I had my eyes on this particular compact for a while already, seeing reports here and there, and once you see someone share really good results with a certain camera or lens, it really is hard to get it out of your head again.
Then the day came, while I was working in China, when I found a bargain Contax T on Chinese eBay called ‘闲鱼’, ‘Xianyu’ – which translates to ‘fresh fish’. It arrived fast and I couldn’t believe how small it was, yet how well it was build at the same time. Unfortunately it seemed to be have tempered with, as there were quite heavy scuff marks on the top plate and some other glue marks around the body. As I love stuff with patina and user cameras, I checked if the lens was ok, and that it was, and then was happy enough to not return it.
As I used the first roll, I noticed some problems with the film advance. I tinkered some more with it, finally finding out that a very small piece of plastic around the film rewind lever on top of the camera has broken off, thus resulting in me having to hold down this part when advancing the film.
I was frustrated of course, but hesitated to return the camera, even in its broken state. It was just a too beautifully crafted piece of gear, had decent ergonomics (besides having to hold down the rewind lever when advancing film!). When the results came in, the verdict was in. Incredible lens, on point rangefinding and good light metering. It was a keeper.
Here are my 5 frames from the first roll with my flawed but beloved Contax T, developed by myself (Rodinal) and scanned with a Pakon 135.
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