My name is Thomas Bell. I’m a hobbyist photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. I come from a film crew background, so Im used to the mechanics of photography, but until I picked up analog still cameras I had only shot true celluloid film a handful of times. I picked up the film habit just under a year ago, when I was presented with my late Grandfather’s pristine Zeiss Ikon Contessa (2nd Version). This camera probably hadn’t seen the light of day in 30 years, but I cleaned off the lens, popped in some expired Ultramax 400, and one week later I was one roll into a healthy celluloid addiction.
The Zeiss is a really solid camera. It just feels well made. Im just lucky this one is still in good condition. The Zeiss Tessar 45mm f/2.8 is relatively sharp, especially when you stop it down. It’s a little difficult to get exact focus and tack-sharp while wide open. The lens folds out with a nice, firm click and holds steady, while the gear-like focus feels smooth and quick. One of the real surprises is that the meter still works. I exposed the first few rolls using nothing but the meter and they all came out wonderfully.
The (few) Grievances: I wish the viewfinder was a little bigger, the shutter speed dial doesn’t fully reach the 1/500th mark, and the film loads backwards, meaning that your scans come back upside down from the lab.
Its a fun, solid, no-frills rangefinder, and I’m a lucky man.
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