5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Contax T3 on Fuji Superia 400 – By David Marshall

January 21, 2020

Who buys a Contax T3 these days? Who would pay upwards of a grand for a small, overhyped analogue camera?

Well, me.

I bought a T3 just under a year ago from Bellamy Hunt. An expensive, probably unnecessary investment in my burgeoning interest in film photography.

A few months later, I took a trip with a couple of buddies to the west coast of Ireland. We were on our way round the Dingle peninsula when one of us pointed out a couple of odd shaped rocks way off the coast: “Hey, doesn’t that one look a bit like the island in Star Wars?” A few minutes’ furious Googling later and it emerged it WAS the island they used for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.[1] We knew instantly it was our destiny to visit.

Little did we know it was also the weekend of May the 4th and we were about to stumble on a fully fledged Irish Star Wars festival.[2]

All was quiet when we rolled into Port Magee, a small town on the coast of Kerry. I said I’d catch the others up and went to use the public toilets. I was in the bathroom when the first storm trooper appeared, followed soon after by two, three more and a photographer. Luckily, I had the Contax with me. I’m not sure if the geniuses at Kyocera had anticipated this. Even if they hadn’t conceived of the exact scenario, I’m sure they would have agreed that this is the sort of situation the camera is made for. It’s easily slipped out of a back pocket, the autofocus is sharp and quick (for its age) and it can be pocketed again quickly. I took it out and started snapping away as they all posed for publicity shots.

Grinning wildly, I headed out, bumping into a couple of chattering jawas and, later in the pub, a life-sized cardboard cutout of Mark Hamill.

The journey to the Skellig islands was choppy but magnificent. As we got closer, I lay down at the front of the boat to capture shots of the islands. Little Skellig is home to the second largest gannet colony in the world (around 70,000) and Skellig Michael (Star Wars island), once home to a small monastic community in the 6th century, is now inhabited only by puffins.

The Contax T3 is a stupidly expensive camera, and one I definitely do not need. It also has limitations, not being quick enough to capture the dolphins that appeared alongside the boat. But it’s also a fine tool with an excellent lens. Even in my hands, it yielded nice results. Like Star Wars, it attracts way more attention than it deserves. But also, like Star Wars, I just can’t stop thinking about it and I guess I’m always going to love it and keep coming back it.

May the (analogue) force be with you and, uh, if you wanna chat about The Rise of Skywalker OR film photography, you can find me on Insta @filmbum81

[1] Featuring in no particular order, grumpy Luke, angry Rey, some lanais and a handful of porgs.
[2] Based solely on a bad pun (“May the fourth be with you”) the 4th of May has become the official Star Wars day.

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  • Reply
    Mike Hannon
    January 21, 2020 at 11:30 am

    Nice post! And some nice pinks in your Superia scans. It must have been quite the surreal experience when these guys wandered into the “jacks”, as we say in Ireland. That’s a nice part of the world to be taking photos in, and it looks like your visit was well timed.

  • Reply
    Marco Milani
    January 21, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    The second picture, that one with four “star wars soldiers” in the bathroom, is really really great. You got the shot.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Wow! Those accidental moments. They say that the best camera is one you have with at the time and the pocketability of the T3 makes it much more likely to have with you than a Pentax 67 which you might have asked your mate to hold while you pop to the loo! The shots in the loo were quite wide and sharply focussed. While impressed by the interior shots I’m amazed at how well the shots of the island came out though. They look like something from an SLR.

  • Reply
    Des McSweeney
    January 21, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    What a hoot, kept me laughing til bedtime. Not the price of the camera though 😉

  • Reply
    Jochen Utecht
    January 21, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    Gorgeous! I’m not a fan of star wars, but it’s good to know that even storm troopers have to pee once in a while. Thanks for the insight!

  • Reply
    Justin Kingery
    January 22, 2020 at 5:42 am

    How fun. That first shot is everything! The reflection of red in his eye is perfect. The Superia looks fantastic.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 12:35 am

    Simply GREAT !

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