Contax IIIa Zeiss Ikon

I was very fortunate to have been a recipient of the Contax IIIa. It’s a rangefinder type of camera and uses 35mm film. In the world of 35mm photography, there are few cameras as well received as the Contax.

Legendary rangefinders such as Lecia are usually the first type of rangefinders that come to mind, but others, scarcely mentioned are the high end dream cameras of yesteryear. But the thing is about many 35mm film cameras is that they are timeless.

Unlike modern electronic cameras with 12 and 24 and 36 and so on Megapixel arrays, older cameras don’t go out of date. You don’t need to buy a new Lecia M6 or Contax IIIa because they never go out of date. The camera I’m using is over 70 years old. That’s most likely far older than you, and fortunately myself as well.

So, on to the camera itself. First off this feels like a real camera. It’s a differnt tacticle experience to hold a camera made from metal as opposed ot plastic. Sure it’s heavier in your hands, but its something you want to hold on to. There are no batteries in the camera, but there is a light meter so you can plan out your shots.

The gages and operation of this 70+-year-old camera are surprisingly simple. Set your ISO (film sensitivity) on your left, select the film speed on your right, and then dial in the aperture in the center. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget to wind the film too.

I love this camera for its simplicity and its rock solid build. You don’t need a separate hand-held meter, though I would love to have one. All you need is the extra time to compose your image, double check your speed and aperture and look at the exposure meter on top of the camera.

If you are just starting to get into film photography, or returning to it. This is one of the best 35mm film cameras to begin with. You don’t need anything other than this camera and a lot of patience. The lens on this camera is a 2.0 apature so you can get some low light shots.

As you can see, my shots came out quite well for my first colour roll. Let me know your thoughts.

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Two images from the developed film below…


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