I had been looking for one of these for a while at a price I could justify and finally found one on Goodwill.
Zeiss may be a little ‘off-piste’ with me being a Voigtländer guy but there is an obvious line between the two seeing as they merged in the1960’s …even if this camera did precede that (having been built around ’53-55).
The Contessa has a reputation of being one of the finest engineered and attractive folding 35mm cameras ever produced and who could resist that reputation given the opportunity 🙂
Once I received the camera, I checked it over – everything behaved as it should (which was a relief) and I loaded up a roll of Fomapan. We were planning a day at Disney the following weekend so that was going to be the main stage for running this test roll though.
Everything felt great; the shutter worked as expected, focus everything and even the exposure meter seemed reasonably accurate.
This is a lovely camera to use; solidly built, compact and everything where you expect to find it. The range-finder could do with being a little brighter but that is pretty standard with cameras of this age I find.
Having completed the roll a few days after I shipped the film off to be processed – yes, I know I should be doing that myself and it is in this year’s plan but I’m not there yet.
Old School Photo Labs did their usual good job and I got the images back a week or more later.
Very happy with the results. These may not be the finest compositions in the world but everything is exposed as expected (maybe just just slightly under but Fomapan often gives me these very dark blacks) and reasonably in focus which is all I was hoping for. It will take a little while for me to get the best out of this camera and I look forward to using it more.
I think it more than lives up to it’s reputation in my opinion; it is great looking either closed or open; has some nice little extra features which just lift it above other cameras and build quality is excellent backup up by it’s current condition and operability.
I must say Thank you to Irving D Harris (who presumably was the previous owner and whose name and address are still stuck to the camera and case) for looking after this camera and preserving it such that I can be it’s guardian for at least the next few years.
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