I think I’ve found my perfect 35mm camera! Pocket-sized, fantastic quality, and a joy to use: the Contax T. In fact it’s so good I bought it twice! I had a silver one, but in a moment of madness I sold it. I should have known better. I have many fine cameras, from Rolleiflex to Leica, but I regretted selling the tiny T so much I bought a black one shortly after – it was advertised with a fault so it was dirt cheap, but I think it had just suffered from a lack of use: it’s fine!
The little gem has a fixed Zeiss Sonnar 38mm f2.8 lens that extends elegantly from the body when in use, manual focus with true rangefinder focusing, a depth of field scale on the lens barrel, aperture priority, an exposure compensation button for bright backgrounds, and even a manual film speed setting dial which can be used to deliberately over-ride exposure too.
I like the focal length – it works for landscape and portrait shots, so I feel no need for anything else. The T is unobtrusive, inoffensive, quick, and quiet: I pre-set the focus using the depth of field scale, then a tiny ‘tic’ is the only thing that betrays its presence. The manual film advance keeps the noise down too.
It gobbles up Tri-X and Xp2, and I’ve been thrilled by the results. I have a tiny add-on flash for it too, I haven’t used it yet but maybe that’s something to play with in the future. The T is quite rare now but does occasionally appear for sale…it’s definitely worth looking out for one!
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