Contax IIa Rangefinder Camera Video Review

In this review, I take a look at the iconic Zeiss Ikon Contax IIa rangefinder made in Stuttgart, West Germany between 1950 and 1951. My copy was recently CLA’d and it comes with a nice Zeiss Opton 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar T as well as Zeiss-Opton Biogon 35mm f/2.8 lens. I have taken photographs with both, and the lenses render beautiful, old school, contrasty and sharp images (examples photographs below were taken with Rollei Retro 80S film, which I find provides ample sharpness and detail). I like the camera because it sits well in my hand, is fairly light to use (actually, the manual calls it “miniature”), it only contains the necessary elements for photography, and is a fun to use. Even though their prices are less than Leica, they are considered by many to have been “competitors” during that time, and the mechanical construction is superb. A good CLA of any of them should bring them to the point where they can continue to be used for decades to come. Some Sample images included below….

Vintage Car Racing

I had an opportunity to visit a local race track and shoot some vintage Rollei 80s film on my Nikon FA and Nikon FM2.  The weather was very hot and humid, but photography was a lot of fun.  I attempted to capture a little of track and off-track life.  Spectators can pull in on the inside of the track, so you get to mingle with everyone, including the race car drivers.  Great fun!  Panning the camera and keeping results sharp is not easy, but it is rewarding when it works out.  Nikon FA was well suited for this work as it has shutter priority mode with Ai and Ai-s lenses, so setting the shutter to 1/60 gave me what I needed.  Rollei 80s is an excellent film, which I enjoy using very much.  It is crisp and clear, and provides good range of tones, albeit more in the mid-tones than at extremes - shadows or highlights.  It has extended red sensitivity so many red objects appear light gray or white. It was developed in Ilford Ilfosol-3 1:9 solution of 6:45 second at about 68F.  Great results with nice, crisp negatives.  Hope you enjoy!