My second attempt was just as bad as the first, with only one usable shot. I’ve ruled out any errors in my developing process by running another roll from a different camera at the same time. It came out fine.
A bit of research tells me that these cameras were prone to this failure. The wonderful click which I love is created by a mechanical symphony in motion. When the shutter button is depressed the mirror flips up, the aperture closes, and the shutter fires. If this sequence does not execute perfectly. . .
In my case, the aperture is slow in closing. Unfortunately, it is not reliably slow either. It is shooting at somewhere between f2.8 and wherever the dials are set. Perhaps a good cleaning would help, but for now it will go on the shelf as a display piece.
(My thanks to Mike B on G+ who alerted me to the possible problem and its diagnosis.)
George and I have been busy, thus no post for last week. I intended this post to cover last week and to immediately start on week 7 tomorrow. Alas, perhaps not.
Sometimes a camera jumps off the shelf at you. This week I had the urge to shoot and develop my own black & white, and the Zeiss Ikon Contaflex was calling to me. Mine is the ‘II’ version introduced in 1954. It’s a nicely weighted, fairly small SLR with an uncoupled selenium light meter. It features a 45mm/f 2.8 Zeiss Tessar lens with an integral Synchro-Compur shutter. The meter is covered with a shutter, which probably explains why it still works well after 59 years. I obtained it from a collector in Maine via Craigslist.
I loaded up a home-spooled short roll of HP5+ and headed out to soccer practice with Beth. The results were, um, less than spectacular.
The Contaflex II is a pleasant camera to shoot. Rings behind the lens adjust the shutter speed and aperture, and a mechanical computer on the light meter dial provides the settings. The mirror remains up after shooting, so you know if you can focus the camera is wound. I have shot some wonderful images with this camera in the past.
Something went horribly wrong this time, though. I developed in D-76 for the first time in a long time; I had been using Rodinal. My chemicals were fresh, but the resulting images were mostly unusable. The ones you see here have been heavily post-processed. I’m not sure if the failure was in the developing process or in spooling the film, although I suspect the former.
I will reload and try again, because this is not a fair example of what this camera can do.
Contaflex SLRs at Camera Wiki
Manual from Orphan Cameras
Want one? eBay is probably your best bet