conclusions for it.
What prompted me to use the Contaflex Super B for this week?  Honestly, no idea..  But I loved using it.  The shutter sound, the focusing, the weight (Holy crap its heavy!) and the look of the camera.  It’s gorgeous, and the looks you get?  Yeah…  People do a double take when they see all that polished chrome and the bright shining lens mount that says, in beautiful script
I am convinced, and totally convinced actually, that Zeiss used only the best glass for their own cameras, and sold mediocre glass for the masses and the other cameras, like Rollei, Hassleblad, and the various other mounts out there.
Mediocre?  I think I heard a gasp in the audience.  Let me explain.  Zeiss HAD no Mediocre glass, but compared to the lenses on their own cameras?  They just don’t seem as good…
I tell you, they saved their best glass and lenses for their own cameras.  (No surprise there!)
Sadly this film isn’t the best choice for showing off quite how sharp this lens is, but you can clearly see the very fine lines for the edges of the fence.
Oh and I forgot to mention, I also had a closeup filter attached.  The amusing part is that it’s a Kodak #6a Closeup Slip-On Filter for the Duaflex IV.  Yup, it definitely fits the Contaflex 50mm lens, and apparently, it seems to work really well!
So perhaps sharpness is suffering a little because of the added attachment?  I am not too sure about that.  Oh, and the best I can get out of the Contaflex, at the present time, is ƒ/4 as the aperture has some oil and won’t instantly stop down consistently to anything more.   Although it is starting to stop down to ƒ/5.6 more consistently than it has before.  Exercise…yup it does a body good!

And a few more images just to show it off..
And what kind of post is complete without a little bit of Porn thrown in?  Made around the same time as the Super-B the Lubitel 2, a Voigtlander Brilliant copy, is going to make a 52-roll appearance in the future.  This image was taken using the Close-up Attachment (as above) but with a 2 second exposure at ƒ/5.6 I was able to open the shutter, lens covered, wait a second or so to make sure the aperture was stopped down nicely, uncover the lens, let the exposure happen, and recover and release the shutter button.
So for now everyone, keep those shutters firing!  Expect more German cameras in the near future!

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